Aged 4 I left Canada and arrived in an alien land, post war England. Aged 22, I left England, then my home and all my friends and returned to Canada. In 1995 I left Toronto and came to PEI. All these changes have been seminal in shaping me. All have involved loss as well as gain. Now I leave PEI, the process of loss and gain digs in again.
This seems to be a powerful pattern for me. Looking back at the work I did when I left the corporate world I found this piece:
I see my life as a series of chapters of a book that while it has a common theme, the essence of myself, requires me to put away strategies and concepts from each prior stage to enable me to see what is required for the next.
At each juncture, and this is one, some of the behaviours and beliefs that enabled me in the previous part are now potentially disabling.
I sek to examine what parts of the tree should be pruned to allow the new growth.
I left the corporate world nearly 18 years ago. I had been the typical corporate warrior. Being this fake person had exhausted me.
As part of the proces of deciding never to go back to that world, I wrote myself a promise. I found this as I have been sorting out my things and deciding what to keep or not. This was a promise to become a different kind of person. I have not seen it since 1994.
"I am a deeply connected person - connected within myself so that I can be connected to others - I am close to nature and I feel the natural rhythm of life.
I earn my living on the basis of this empathy and I am replenished by the quality of my relationships.
I live a simple life and work where I have a natural fit and where I can make a catalytic difference.
I am beholden to no person but I am attached to many."
I am pleased with how I have done. The next chapter takes me even closer to this promise.
John Robb has an excellent blog on Resiliency - here is a piece on dairy Farming that might be an exmaple to us all - it's not abiut dairy it is about how real economics works - why I am buying a very small house. Lean Housing
It is clear to me that Supply Managemnt will not survive in Canada - this example will be the only way that any dairy operation can survive in Atlantic Canada - get ready folks
A "Lean" Dairy Farm
Being "lean" is an essential part of building a resilient business. What does being lean mean? I could give you a definition, but I found something better.
Here's F W Owen's "lean" approach to dairy-farming. He introduces his "lean" approach with this example:
At one time we milked 300 cows 3X, but now milk only 30 (and make more money than with the 300)
Characteristics of a high cost structure dairy farm.
Characteristics of a low cost structure dairy farm.
Full line of machinery for tillage, row crop production, manure hauling, 3 or more different forage, storage and feeding methods, feed processing, feed mixing, cattle hauling.
One small tractor, small skid loader, manure spreader and mower, hand cart, pitchfork, broom.
Newer, dependable machinery.
Older rebuilt machinery.
Machinery purchased with borrowed money.
Total fair market value of all machinery under $5000.
Powerful pickup truck less than 5 years old with payments.
No pickup or a well maintained 10 yr. old or older truck. No payments.
Attempts to maximize production per acre. For example attempted corn yields of 150+ bu/A.
No seed or herbicide purchased. A little fertilizer and lime purchased. Max. effort devoted to precise manure distribution by cows.
Near constant use of 2 to 5 tractors and loaders.
Tractor use usually a few minutes or less per day.
Year around cow exposure to concrete stress & free stalls.
Cow exposure to concrete limited to milking time and winter months.
Little or no nutrients from pasture.
100% of forage from pasture April 10 to Nov. 25.
High Cost Structure
Low Cost Structure
Attempt to grow most forage and concentrates.
Maximum use of very low-cost purchased feeds like shelled corn and coarse hay for winter feeding.
Purchased feed tending to be high quality imported hay and exotic protein supplements like cottonseed.
Purchased feed limited to cheap low quality hay and cheap local shelled corn.
High level of dependence on agri business for products & services.
Total lack of need for agri business products and services.
Hire consultants for ration balancing, animal health, agronomy and financial mgt.
All management functions handled by owner-operator with vet. principal advisor.
Many people tell me that you cannot see the future. But I think you can see the patterns of history and have a good feel for the probability of the future.
In this chaotic time, having a sense of the probabilities will give you an edge.
Tristan Fischer, my super clever nephew, is writing a new blog that wrestles with these patterns. In his youth, he was the boy wonder for renewables st Shell. Now ancient in his early 30's, he is CEO of a very interesting energy start up. More here.
He is coming. Getting old, helpless and dying is what lies ahead of me. As it does for all my age.
I am 62 tomorrow. My dad died aged 55. I may live for 20 + years or I could die tonight. One thing is for sure, the Grim Reaper and I have a date. I accept this. Do you?
My mum has been in a seniors home for 15 years and has been looked after by my sister and I for 31 years. She has not been able to look after herself since her late 40's. She has enjoyed the benefit of a great pension from my late dad. But I have no pension. Do you? If you do have a pension do you think that it will never change? Look at the Greeks. Look at what the numbers for PEI government pensions. Can you hope that "they" will fund you being helpless?
Is this smart? Is this a loving thing to do when you have a family?
Here is my plan to reduce my chance of being physically and economically helpless.
The easiest way to become helpless is to continue to eat the modern diet. The average Islander Male is helpless by 65 and lives dependent on his family and on the state - you and me - for the next 9.7 years. I have radically changed my eating habits. I intend to be active until the end. This is something that all of us can do. When I was 59 I was on track to be that helpless man - so it is not too late guys.
But if you deny aging and death, you will not do this. When you deny this, you condemn your kids and the rest of society to look after you. Is this really what you want?
I have to find a way of being economically sustainable as well. Hence my selling our place here on PEI and looking for a Tiny House as our new home close to my kids. I will cut my running costs to the bone. Especially my exposure to energy and to food costs. The right sized home can also be designed to need very low maintenance.
Being close to our kids and extended family sets up a value exchange as well. We can do a lot to ease their burden of child rearing. Implicit with this is enough in the family "Bank" to make taking more care of us later, lawn mowing, help with housework etc more equitable.
As I see things, my parents generation could ignore all of this. The state and the system would take care of them as they aged. I don't see how this can work when the majority of people are old as they will be soon.
So do you have a plan? Do you accept that you are aging? Do you accept that you owe it to your kids and to the rest of us to do your best to take charge?
A huge part of the costs of the healthcare system today are tests. Test that we all have to wait for, that are often inconclusive, that use very complex equipment, that cost a lot and that pay the Dr's well. All this is going to change.
Just as you now can tell immediately if you are pregnant, soon you will use a paper and tell if you have cancer. You will know very early and with 100% accuracy.
All because of a 15 year old boy science genius. Story Here
In summary, all new and bad things in our bodies produce signature responses from our immune system. Called antigens, they are very specific and they can be found very very very early. Jack Andraka has developed a test that will find these signatures - the results are the same as for pregnancy testing. Easy to use and an immediate response.
This is going to change a lot about cancer.
Cancers will be found very early and with few false positives - cuts the death rate in some cancers such as colo rectal that depend on early detection
Much of the testing will be done by us - the consumer
Huge costs will go away
Be sure however that the healthcare system will fight this. They will claim that we are not clever enough to do this. But the real reason will be that testing is a major part of their income. Labs will fight this for the same reason.
On the other side, single payers such as Canada's provinces, Medicare and HMO's will push on the other side.