Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

I don’t think I understand much of anything, anymore—and I’m not certain if it’s because I’m getting older, or because life on this planet is getting more convoluted.

I don’t really understand why we’ve had a couple of year’s worth of weather upheaval. There’s barely been a news cast in the last few months that didn’t have headlines about record cold, record storms, or record heat. Weather patterns? Personally, I think Mother Nature has been doodling while drunk on Sangria.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it seems this may be a year of record wild fires. Just look at a map of the west coast of the United States, and you have to wonder. Is there anyone living out there not being forced to breathe in smoke every day? Of course all these fires underscore a reality we humans have failed to accept. Seriously, I would have suggested years ago that we need to reconsider where we build houses, and allowing nature’s forest rejuvenation program—before humans, there were forest fires that burned until they went out, and then, there was renewal. That is how the giant sequoias came to be—well, giants. I would have suggested that, but it appears nature has just gone ahead and done that very thing this year.

And it’s not just natural disasters lambasting us these days. I don’t understand why the stock market is picking now to go crazy. Yes, yes, fears of this and worries of that drive the prices up and down, up and down. I had no idea that the main prerequisite of managing other people’s money in a large investment fund was the propensity for turning into Chicken Little.

Now, because of all this damn panic by the money managers, people who really have little say are worried, and on the surface, I can understand that. You’re working hard, building your 401K and all of a sudden, it’s worth substantially less than it was, just the day before. We’ve had similar setbacks in years past in our own retirement funds, so I get that. But I also get the only people who should really be worried are the ones set to retire in the next few months. For them, my heart aches.

Everyone else needs to take a chill pill, because if the markets can regain the losses and even surpass the big blow out of 2008 (just seven years ago), then they can overcome this, too. So everyone who has at least a couple of years of saving time left, you need to stay calm.

Fear and panic seem to be contagious. All you have to do to catch either of those two states is to be near them. Sometimes, I wonder if “they” don’t use those two emotions as tools. It suits “their” nefarious purposes to whip everyone up into a lather from time to time. The person who’s afraid or in a panic sure is easy to direct—and maybe is too worried about what they’re worried about to pay attention to other stuff.

That’s a cynical thought for me—but then since I hit my 60s, my inner curmudgeon has been coming out to play a lot more often. I like to keep a positive attitude but I don’t want anyone to think I’m blind to machinations of some people.

After all, God gave us free will. We can choose to uplift, or tear down; we can choose to do good, or to do evil.

If we let it, life can chew us up and spit us out. There are always things happening, events that cause concern. In any given year there are natural disasters, outbreaks of disease, and financial woes. The Internet, that I applaud for allowing shut-ins to keep in touch, and providing educational connections to those who might otherwise not be able to get an education—that same Internet spreads worry and woes faster than a California wild fire.

Because we all are so darn connected to each other—not just individuals, but nations—we know of things and hear of things at an ever dizzying rate of speed. The constant spate of news, mostly about negative things, keeps us all in a near constant state of anxiety.

So let’s all relax, if we can. Take a deep breath and step back. Begin to think of what you can do to make things better.

And then look for the opportunity to do so.

Love,
Morgan

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