I’d like reo tell you, but I can’t. With some formal and informal, commercial and non-profit, but almost all local to Whidbey projects, I have plenty of potential news. If you’ve read this blog for more than a few months, you’ve heard similar before. But, two of the projects have me shifting my mind-set and making it clear how tough it is to not have enough to pay the bills, and how much of a relief a little bit extra can create. To those who think I smile alot now, you might see a lot more of that soon – assuming things work out.
Unfortunately, I have to leave you in suspense. My novel writing friends strive for such tension; but I look forward to telling you the news. About the only bounds I’ll describe are that the commercial initiative is not, repeat not, a full time job with benefits. That seems as elusive as a jackpot winning lottery ticket. But it is very good. The other initiatives mean more work, possibly less time – and yet are very relaxing. Yes, I do lead an odd life.
“Anything for a weird life!” – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Be careful what you wish for. I didn’t even wish for it, but I remember saying that phrase with feeling about thirty years ago. Let’s take a look at my Bio page, “Consultant, Writer, Speaker, Teacher, Photographer, Engineer, Entrepreneur, etc.”. I’m starting to think there’s a heavy emphasis on the ‘etc.’ I’ve bicycled across America, walked across Scotland, got a black belt in karate, wrote a series of books about hiking year-round in Washington State’s Cascades mountains, have a patent and a string of inventions (aka Fresh Ideas), retired at 38 and was unretired in 2010, and I think that’s enough for now.
Like most people, my ups and downs can be made to sound epic. I continue to enjoy the fact that a friend in the industry pitched the story of my life to a Hollywood VP. I think they’re waiting to see how it comes out before they do anything.
Life most people, it is possible and likely to carry stress, habits, and perspectives through episodes even after situations change. I know too many people reacting to possible futures based on terrible pasts that are unlikely considering their present. I don’t want the same to happen to me.
As good news is filtering in, though not committing, I’ve watched my reactions. I smile more; but not too much more. I pay my bills as before, and am eager to pay earlier and pay down debt sooner; but hold back because I can’t spend what isn’t in the bank account. I fear less; because having a few hundred too little every month means any upset can be disastrous, while have a few hundred extra every month means it is possible to repair things before they break and to replace things that broke and were abandoned. I might even buy a bed instead of relying on one piece of furniture that is primarily a couch.
My shoulders are more likely to shudder as I realize they don’t always have to carry tension. Sometimes, they shake when I remind myself to relax. They don’t have to carry tension, but an awareness of the frailty of things, people, and life is amplified when there’s less you can do about it. When I was a millionaire, a torn pair of pants was an excuse to go shopping. When I couldn’t pay my mortgage, I wore overalls because they were less likely to rip or tear. It wasn’t until this year that I finally bought a pair of jeans, my first since before my Triple Whammy.
As more than one friend and financial professional commented, I was hit by a perfect storm of bad luck. It is inevitable, I’m not alone, but it did happen to me. I understand why the suicide rate is so high, why some voters are angry, and why the American Dream has measurably shifted from getting ahead to not falling behind.
The US economy is improving, though haltingly and unevenly. Millions of people have experienced unexpected trauma. Just like the Great Depression, we possibly have retrained a generation or two to act more cautiously and for them to expect less security.
Whether my good news arrives or not, I’m experiencing yet another lesson in my self and our money based economy. Money is an abstraction, but when it is the determinant of housing, healing, eating, and the basics of survival, it is easy for a body to physically react. We evolved to be sensitive to threats, so it is no surprise that our bodies react. Several of my friends teach stress reduction methodologies that are known by their acronyms: TRE, EFT, ICE. Others teach older versions of meditation, massage, and spirituality. For some, prayer suffices.
For me, I rely on and feel I should return to the tight/no-tight training within my karate practice. Karate embodies a pragmatism. There are times to be tight; but the best way to conserve energy and to flow is to spend more time as no-tight. I’ve certainly been tight enough long enough that now is the time to return to no-tight, a place from which work, life and particularly play flow.
I’m devoting more time to my garden this year. So far I’m tending apples, figs, raspberries, potatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, and mushrooms. The most colorful harvest so far, however, has been the untended and very vigorous rose bush. Beauty delivered for no effort. That makes me smile.
Stay tuned. News to follow.