Greener Pastures

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” That’s advice we give to convince someone to not change for the sake of change. I’m no rancher, but I suspect that if you leave a horse in one pasture long enough the grass will be gone and any other pasture is worth the move. Sometimes change is the answer. Deciding what to write about was tougher than usual today because almost everything that is happening is waiting for a change. In the meantime, we paw our pens, waiting for the gate to open. A lot of my friends that feel penned in know their gates are about to open. It will be fun watching the herd run.

A $425,000,000 Powerball lottery is not the main change most are waiting for, because I suspect very few of my friends will play such long odds. I and a few others do. Constrained finances are probably a main cause of people feeling hobbled. I can attest to the feeling of entrapment when nothing seems to be working enough to make enough. The entrapment is internal and abstract, so it should be easy to dispel; but if shifting such a mindset was easy then enlightenment would be universal as we all simply “saw beyond the illusion” or “embraced the grace within.” Counselors, coaches, and therapists earn substantial livings helping people struggle with even tangential aspects of such concepts. A two dollar ticket is much cheaper and gives the mind an excuse to see beyond the gate. Besides, as entertainment, the effects last longer than a movie. And eventually, someone will win.

Of all the plans for changes I’ve heard, all require far less than a lottery jackpot. Six months of living expenses and a reasonable chance of making a sustainable income are sufficient. Unfortunately, the last few years have diminished most of those savings and launching into new careers has a recent history of low chances of success. And yet, people are moving.

The most public move is from a friend who made a house on wheels. Angela Ramseyer, tiny house builder extraordinaire, might be selling her house, moving from Whidbey to Portland, and immersing herself in the growing micro-mansion industry. She’s made such a move before. She can do so again. Cabin by Angela

A couple I know have felt locked in place for years, even as they dream of moving east (it’s hard to move farther west from here) to live a more unrestrained, frugal lifestyle that probably involves organic, sustainable farming, online sales, and a lot more quiet and freedom. Seattle’s housing market is bubbling. Fix up the house, sell the business, and move – but first fix the kitchen and take the time to figure out how to make such a change.

One of my friends who works retail is set on NYC. Like any small community, Whidbey is known for having limited social (dating) and job options. Work retail here, maybe get by, and do so within a crowd of friends but no partner; or move to New York City. Evidently, they have retail there too, may appreciate a person with manners (or maybe not depending on the stereotype), and there may even be more than a dozen or so people to date. (Wasn’t there a show about sex in that city?) That change may require no more than a deep breath and a fast jump.

A close friend dropped by my office here in downtown Langley, center of coffeeshops and bookstores, and threatened to conduct an intervention. UBCC 070613 “Isn’t it obvious that you should move off the island? Here you may, may, sustain a lifestyle. Anywhere else you may thrive!” Well, yep. Makes sense to me. As I’ve said before, without the house, I’m able to move almost anywhere. I’ve even applied for international jobs. Even a move as small as getting back onto the mainland may suffice. Evidently, some employers won’t hire people from the islands because of the ferry interruptions. Ah, but you see, I actually like and love where I am. (One advisor advised me to visualize the zip code I wanted to live within. Duh. I’m already there.)

November Sunset - Twelve Months at Cultus Bay

November Sunset – Twelve Months at Cultus Bay

Change for the sake of change is ill-advised. One saying I learned from karate is, “Do not move unless it is to your advantage to do so. Then move without hesitation.” Plans must accommodate change. We demonstrate wisdom when we decide whether the change is based on need, or whim, or want, or habit.

Many of the world’s problems can be traced to intransigent attitudes, archaic policies, and anachronistic organizations. Our society gets into ruts, just like we do. Fixed financial plans, reliance on conventional systems, and unedited aspirations can lead to dead-ends. I’ve followed an investment strategy that relied on rational markets and aimed myself at a particular lifestyle, but my current situation has encouraged me to rethink my strategy, question how much rational thought remains in the market, and revise my lifestyle expectations. If the world decides to change, then I can change again.

I’ve definitely been churning up this pasture. Trying to get a job, putting my house on the market, growing my business have all been efforts to affect change. I’ve also been staying in this pasture. The interruption in my strategy may be temporary. One of the best ways to be found is to stay in one place. And I have yet to identify an advantage to moving that is greater than the advantages to staying.

It is August 7th. Tomorrow MicroVision announces earnings. The expectations are so low that even the discussion boards are quiet. And yet many of us have inferred that the company’s long delayed success will be initiated with news in the second half of 2013. (Go back to Good News Sooner Please for a description of that possible upside.) When MicroVision announces sufficiently positive news, the grass under my feet will grow faster than any nearby pasture – unless, of course, that other pasture is winning the Powerball jackpot in which case it won’t be grass growing under my feet but forests.

What are the chances that all of that will happen? Understandably small. What are the chances that none of it will happen? I suspect even smaller. For now, it is time to get back to tending my pasture and checking over the fence whenever I get the chance.

About Tom Trimbath

real estate broker / consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: and at my amazon author page:
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4 Responses to Greener Pastures

  1. Being the visual sort, I love the addition of the photos to this latest post, Tom.

  2. If I was one of those writers who planned their writing days ahead, I probably would’ve found a picture of a pasture or a horse. Oh well, the price of spontaneity.

  3. Talia toni Marcus says:

    Brava Amici Talia


  4. Miss Molly says:

    I agree with your friend who wants to do an intervention. For the last few months, your posts have too often had the sound of self-imposed torture and not pleasure. I loved the island, too, but not to the point of putting myself into a place where life was fraught and unsustainable. That simply goes against everything I value. How could I talk about sustainable living when I was putting myself in jeopardy? If you were 75, I’d say you might want to stay put, but you’re much younger and opportunities are much easier to find in places with a little more bustle. If there are things you want but you can’t have them because you stay on the island, it’s time to rethink.
    Cheers and good thinking! Molly

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