This year set a record. My photos were on display and for sale every month through various venues. Nice coverage, and a compliment because most of the exhibits were by request. Today I sit beside my art outside Fine Balance Imaging, almost as part of the display, just like those summer days at Bailey’s Corner – except that this is indoors, it’s December, and I’m in a big, cushy, broken-in chair. (Ah, a moment of optimism as a person walks by, stops, and pays attention to the display. Looks like I’ll get at least the traffic that’s headed to the rest room.) Today I push this lever. Yesterday I pushed some others. Tomorrow will be a different set. But that’s normal. Not even the Dalai Lama does only one thing.
I know I’ve been more than busy enough when I look forward to power outages. Bring up the wind, take down a line, and I’m not the only one breathing a sigh of relief from a long list of chores. Whenever power on the island fails Facebook threads appear as people celebrate their externally imposed vacation. My favorite local group, The Rural Characters, even have a song about power failures. We gather at such times for simple pleasures, like sharing wine, comfort food, games, and stories. Candle light is appealing. And then in the song they finish by turning on the generator after everyone’s gone home. Sure they could’ve fired up the generator and kept the lights on and kept working, but the excuse is welcome.
Today though is a day for pushing some of those levers. My art is on the wall and in the display rack: The Overlooked Everyday Beauty of Whidbey’s Nature. Others capture summer sunshine, birds migrating through, and kids on the beach. I’m drawn to what we locals see throughout the rest of the year as well, the little vignettes accidentally arranged and only noticed as we walk along the sand, head down looking at what’s been washed up or is about to be washed away.
Between the framed pieces and the floor rack of prints is a table of my books. All of my narratives are there: stories about bicycling across America, year-round travel in Washington’s Cascades, and even the book about personal finance. The book that isn’t there is the most popular, Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland; but, it’s an e-book. A pile of electrons just isn’t the same.
Living in a place like Whidbey, or the Outer Banks, or in some ski mecca, has financial implications. Some are able to live here because they have more than enough money. (I was almost there, and hope to get back there.) Some are able to live here because they have a well-paying job, but they pay for it with long commutes. (Which is another opportunity to link off to another Rural Characters’ song.) Many that live and work on the island do so with business cards that are crowded with job titles, or have a spread of cards to cover each business. Look around most vacation spots. The local businesses are usually selling more than one good or service, and the residents are frugal. Artists are also bookkeepers-for-hire. Authors are also marketers-for-hire. One guy is a gardener, nursery operator, and part-time paleontologist. There’s money in those mammoth bones that hide on our beaches.
My mix is consultant for people in transition and for creatives, artist, author, and speaker. Every aspect is gaining traction, but not enough to appease the mortgage company – yet.
Lifetime careers exist. They may appear to be in decline, but I know plenty of people that have had the same job for decades. The expected trend is that we must get comfortable changing careers several times in our lives. I’m in the midst of one of those transitions. They aren’t easy, but they can be positive.
Change is the only constant, and considering the pace of technological change I’m not surprised to hear that changes in careers and lifestyles will become more common. Being willing to change becomes a necessity. For those with a karmic view, accepting change makes life easier, fighting change makes life much tougher, ignoring change leads to change being forced upon the changee.
I’m willing to change, and am trying many things to find which path or paths are the way to go. It hasn’t been easy, and maybe I’ve already taken the right steps. Many have assured me that this will all work out alright and that I’m doing the right things. Glad to hear it. Imagine how hard this would be if I wasn’t willing to try new things.
Then I look around at people and organizations that are fighting or trying to ignore change, and I feel sorry for them. Resisting change rarely ends well. Old-style financial institutions, bureaucracies, and data deniers, are only delaying and intensifying the abruptness of their eventual change. Iceland went the other route. They had a financial crisis. Rather than try to prop up dysfunctional banks and politicians, they overhauled the government and forgave mortgage debt across the country. The change was hard on some, and inequitable in some ways, but the change was quick, fixed many problems, and allowed the country to progress. Germany’s response to the energy crisis has been to switch to new forms of energy. Sweden went so clean that they’ve had to import garbage for their incinerators. The Netherlands don’t debate climate change. They prepare for it, because the cause isn’t as important as the effect.
Those countries aren’t limiting themselves to trying only one thing. They’re working as many levers as they can and watching the change.
Meanwhile, I am dismayed to see the US government pushing the same old levers while ignoring the changes in finance, technology, nature, and civilization. The eventual change may not be pleasant.
I hope I’m pushing the right levers. I’ve never felt so at home as I do in my house and on Whidbey. Maybe there’s better somewhere else. I’m willing to change, but maybe my change is to stay where I am, in some different way. Stay tuned.
Hmm, I’ve been pushing these levers. I wonder what would happen if I pulled them instead.