The ‘Bucket List’

What’s on your ‘Bucket List’? We’ve heard the term many times before and there’s even a bucketlistmovie about the subject. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson play two terminally ill patients who escape from their hospital cancer ward to experience a to-do list before they die. The glory in all of this is that we don’t have to wait until we’re terminally ill to have, or do, a bucket list.

In 2010, MTV produced a program called ‘The Buried Life‘ that featured a quartet of twenty-somethings who created a list of 100 items they wanted to accomplish before they died. As dedicated martini drinkers will tell you, everything is better with a twist and this show had a lovely one: For every act they crossed off their list, they had to help a stranger accomplish something that was on their dream list.

How do you make a bucket list?

list.2Take 30 minutes out of your day and sit with your trusty Word Doc, or paper and pen if you’re old school, and create a list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill and life experiences you desire to experience before you die. Your list length is completely up to you. If you have only one thing, go with it. If you have 1,000, you’d better get started! Be silly, be serious but be sincere.

Want to travel? Volunteer? Learn a new language? Go for a hot air ballon ride? Write that down…

Something on my bucket list, you ask? A Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail.

Progressives And George Will’s Misunderstanding Of The Issue

“America‚Äôs national character will have to be changed if progressives are going to implement their agenda. So, changing social norms is the progressive agenda.”

Setting aside the fact that he completely misunderstands the progressive agenda, what he claims is already part of their agenda isn’t, but should be!

The problem with the past 50 years isn’t sudden laziness or lack of ambition or unions or socialism (a laughable claim in the least socialist first world nation on the planet) it’s globalization. Auto manufacturing started the trend with automakers in Japan paying people in Japan far less than US workers could afford to live on. Then US manufacturers shifted productions to other countries magnifying the trend. I buy some of my clothes from Flint and Tinder, voluntarily paying more for a higher quality product made in the US. I’m in a small percentage of people willing to do that, which is why until Flint and Tinder started a couple years ago there were zero textile companies like it in the US. Electronics used to be made in places like California and Texas, now 80% or more has been shifted to China because US workers can’t live on $1-2/hr. Knowledge jobs (like mine!!) have also been shifting as India, Ukraine, Brazil and Mexico all have smart college educated people willing to work for 20-50% as much as people make in the US getting out of college. And, again, this isn’t socialism or unions, this is the fact that the cost of living is less in those countries. I can buy a comfortable house in Mexico for $40K/USD. I pay my employees in Mexico $30-60K per year for skills that would cost me $70-150K in the US. That’s just a structural disadvantage for people in the US and, again, we’re not talking about laborers hear, we’re talking about the best and brightest free market libertarians that a nation can produce.

This trend is only going to continue as machines and robotics continue to replace more and more jobs that previously humans did. Over the next 100 years there simply will not be a need for the size of workforce that we have today. Yeah, there will be some bumps in that road, the US is currently still growing jobs after a big dent during the great recession, but the overall trend will be downward.

So what does a post-labor economy look like? I have no idea. But progressives ought to be thinking about it and preparing for it and they aren’t. There is a transition that began 50 years ago and continuing for the next hundred years from a society where most people need to work for the economy to function at a level sufficient to provide basic needs, to one where very few people are needed and I have no idea how society accomplishes it. How are goods and products distributed without hours of work, physical strength, intelligence or ambition as important parts of the equation? I have no idea.

I know that, to the degree that we are already having to deal with these kinds of issues thanks to globalization, we’re failing. People on welfare don’t have enough to live on so they aren’t happy. People paying taxes are feeling the pinch and they aren’t happy. We’ll see how things pan out…

Flying to Mexico 2015

Weather was fabulous. In eight days of calendar and sixteen hours of flying I was delayed once for a few hours by weather and had smooth skies for all but 45 minutes. Just ridiculously good luck.

Chicago: Start of the journey and where we are from.

St. Louis: Hanging out with new friends who organized a demonstration of our detailing products to their community.

