2017, A Challenging New Year


Above Douglas Falls on North Fork of Blackwater River in West Virginia

I use to look upon each bend in the road filled with anticipation for what was coming, but it is scary now.  This is supposed to be the time of the year to make plans for the coming year, but not this year.  The coming year will be the year of challenges and uncertainties.

I was relieved after all the election pandering was behind us.  I thought that I could resume listening to the issues of the day along with the facts.  I was wrong.  I am still hungry to learn about the facts of what is happening around the world, but all I hear about are tweets and sound bites that are ignorant, not thought-out, and ill-informed.

The U.S. along with the rest of the world seems to be changing in a challenging direction.  Resources are getting harder to extract and thus costlier.  The climate is changing and that will be affecting future food production while water tables are declining around the world.  These factors will then affect migrations and the pressure on resources on future economies.

At the same time, the spread in income levels is growing and is worse in the U.S. than in many other countries, and the proposed remedies or changes in the economy all increase the spread.  What is mostly causing me to be concerned is that our new administration seems ill-equipped to deal with the future.  I see no signs that the new administration or Congress or the public will rise to the needs and make any progress in preparing the U.S. to deal with the future in a positive and hopeful manner.

Am I being pessimistic?  Yes, but it is based on facts and knowledge.  Life is complex.  Economies, climates, resources, politics, and the way people react to changes are complex.  To understand them it takes intelligence, research, time, study, and diligence.  In general, most people don’t seem to understand that.  We have been taught to be impatient. We tend to not understand that everything affects everything else and that we need to look at the overall long-term system dynamics.  Systems are complex and they rarely change in a linear manner.  Most often they move too far in one direction and then swing back too far in the other direction as they make corrections.

We now seem to be in a political environment that plans to make a wild swing in the opposite direction from the previous administration.  It scares me that we never seem to learn.  There is nothing ahead but increasing challenges.  For me personally, this also includes my photography.  I would like to do something new and different with my photography but I don’t yet know what that might be.  In the coming year, I am going to live in the present and make the most of what I can on a day by day basis.  This probably won’t be any different than dealing with the coming administration’s changes.  I like to plan and at least have some hopes for the coming year, but not in 2017.  Personally, I am getting too old to make plans for the future.  The best we can hope for now is to be flexible and roll with the punches, but still prepare for the unknown by being prepared for wild changes in direction.

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