Ten Ways to Trim Sails in a Paradigm Shift

The mariner doesn’t have ten ways. He always has been puzzled that one who presents a list of ten items can encompass a subject in ten definitions – no more, no less. The fascination is with the number ten and its influence on how one describes a subject. Other common numbers are three and five. He supposes the five and ten items are influenced by ancient Arabic and Roman counting systems greatly dependent on the number of fingers we have. However, there are numbering systems based on twelve and the infamous binary system based on two, which is the basis for the bar code one sees on any purchase and also the communication skills of a computer. Then there’s texting – a topic worthy of its own space.

So the mariner will use three, which seems reasonable for this space. Most of us, except Governor Perry of Texas, can retain three thoughts about a similar subject. However, none of us can remember the three silly words we’re asked to remember in those dementia tests. One must always have a memory tree at hand for such circumstances. The mariner digresses.

ONE: Stow and secure the boat. Every item in its place, every locker closed and latched. This is an allegory that says know what is important in your life, including family, finance, home and belongings. Take steps to assure that no matter how things may change, the core of your life and happiness will suffer little damage.

Stow and secure the family requires consistent reinforcement of habitual values and practices. If your family principles are led by religious practices, stay with them; even increase them as a purposeful compass. Assure that regular activities continue. If the paradigm shift involves moving to another location and a new job, the first order of business is to stow and secure common activities in the new location. Little league at the old location is ensconced as soon as possible at the new location, etc. Friday night out, a common rehabilitative exercise, must continue uninterrupted at the new location. Children in secondary school especially need additional attention and reinforcement that was not needed at the old location. The reader understands that as the changes of a paradigm shift arrive, the first action is family planning to minimize the effect of those changes.

TWO: Trim the sails. Sails are a metaphor for finances. In a storm at sea, normal sail configuration can change dramatically and involve survival methods not used under ordinary conditions. The same is true of finances – and this is not limited to salaried and retired folks, paradigm shifts occur in all social classes. What may be trimmed is a planned new car, a trip to Disney World, pricey cuisine, buying that island retreat, hosting a big family reunion at Christmas. Place emphasis on paying debt and, if possible, save as much as possible even if it’s only a dollar or two each week. If the cause of the paradigm shift is job loss or layoff, try to keep family activity and values as unchanged as possible and find ways to adjust the budget in unseen ways.

Similar issues arise even when the paradigm shift brings financial success. No matter, the same routines are just as necessary. A paradigm shift is a paradigm shift – stow and lock. Keep family activity as normal as possible.

THREE: Set a new course. No matter how high or turbulent the seas become, one must set a course to navigate through the paradigm shift. The new course may take you to unknown waters. It is important to establish a good compass reading and know your new location on new charts as quickly as possible. It is one thing to be stuck riding a storm at sea for several days and another to change course to move away from the storm.

If the paradigm shift is a new home location, chart the neighborhood, its churches, recreation and other places of interest so that family practices can be restored as soon as possible. If the shift is a new job, quickly determine new daily routines.

As the boat passes the storm, if all has been stowed and locked and sails have been trimmed, it will be easy to restore normal sailing practices. Put some seafood on the grill and sail into the new reality.

That’s three items. If the mariner continues, he must think of two new thoughts so as to reach five items. It may be possible to talk about little things like cap your beverages or put your underwear in a high locker, but he feels further metaphors would only dilute the seriousness of surviving a large change in the reader’s life.

May your sails be full and your winds favorable.

Ancient Mariner

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