I know from experience that trying to plan ahead is a waste of time. For instance, when in January 1996 I went off to Panjab, I had no idea that seven months later I would be an Amritdhari Sikh and that I would stay in Panjab for four years.
Even before I became a Sikh things happened to me that I could not control and I never really settled in the way my parents did. I have had about ten different jobs, changed career completely at 50, lived in five cities and four countries and have been married twice. My father had one job, lived in one village and one city (both in the same country) and was happily married to the same woman until she died when he was in his sixties.
I am not complaining, even my lack of success in the marriage department does not bother me, as I am content with my relationship with God. I am the only child of my parents, in my home town we were of the wrong faith and the wrong political party and there were no family members of my age nearer than a hundred miles from where we lived. Even as a child I learned how to live alone, how to keep myself busy.
Going back to 2009, my ‘faith and cultural diversity consultancy’ has been doing well in the last four years, and therefore I have a fairly healthy bank balance. The organisations I work for do good work and get government funding, but what with the credit crunch and all that I do not know how much paid for work I can get in the 2009/2010 financial year.
I am working with a group of young Sikhs in the Hounslow Singh Sabha, but that is work for love, and if the Gurdwara was to pay me I do not work enough hours to cover my modest lifestyle. I could move to Belgium, where the St Truiden Prabandhak committee will look after me as long as I do prachar and help with work in the wider community.
Based in St Truiden I could also work in Brussel and Gent, and am not too far away from some of the Dutch and German Sikh sangats. A Sikh from a Spanish Gurdwara suggested that I should come over to Barcelona or Valencia, seeing that I do know (fairly basic) Spanish.
I am free to do what suits me, as long as whatever I do fits into my scheme of serving the Sikh community and the communities that Sikhs live with. And of course I need some money.
Not owning a house and not having strong family ties apart from with my Sikh family, I can go wherever She/He will take me. I’ll try not to worry and leave things to God. I have never been on the dole, and I have only three more years to go before my (modest) pension. I think that it is good to save for a rainy day and I will keep lodging part of my earnings in the savings.