Oceans of Opportunity

“the poor have it easy”

'A New Life in the Sea' by Michael Lombardi

I’ve had my nose to the ground for all of 2014, and no sooner do I look up to check my direction when 2015 makes its splash. Where did the year go?

As I reflect back on what my peers have suggested was an incredibly successful 2014, despite my being a bit hypercritical of ‘progress’, I think I’ve finally come to terms with how to make the most of this passage of time that we are reminded of this time of year…the bottom line – treat life as the journey that it is rather than get hung up on the rather small steps we take in meeting short term goals or ambitions.

So, what will 2015 bring? Well, I just don’t know – but the journey is sure to continue.

Amidst what one may call a holiday season ‘funk’ (probably due to being somewhat stuck indoors given the cold), I’ve taken a short break from creative writing here on ‘a New Life’ to rethink and re-purpose. As I’ve pondered here a very many times, it all comes back to the quest to better understand ‘why are we here?‘. Ahh, what’s it all mean, and why bother?

That revolving thought brought me to pause after reading a recent CNN article that discusses the bit of a rift that we have arrived at between the wealthy and the poor, with the punchline being “the poor have it easy” in referring to their dependence on government subsidy to get by. As easy as it is to criticize from my middle class ring side seat, the rift, as I see it, is due almost exclusively to a very westernized philosophy of ‘more is better’. The land of the free, home of the brave, and closet full of toys (for both the big one and wee ones). Somewhere along the way our society decided that more was better, as if it is some sort of game to attain wealth, belongings, and some perception of power that comes with that.

In reality, short of completely reworking our monetary system to level the playing field, what needs to be recognized is that its not power that comes with ‘more’; it is responsibility.

Do I believe in hand-outs? No, not necessarily. But I do believe in making the world turn, ideally in a positive direction, which means change, and making progress. Progress towards what? Well, therein lies the big question yet again, why are we here?

To me, progress can only be made by closing up the rift. Those with the ‘power’ to make progress also very much have the responsibility to make progress. That doesn’t mean hand-outs and giving it all away, but it does mean making socially responsible investments.

Enter the era of social enterprise.

As I’ve accepted the journey moreso than some grandiose end-game, I’ve found a very humble place here in the middle of the road. I am by no means wealthy, but do well enough to provide for my family, and plan for the future. Ever since my time living in the islands, I’ve embraced a degree of minimalism, which means every sliver of ‘excess’ makes me cringe…it has also lead me down a road of philanthropy, where I find much more enjoyment out of doing something constructive with both my time and money that helps make progress (not necessarily generate individual wealth).

I was once asked by what I would do with a million dollars (by someone with the ability to write the check if so desired). In the journey that I’m on, I could do a little with a little, or a lot with a lot. My answer today – I’d reinvest it all in a socially responsible manner, help close that rift in at least my little corner of the world, and make progress. Ideally that would inspire others to do the same, as that is exactly what it will take to realize a peaceful, non-violent, and more utopian world to live in.

After all, what else do we really have to work for?

To all, I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year, and remember that the journey we’re all on is the gift that keeps us ever evolving, and making waves for ‘a new life in the sea’.

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