Lifestyle is a Choice

The Deserted Beach at Doonbeg, Ireland

How do you want your future to look?

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw

I was recently struck by the completely clear blue skies, the clarity and timeless beauty of the  Wild Atlantic Way which is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest drives in the world. This winding road follows the entire rugged coastline of the West of Ireland from Cork in the South to Derry in the North. The next parish from this beach at Doonbeg, Ireland is New York or Newfoundland depending on the set of your sails, your compass corrections or, more likely whether you are in charge of your circumstances and your tolerance for the cold!

Overhead, is the main air corridor from Europe to the Americas. Now just clear blue skies, wind-blown clouds, migrating seabirds, and empty beaches, under the old ‘normal’, you should see the trails of up to twenty aircraft on a fairly consistent basis through the day –

Such was life at the time of writing, slowly coming out of lockdown in a new pandemic world and facing into a new world of masks, social distancing, government by social media and a level of social control hitherto unheard of – all temporary, we are told.

Also reflected in these clear skies lies a massive erosion of, or at least transfer, of wealth, some of it in the right, and some, in the wrong direction depending on your point of view. And there has been the dramatic effect of family and business loss, job loss, changed circumstances and the effects of government decisions, on a global scale, while the ‘best’ decisions were made in the haste of emergency and often made based on the limited information available at the time.

And now we await the effects and more importantly, the unintended consequences … or do we?

Let’s pause and consider these dramatic clouds and blue skies, and the turbulent, crystal clear seawater below, and hope that after a hopefully brief reset, we will have a better appreciation for our planet, and a drive to build a more sustainable world for our children, and our children’s children…

Who would have guessed at this set of circumstances as we rand in the New Year and the New Decade … just five short months ago?

We “live in interesting times”, and I’m not sure whether I should attribute the sense of this comment to a Chinese Curse, Chamberlain or Terry Pratchett … only time will tell.

For me however, and I would expect, for many millions more around the world who have faced calamitous change in recent years, either through the oil industry collapse, or the more recent economic shut-down, it no longer makes sense in this new world to say that “I want to just retire and go on a world tour, a cruise, maybe …” (like that remains a real possibility for at least the next couple of years), or whatever else remains on the bucket list.

Whether the interesting times that we face are made more interesting by politics, pandemics or quite simply technological change, change is with us and, as ever, change is inevitable. We must respond to and accommodate, or adapt to the change, if we are to survive. We must not allow ourselves to become the victims of changing circumstance or the unintended consequences of decisions made based on political ‘insight’ and expediency.

In effect, we must take charge and decide how we wish our own lives, and our own economies, to develop by taking responsibility, by taking an active hand in managing our future, our savings and investments, no matter how meagre they might appear at this moment in time.

The starting point in the discussion must be to ask how you see your future and that of your family over the coming years? It is critical, as a starting point, to assess and face the facts as to exactly where you are now, in the current time, relative to where you thought you might be the last time you looked and to see where you want to be in one, five and ten years – NO, NOT WHERE YOU THINK YOU WILL BE … WHERE YOU WANT TO BE – that is the question.

“I don’t believe in circumstance, the people that get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they make them”

Also GBS – He had something to say about, just about, everything …

And that’s where I will leave you for now – more to follow …

Jim@jimhoulihan.com

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