Lessons from an Inversion:

Living in Boise Idaho has many advantages.  The beauty that surrounds us, the outdoors, the relatively mild weather and great people.  The one disadvantage is the seemingly annually recurring winter inversion.  I didn’t count the actual number of consecutive days that Boise didn’t see sunshine in January, but I know it was more than two weeks and seemed like possibly the majority of the month.  The fog was thick and the air quality poor.  Every day I would check the weather forecast to see if there would be sun breaking through soon.  To my dismay, the circumstances didn’t change.  I found it interesting that some folks were driving to Bogus Basin Ski resort.  There, they could get above the clouds and catch some sunshine.  Some didn’t even ski.  I also read that businesses in the small mountain town of Idaho City had seen a boom in business as the inversion lengthened its stay in the valley.  Restaurant owners commented on how they did two weeks of business in just a day or two on the weekend.  Folks waited in lines over an hour just to get a table in the small town.  Business was good in Idaho City and Bogus Basin.  I made another interesting mental note during this time while watching how another friend dealt with the inversion.  He would make an almost daily Facebook post showing some really beautiful pictures.  Some were of frosted trees, while others were of icy, frosted fountains.  One was a simple flake of frost and it’s detailed design. He was finding beauty created by the unique weather created by the inversion.  It was very interesting that some individuals were taking action to change their circumstance or their perception if the reality around them.

Isn’t it so with life?  Sometimes we need to make every effort to get ourselves out of the fog that clouds our vision.  We need to find the bright sunlight and see well into the horizon in order to go back to the grind that may be correlated to the fog and inversion.  Other times we need not go far to find opportunities for beauty and greater understanding very close to us, we just have to be watching and looking, even in the midst of an inversion.  Doesn’t it make sense to do one or the other?  It was easy to complain and yearn for the days of sunshine again while the inversion was about us.  We knew it would be sunny again sometime.  No need to change my circumstances when eventually things will just get better right?  But, how much better would it have been to choose one of the other opportunities presenting themselves.  I could have found a way to rise above the inversion or just find the beauty within it.  So it is with our financial lives.  Some of us may be experiencing the joy of financial independence and some of us may be stuck in the inversion.  Regardless of where we are, there is something to see if we look for it, there is more meaning beyond what eye can see, there is an impact we can have on our life or someone else’s. 

I recently saw this as a family member went through a period of unemployment.  The “inversion” weighed heavily on their family.  There was a time they didn’t see clearly and became irrational even that things may not ever be sunny again.  Then they chose to find opportunities to teach their family about financial principles, frugality and faith in the future.  Ultimately, they found the details in the inversion as blessings and found themselves back above the clouds seeing clearly and feeling the warmth of the sun.  Another individual I know recently retired financially independent.  Life was good, but it could be more meaningful.  They are dedicating much of their free time serving in a free medical clinic and helping the less fortunate.  It is providing more meaning and value to an already good life.  Wherever you are in your path to financial success, know there are always opportunities to find more meaning to your life and the life of those around you.  The great challenge is doing something about it and not just sitting endlessly in the clouds.

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