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'Tis the season to be jolly.........uuummm!

It really is a mixed bag of emotions for us all. A time of 'Highs and Lows' and all the in-betweens. The excitement and almost disappointment when things haven't played out exactly how we thought they might. What is a perfect time anyway?

Many may just say I am a 'Baa Humbug, Grinch, or just a miserable old git,' but maybe I have spent so many 25th of December and the holidays on duty dealing with incidents and missing out on precious, unretrievable moments that my expectations have become somewhat tainted over the years. Choosing to celebrate another day instead in a lower-keyed fashion. The hype and build-up from every media angle have lessened slightly after a few days too. But without the TV, many would have no other voice in the room with them. No one to bounce ideas off with or have banter and laughs with. This is why I applaud modern technology, as we have access to phones and mobiles, watts app, and Facebook video calling. A brilliant way to bring connection and energy into a room. To help uplift each other and spread joy. Receiving a text can make a huge difference. It takes seconds. We have no excuses unless there are power outages or network failures.

Never overlook an opportunity to connect.

So yes, this time of year is a strange one for me, as I am sure it is for many others for their own reasons. Maybe as I have gotten older and been subjected to the complete contrast of what should be 'perfect days', and yet I feel, I have just so much more gratitude for the smaller things instead. Don't get me wrong, I am not begrudging anyone of their joy and happiness. Laughing and sharing time with the people you love is perfection.

I have also learned that we have only one bum and cannot be in 2 places at once, physically anyway!!!

However, expectations are forced, subconsciously, and ever so subtly by the influences around us and then they become ingrained into us and when it doesn't work out perfectly we have disappointment and the magic is lost. So why do we do it to ourselves? Is it out of duty? Is it simply because we did it before, it has become expected of me to do it again? Have we become a society of, 'sit back and let someone else do it?'

That is your question to answer.....I know mine!

But with the expectation we expect everything to be just as we thought it would be.

Maybe for you, it is the family that is altogether, smiling, laughing, and excited to open presents, food ready to eat, and dinner plates overflowing. Then that stuffed feeling and unable to move sensations from that one too many roast!

But we tell ourselves and justify it by saying, ' it's Christmas after all, it's ok!' It is expected of us to gorge and over-do it. I've been there too previously. I just choose differently now. I cannot help but think of those struggling and starving around the world. Those without a choice of what to eat or indeed the luxury of how much. The music release of Band-Aid highlighted this, which was bloody years ago, yet it still sadly continues. Hunger can be addressed by the wealthy so easily.

I reflect maybe too much on others and in doing so find gratitude in the smallest of luxuries I have. I am wealthy in my health and life at this moment in time. I am all too aware that can change at any time too. We witness things on the TV daily where people are dying and starving, or at war and sadly the more it is seen, the less likely people react. No longer shocked as it's all too common. Dissociation from reality maybe. It is only when the hard truth of reality hits that it becomes real. Turning a blind eye to a homeless person or changing the channel as the thought, ' I can't watch that, it's terrible.' Remove yourself from the situation. And I understand, this may be exactly what is needed as we are already close to overwhelm and maybe breaking point. Possibly due to increased spending and expectations? We are expected to bring gifts and expected to do everything to ensure we have that perfect situation.

But what happens when it all goes wrong?

Maybe the dinner catches fire, someone burns themselves trying to extinguish it. Maybe we now need the Fire Service and Ambulance service. The Hospital and staff. How did it go wrong so quickly? So we have become to expect the services to be there for us. It's their job. To turn up and help. To provide a service. And you're right, absolutely. But I can also say from experience that I expected Chief Fire Officers to stand up for their members against the cutbacks and damaging lack of support shown by the Politicians for what has been for over 2 decades now, wow history keeps repeating. And for the said heartless Politicians to not be so selfishly ruthless, in destroying our services before our very eyes. I expect them to do what they were appointed for. To serve the members of their constituencies. To deliver and provide. We expect this of our public sector and yet here we are, being force-fed misleading information and sitting wondering why these people who are there for us, can be so selfish and not do as they are expected to do.

