During our lifetime we all find ourselves, at one time or another, in a place where we are suddenly on our own.
Sometimes it’s early, in your teens or 20s. At that time you may feel some fear but you are filled with the confidence and arrogance that comes with youth. You are still at the age when you think you know everything which is good since you have a lot of life and adventure to maneuver through. It won’t be easy, but you usually have the conceit to manage.
Occasionally you are in mid-life when the responsibilities are the most extreme with kids, jobs, mortgages and bills. Often at this time you have the most support from family, friends, employers and social services. Lean on them and let them help, guide and reinforce.
Later on in life it can seem much more devastating since you have had many years of shared responsibilities and help. Suddenly, you have to make decisions, by yourself, about things with which you have no comprehension or experience. If you are a woman it could be vehicle maintenance and home repairs. Men might have to worry about taking care of a house, meals, laundry, doctors and dentists.
As an almost senior I found myself in this position. I became totally responsible for everything in my life. Stupid as it may sound, separation of responsibility had been established by whoever thought it was their job. You know, the old division of labour – the hunter and the gatherer. Not smart but it worked for me for many, many years until I found myself needing that knowledge and information.
After a day or two of being overwhelmed and scared to death you just have to put one foot in front of the other and get on with it. It is the ultimate in proving to yourself that you are strong enough, completely capable, intelligent and brave. This takes many forms over the years. It might be going into a scary cellar by yourself for the first time. It might be having to source out a new roof. It might be replacing a furnace or digging out a septic tank. Although budgeting for bills might not be your thing, you better figure it out if you want to survive. Who do you get to do the electrical work or the plumbing work?
The big issue is trust. Are those giving quotes trying to take advantage of you? Will they do the job correctly or just do a patch job? Can you believe what that salesperson is telling you? Is the price a fair one or inflated to benefit from your inexperience?
Over the past several years I have had to do many repairs and maintenance-type things. I have learned, a couple times the hard way, is it is so important to do your homework, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and seek advice from those you trust. It is wise to get many estimates for exactly what work will be done and the cost.
It may not be Angie’s List but I have, over the years, compiled my own list of people I can call on whenever I need something done knowing it will be done right and at a fair price.
As you talk to people look them each in the eye to see what is behind the smile. Trust your gut feeling. If the price is right but it just doesn’t feel right, walk away. Believe in yourself and your ability to make a good decision. Then get on with it. There is just too much life to live to be hindered or held back by worry or indecisiveness.
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