A cool breeze rattled the curtains and woke me from my slumber. There’s nothing like the fragrance of budding flowers in fresh morning air. Only a few weeks a year do I have the pleasure of leaving the windows open all night in Michigan. Either it’s very cold here, or too hot, so I love comfortable days like this. I could have stayed put, wrapped in my favorite 300-thread-count sheets, but my thirst and hunger compelled me to move. In a few hours it would be 85 degrees, and my white-washed bed wasn’t going to keep me comfortable for long.
I noticed the rain pattering louder and fewer chirping birds. A cool bath and something to drink must have felt glorious to their little round bodies. While they were thinking about how to survive the day, I was contemplating my existence from inside my house cave. No mosquitoes or spiders were biting me, thanks to screens. No water was coming in to make me wet and cold, thanks to the walls and roof. Life was beautiful from this safe little place that I had created in my home. In winter, I call it my she-cave, but in spring, it clearly feels like a nest.
If I had been trying to sleep in the woods all night, without protection from the elements, I wouldn’t be writing this post. I think about the people in Hawaii and Guatemala who recently lost their homes or lives from the volcano eruption, or the people in Texas and the Caribbean Islands who lost their homes to hurricanes and flooding last year. We forget that people lose everything everyday for different reasons, and it changes them. Their lives become a fight for survival, and they think differently than those who are skating by. It’s not the snake’s fault that it must kill the little birds to eat, just as it’s not the bird’s fault that it must kill worms. The race for life is first and foremost survival.
What we know about the universe, the solar system, our planets, and the history of mankind is that everything happens in cycles from one extreme to the next. Nothing that we experience or understand as living beings is forever the same, and nature isn’t inherently kind in real life like it is in cartoons. My aunt has two big dogs (a Doberman and a German shepherd) and they’re like babies! Why? They eat well, have a big cozy home, and get to sleep in bed with her. They live better than a lot of people. But like us, they can change in an instant; it’s their nature to defend and protect their lives and the lives of people they love. That’s why they get to live there.
Like our pets, America and many developed nations are super comfortable right now. I’ll never forget when I lived in Cameroon as a Peace Corps Volunteer—a villager and I were speaking about a French doctor who had recently built a beautiful home nearby. “His dogs eat better than our children,” she said. Isn’t it odd that dogs and cats can have better lives than many people? That never ceases to amaze me. In the USA, people generally live well. Even the poor live better than many people in developing nations. The government sells this green paper to finance lifestyles that many of us couldn’t afford otherwise.
But here’s the deal, if you are cared for by your government it’s easy to think that your caretaker will always be there and you don’t have to do anything but enjoy it, ever, for the rest of your life. Don’t be fooled; this is a dangerous fallacy and extreme. Those countries who are buying U.S. debt and funding our lavish lives, won’t always be there to do so. Why? Because they’re buying our debt with theirs and it’s not working for them. No matter how comfortable you become with what you have and who you share it with, don’t lose your skills to survive. It’s being adaptable, creative, and street smart that will carry you through the future. If life is good today, then winter is coming tomorrow. That’s the character of nature.
Empires rise and fall. Every action has a reaction and massive change is sure to take the world by surprise. You can ignore or look the other way, but it’s still coming. If you don’t know how to survive widespread financial hardship without government assistance, start with a book by Jim Rickards. Your savings account in dollars is not a cozy blanket. Neither are your growth funds or your IRA or your food stamps. When the winds change, they will expose you to the elements. Like the rising natural disasters, and the corruption being abruptly uncovered, fiat currency will be a brutal awakening for all. Maybe without any more warning than this, everything will be different, including us. The game will change. It’s better to be ready a 1000 days early than not to be ready one day late.