What’s next? Oh yeah, write the blog. Maybe only a few will notice, but this post comes out a few hours later than usual. Life is busy and a bit jumbled. Three of us compared notes at lunch and none of us had vacations planned. Scrambling is popular, or at least common. But we aren’t doing it to keep from being bored. We’re busy because of what comes next.
Wednesdays usually start with the blog – after breakfast and life maintenance routines that I won’t pass along. I blog, go for a run, manage comments or connections, and then have lunch. The rest of the tasks fit into the rest of the day – if they can.
Today started with photographing at the last of the Whidbey sites in my five year series of photo essays. You’ll see more after I finish in the fall. From there I drove up the island to meet with collaborators for an event we’re planning late this summer. (Stay tuned.) A good, healthy, green lunch to refuel with a side of personal conversations about life, the universe, and everything, or at least our lists. Then, up to Wind and Tide Books in Oak Harbor to hang more Whidbey photos, and arrange for a talk on June 9th. (I’ll talk about the why of a Twelve Month series instead of methodically stepping through dozens of slides.) So here I sit, amidst free Wi-Fi, finally getting to the blog, with a self-imposed deadline of uploading before they close. I’ll finish by teaching my class in Modern Self-Publishing at Jenne Farm and safely driving home.
That may sound packed. It is. My collaborators are equally active. Teaching, performing, writing, and volunteering swirl us all along in these uncertain times. For many people there is a general societal fear of the future. Economic collapse, ecological disaster, species extermination, or civilization evaporation are common topics for some of my friends. Many of them can remember worrying about Mutually Assured Destruction. I guess the title still applies even if the content has changed. There are also specific personal fears of the future. Bankruptcy, failing health, job loss have come up in personal conversations lately. Some sit back and hope it all works out. Some dive in and scramble for security. I suspect the answer is in the middle, but that will only be obvious in reflection. Until then, it is a guessing game.
I dropped in on a friend’s shop the other day. The store is busy and business is picking up. They’re scrambling to keep up with demand. As a kind gesture I was sincerely asked what I was doing. Nothing came out of my mouth. Everything tried to spill out at once, and they all collided, creating a blockage in my throat. Eventually I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I’m scrambling.”, and left a while later. It was lunchtime, and in a rare event I went out to lunch. It was a business lunch. I’ll hang my photos in the restaurant for June and July and needed to see how the space was used, where the light fell, and look for anything I might have overlooked in my plan. As I sat there, all of those projects finally lined themselves up and I wrote them out as a list in my notebook. After lunch I went back to revisit my friend and hand over my answer. There were fifteen items on that list, each of which was on the order of writing a book or managing my consulting.
Five years from now, a bit of reflection will probably show that most of those efforts could’ve been shelved. For now though, each has the potential to either provide for or lead to my financial security. My task list is the entrepreneur’s version of an investor’s diversified portfolio.
My portfolio is diversified. Diversification is not a guarantee, but it is a cheap way to buy a chance at security. Despite that, I has hit by a Triple Whammy. Diversification as an entrepreneur is more expensive because it can cost too much time; but, just like diversification within a portfolio, diversification is valuable within a business, especially in turbulent times. It is unlikely that everything will succeed, but it is also unlikely that everything will fail. Something good is going to happen. I just don’t know what it is.
The various global dynamics may render detailed plans useless. A well-designed, then ignored, thirty year financial retirement strategy may not survive a breakup of the European Union or an economic implosion in China. Global climate change is already affecting seaside real estate, shipping, and demographics. People are moving as the waters rise. That may not seem like a challenge to a thirty year mortgage in Kansas, but a major disruption in Florida might ripple through smaller markets regardless of location.
The optimist in me also throws in the disruptive and positive possibilities. Imagine the upset if technology, insight, or discovery provided free and pervasive global health care, food, or shelter. Nanotech, alternative energies, simple nutrition and common compassion have great potential.
In the meantime, as a recently connected global community, we are busy trying to resolve inequities, injustices, environmental distresses, and ignorances. We do that because we know we must do something, even though we won’t know which effort will work. We could just wait for the positive disruptions, and maybe that will be the best strategy, but that is a bet that puts too much at risk.
A friend told me a simpler story in the supermarket last night. He left the island to find a job, found a terrible environment, moved back to the island, and got busy looking for any opportunity. Without any experience someone found him a part time job, that came with a promotion within days as they fired someone, that expanded into a full time job when someone else left for another opportunity, which left my friend with a better situation than he could’ve imagined a few months ago.
He didn’t know how it would work out, and it worked out well. I don’t know how my situation will work out, but I suspect it will work out well too. On the grander scale, I am a fan of our infant human race and think that we’ll scramble our way to a way that works for all of us, or at least more of us. All we can all do is keeping work for solutions without knowing what comes next. With so much going on, something good enough is going to happen.