Nashville: Hanging out with old friends and a new friend, the latter of which will be coming to Mexico in a few weeks to play our music festival to raise funds for a local children’s charity (http://magictownmusic.org/?page_id=74)

(insert 6 hours of weather delay here)

Dallas: Friend got a new Beaver and we went flying to do some air to air photography so he had something nice to hang on his wall. Also got to have dinner with a Nicaraguan expat friend I made online who has been tutoring me in spanish and took him up for his first ride in a little plane.

McAllen: I know no one in McAllen and didn’t have time to fly all the way to my final destination without flying in the mountains at night. I’m not going to do that, so option 2 would have been flying into Tampico and staying there for the night, but Tampico is a super industrial city in Tamaulipas, which has a crime problem*. Stopping there for fuel doesn’t pose a risk, the military keeps things under control on-campus. I wouldn’t want to go walking around outside the fence though.

Tampico: Fuel stop and clearing customs. The staff here was fabulous. Unlike some Mexican airports, all the offices you need to deal with to come into the country are in one hallway just steps from each other. Everyone was helpful and got me on my way pretty quickly.

(insert 45 minutes of bumpy flying, at midday, in the mountains, here)

Leon: My airport in Celaya is closed for maintenance for the moment, so I stopped instead in Leon for ten days or so of parking. My buddy Rusty picked me up and drove me to San Miguel de Allende where we’ve spent the bulk of the past couple years.

* Sad story: http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jun/02/the-tragedy-of-tampico-mexico-a-city-of-violence-abandoned-to-the-trees

New Year? New You? Not always.

 

imagesWith a hand full of days until Christmas, the pressure is on. As people dash to make last-minute¬†purchases, get those greeting cards out before the big day and (not so) anxiously anticipate Aunt Harriet’s yearly fruit cake, there is an even more daunting task looming… The New Year’s Resolution.

 

With millions of New Year’s resolutions claimed every 31 Dec/1 Jan of every year, the origins of the practice date back to Medieval times, the Romans and even the Babylonian empires. The resolution concept can often be thought of as secular, however there are similar practices of reflecting upon wrong-doings during the year and seeking and offering forgiveness during the Jewish seasons of Rosh Hashanah, High Holidays and Yom Kippur as well as the Roman Catholic season of Lent.

So, why do we make resolutions?

* We take advantage of the popular opportunity to start from scratch as we look back on the past year and strive for something better.
* There is never a bad time for self improvement. Improvement is improvement, right?
* It sparks hope.
* Tradition!
* This saying:

images-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do we fail?

* We set unrealistic goals and time frames for ourselves.fail
* There is lack of a workable plan.
* Often people don’t allow mistakes. You are human. You will err, you will learn and you will continue.
* Many don’t team up with a friend or family member for encouragement. The idiom ‘There is safety in numbers’ fits perfectly here.
* Resolutions often mean a change in life style and behaviors, sometimes very large behaviors. Being truly honest with yourself can be extremely difficult at times. Often people aren’t ready or willing to make those stressful observations.

What’s an improved plan?
images-2* Be realistic in your goals. No more resolving you’ll run a marathon in 3 months. Take your time and make small changes.
* Create a plan and stick with it. Impulsive resolutions are often disastrous. Address problems and setbacks, track your progress and praise yourself (even if it’s getting out of bed in the morning).
* Give yourself a break. No one is perfect and no one should try to be.
* Put the song, ‘Lean on Me’ on your play list. Invite your friends, family or even the dog to join you in making changes. We’re all in this together and encouraging others will rub off on you!
* Honestly is the best policy. Examine the reasons you have created poor or harmful habits for yourself. Identifying the root of bad habits and knowing what needs to change can turn them into strengths.

We often hear friends, family and neighbors state they don’t believe in or make resolutions around the New Year or ever. Of course, with everything, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and path in life. But, here’s something to consider: think about making a resolution at other times of the year. It’s never a bad day to make a good change. Break the thought that 1 January is the only (or best) time of year to start a new chapter. Making a personal choice such as this may be better served on June 15th or October 4th or your birthday or anniversary (provided they don’t fall around the December/January mark) without the added stress of the holiday hubbub.

Above all, remember to be kind to yourself. Relax and drink some tea, go for a walk, meditate, pray or indulge in a slice of Aunt Harriet’s fruit cake. Happy New Year!

woman-with-hands-in-the-air1-300x199