It came on like lightning and has rumbled on like thunder echoing from the hills. Some forecast a storm, and at best, people found umbrellas when they actually needed an ark. In 2008, I started blogging. Barack Obama had just been elected President, and the world breathed a sigh of relief. We knew there were troubles, but it was time to put the fears of 9/11 behind us and return to something like normal, but better. Then, the storm hit that was the beginning of the Great Recession. My simple little blog that was intended as an adjunct to my recently published book on personal finance, Dream. Invest. Live., has become more as my life has since weathered financial rises and falls. Within those years I’ve been within days of having “enough”, lost almost everything, and have been busier than I’ve ever been as I try to survive, recover, and hopefully find a sustainable life. I toast myself with a glass of red wine from a box.
It feels as if it has always been this way, whichever way that is. Six years ago, though, all of the US Presidents had been white men, NASA was still using the Space Shuttle, Twitter was only 2, climate change was more data than debate (though some had been aware for decades), and gas prices were half of what they are now.
Six years from now, what may be different? A female President? Space is either abandoned or more readily accessed? Facebook and Twitter will be replaced by _ ? The coast line exodus, which has already begun, will move millions. Solar, and maybe some other innovation, will have replaced fossil fuels for a surprisingly large percentage of our energy use. Graphene and 3-D printing will be redefining so much of our world that I won’t speculate further.
We haven’t recovered from 9/11. Just check TSA, the ubiquitous cameras, and the requirement for having the right papers. I can’t be the only person who cringes when watching a WWII movie where the Nazis are checking everyone’s papers as an example of an authoritarian regime. We haven’t recovered from the Great Recession. I know I haven’t. The stock markets are hitting records, but almost all of the gains are going to less than 1% of the population. Unemployment is down, but wages are too, and many unemployed are no longer counted. Meanwhile, global ice is melting faster than it can be replenished, and the methane stored in permafrost is accelerating the greenhouse effect faster than carbon could on its own. And fracking, just amazing how bizarre our institutions are if that’s allowed to be as prevalent as it is.
Extrapolating from 2008 to 2014 would’ve failed massively. Extrapolating from 2014 to 2020, would fail even worse because the changes are accelerating and intertwining. All the more reason for me to continue to blog because writing books is too slow to keep up with the world. (Writer’s confession: I have three book ideas that could be started as soon as I find the time. Okay, so that may not happen soon.)
Intentions and reality do not coincide, regardless of philosophical assertions I hear frequently. My intention for this blog was as an adjunct to the book, Dream. Invest. Live., so the intended topics were personal finance, frugality, and balancing life and money. One of the advantages of blogging is the quantitative feedback about what people want to read. Here are the five most popular posts.
- A Bow To Drewslist – An acknowledgement of a man who does one simple thing very well and defines a community.
- Micro Vision – A story about a company and a stock, which is about personal finance, but is popular because people want hot stock tips.
- One Confused ObamaCare Applicant – Not even an attempt at anything literary, just a chronology of what it was like to try to sign up before the deadline; but, I described the difference between some of the plans; and was open about the frustrations.
- Weed Changes Whidbey – Marijuana is legalized! And nothing really happened, be readers like the story.
- Whew Good News – A story about a company and a stock, and one episode in the most disheartening saga of a successful cancer treatment undermined by financial forces that were unchallenged by federal officials.
- (Note: Some of the earliest posts were even more popular, but thanks to arcane and archaic systems at Earthlink and Apple, that data is practically indecipherable.
If regular readers wonder why lately I’ve been broader in my choice of topics it is because I realize that what people want is either: 1) hot stock tips, which I won’t give, though I will tell the stories about my investments; and 2) insights and perspectives on the shifting economy from someone who has been through a wide range of America’s socioeconomic classes. #2 covers a lot of ground, and I continue to explore it. Investing in stocks is changing, but the changes in the rest of the economy are ready to redefine currencies, occupations, and community.
My blogging continues. What was one blog in 2008 has now branched into eight (some of which I ghost write) with a new one being launched next week. Details to be revealed. Evidently, I am good enough at describing complicated matters simply, and simply observing remarkable things that haven’t been remarked upon enough. I’m even writing about culinary cannabis experiments – legally! That wasn’t a prediction in 2008.
Yesterday was an election in the US. Lamentations and celebrations commenced. Extrapolating the current climate, politically or environmentally, produces unrealistic predictions for 2020. I will continue to be a short term realist, long term idealist, and an extreme independent moderate who knows most workable answers are in the middle. I am also aware that such a position is unfashionable and unpopular.
And, I thank you for reading. The larger our community, the stronger we are, even if we don’t know who “we” are.
Stay tuned. I’m hoping for better weather. Maybe that echo of thunder is fading.