Ask yourself, what would it be like for you to be working their shift patterns and conditions instead if on such a low wage? Many of them ask, 'what have I done to be on such a poor wage?,' that I cannot cover all my bills and have to go to food banks to survive? This list of questions is endless. So when public sector workers are not there, ask yourself why. Don't jump on the bandwagon or the selfish bus and complain. It is too easy to be drawn in by the loudest speakers and drum beaters. We find safety in numbers and follow the crowd, even if it's not right. Taking a stand takes courage and is not taken lightly. Don't expect everything to be fine when it clearly isn't.

This hasn't happened overnight, this has been going on for years.

A gradual process of manipulation and control.

If you keep kicking a dog, it will either turn around and bite you or it will run off.

Mistreating is mistreating. Asking for a wage that is in line with a living wage to survive and be able to have a simple gathering of family and friends with a tree and lights and presents to open after eating, isn't too much to ask, is it?

I expect, as did I, to stand up to bullying and harassment. Your minor inconvenience is not the fault of the service. Maybe you need to look further afield. 19% increase in wages is how far behind, in reality, most services are. It's not a pay's bringing it back up to a livable wage.

Pay freeze and under-inflation rate is a pay cut. This has been going on for years. So much so that it's around 19% behind.

Let that sink in. Let it also sink in that MP's have had an 11% pay rise every year without fail. They cheered when the Fire and Ambulance services had their pay rise claims rejected and scoff at those less fortunate. Yet they always manage to get their pay rise every year.

Yet we expect them to provide for us the public. Public sector services. The roads, the rail, postal, teachers, and emergency services with many others. The NHS and hospitals that is not theirs to sell off. For it is these that have been responsible for crushing the services we expect to be there for us, for the last 2 decades.

As a firefighter, I was expected to turn up, rescue people, and put water on the hot stuff, risking my neck and doing my job. I can only do this with a well-trained and effective crew, with the numbers and correct sourcing of equipment. Closing fire stations down and reducing funding year on year has, and of course, will have an effect. This situation has been brewing for years. We have been addressed by the media in what they say must be true attitude for years too.

Maybe we need to start seeing and really seeing things for what they really are.

Some even think I don't like Xmas at all. And they would be correct on a small part of it. I don't like spending a fortune when it is not necessary. Because it is expected of me. For me, it devalues everything. I love the idea of spending time with loved ones and close friends. It is quality time and time is priceless, but I also have been subjected to the other harsher sides and been made to feel unwanted and feel like a shunned outcast. Spoiling the perceived perfect day by responding to anothers' emergency expected or not even being there. Out of sight out of mind.

How many of us really see others? How many stood and clapped every week for the NHS in 2020 and now start to slander them for inconveniencing us now?

Ask, who is holding the stick and beating the dog? Why are we even beating the dog? Is it the dogs' fault for barking and biting back? Enough is enough.

See it from the dogs' point of view. At some point, it has to take action, either taking a stand or fighting back against unreasonable behavior. Or it runs off.

If this dog pulls the sledge for you to ride on, then it's going nowhere now.

If you didn't expect that, then something needs drastically to change.

Challenge your local politicians and ask them to do what is expected of them too.

They have good wages with lots of perks I believe!

The NHS is the country's and deserves better funding, as do so many others. We expect a pilot to fly us safely so expect the train drivers, who can carry more passengers than a plane to do so too.

If you go out for a meal, you will most likely give a 'tip' to your waiter or waitress for their service, right? It is expected of you. And you wouldn't pay for a poor half-cooked meal or an empty plate!

The chef can only provide what they have in the stores and shelves.

So between the sparkles and shine and glamour, I have also witnessed the reality too.

It is only when things are gone do we realize their importance.

Reach out to loved ones and friends.

Find joy and gratitude in the small things you have.

A dog will reward you for the way you treat it.

It does it, not because it is expected of him, but because he wants to.

When we treat each other with respect, we can accomplish so much more.

Sending positivity and hope to all.


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