I am a moderate, which in today’s land pundits and opinions is looked upon as boring, non-committal, uncertain, and inconsequential. I like the middle. The middle is where balance is achieved and is the fulcrum for motion.
I’ve been called a “wild-assed” investor, probably because I invest in stocks instead of bonds, and favor small companies, at least at the start. I’ve also been labeled as a a boring investor because I hold stocks for years. That’s not very aggressive and misses out on lots of opportunities as stocks pop and drop. (Of course, that book is the basis for this blog.)
I call myself a chicken adventurer. Many people call me an adventurer because of a few things I’ve done, bicycled across America, walked across Scotland, climbed Mt. Rainier, written a series of books based on hiking throughout the year in various wild places. Yet I know that I am a chicken. I rode along the interstate and tried to finish each bicycling day before afternoon traffic, only walked along Scotland’s buses and rail lines, climbed with a guide service, and stepped back from back weather and avalanche chutes.
Being in the middle, being moderate or intermediate, has its advantages. I’ve lived some fascinating episodes without taking on too much risk. I’ve retired early though to a frugal lifestyle. I’ve been able to accomplish many things, not because I am more talented than most, but because I am willing to venture forth knowing that I’ll make a few mistakes.
I love to dance. Opinions differ there too. I’ve been asked to teach, so someone must think I have a skill, but professional dancers know I work more from exuberance and creativity than from consummate technique. But I keep in mind that, by my own criteria, I am good enough and could get better. I measure my dancing by how much I enjoy it. That’s not a technical assessment, but it is a fundamental and primal one. When I go to a dance, I only sit out a few songs, sometimes because I don’t know what to do with it, but usually because I need a break. As entertainment, my dancing is more than good enough for me.
There are very few things at which I am trying to excel: listening, communicating, living a healthy life, being a better person, etc. By accepting imperfections, it becomes easier to accomplish more. That extra time required for perfection can be used to indulge in some other task, or spend time having more fun.
I’m satisfied with a portfolio that does better than most, even if it doesn’t maximize potential. I enjoy the intermediate ski runs, with occasional trips to the greens and blacks for variety. I don’t know every dance style or step, but dancing makes me smile, so something must be working.
I keep this in mind at this time of year. The holidays can be stressful where they should be joyful. Finding the exact gift is stressful. Giving a gift with good intent is more joyful. The recipient may be a bit confused when they unwrap their present, but perfectly predicting everyone else’s behaviour is impossible. It is the thought that counts, at least when it comes to presents.
The mainstream media may focus on extremists and alarmists, but I’m glad to hang out here, in the middle, where we can rock it back and forth, have a bit of fun, and also have a place to rest and relax. I hope you enjoy the holidays and I ask the writers amongst you to pardon my overuse of the word “I”. I just didn’t feel like wordsmithing the post that much. It’s sunny outside and I want to soak up some photons. Gotta keep it all in balance, eh?