I am sure we have all heard, and likely read, about the current great unraveling that is fed by climate change, a pandemic, global economic practices, the end of cheap fossil fuels and a war that risks a loss of humanity in a nuclear flash rather than the steady distraction of floods, heat waves and famine. We are intimately experiencing the generational labour shortages in North America and the impact when “just in time” supply chains fail to deliver. We know what it means to decrease our driving and put on a sweater in the house because of fuel costs. We may have already started changing our menus to reduce grocery costs. I sense that these are only the beginning of darker days which will reach their blackest before my grandchildren reach middle age. There will be no returning to a tentative world peace anytime soon. National budgets will, out of necessity, be realigned to weaponize and defend in ways we haven’t seen since World War II. As individuals and countries, we will be called upon in more physical ways to defend democracy, our lands and the sovereignty and the lands of other countries, such as Ukraine. No matter our limited or largess wealth, most of us likely will be doing more with less and making decisions that are based on global capacity rather than independent desire, such as reducing international travel for pleasure.
I have heard the notion that we are likely to return to something of the 1950’s and early 1960’s in North America. I have some memory of this time when there was hardly any credit except that held on accounts by small businesses in our local towns. My family bought and built homes using cash only savings and this cash was hard to come by. No one traveled except to visit family a few hundred miles away. Few even had a passport that I remember. Children worked as soon as they were able and the only organized sports were in the lot or field next door ruled by the oldest children. Most people had a family garden and most meals were eaten around the kitchen table at home. Good things were handed down and kept within the family including mattresses, couches, tables, chairs, cooking utensils and tools. We read for those precious hours before dark when the days were long enough to have light left after our chores and supper. There was to be no wasting batteries on reading in a house with no electricity. How many of you are guilty of pulling the blankets up over your flashlight for just a few more pages while “wasting” precious batteries?
What of this time will actually be in our future? Will we keep open access to the internet? Seems we might in some places and not in others. Will we need to live without credit for all our needs? Could this be a good thing? Will we have family gardens and laying and eating chickens or eating rabbits or goats or a milk cow more often because it will be the only reliable fresh food supply? Maybe this could be a good thing as well? I am not sure. I do know we need to be thinking about what a non-globalized market means for us. And what will waves of famine and war refugees mean for North America? Are we ready for this possibility? So many questions! I do know that the least reliance on credit possible is often the best place during instability and volatility. It just means being able to have more options if something unexpected happens. Even a very modest life can become pleasant when living within our means and not just within our means to make payments. We usually even have something to share with others then too. Funny how that is.
Keeping all this in mind, how does one navigate daily life while thriving within accountable? First, there is a place between complacency and panic that is broad and flexible. This is the path of resilience lined with invigorating possibilities when things that we thought we knew can no longer be relied upon. How do we recognize this path? It usually means holding a complex mix of noncompatible positions and beliefs at the same time. It is the ability to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is how I came to paint a small sketch a while ago that I have been hesitant to share.
“One World, Two Places” is a small 8 x 10 inch acrylic sketch.