Welcome to Freer Tomorrow. For the last few days I’ve been wrestling with what to write for the first post on this blog. Do I talk about a typical day in my current, much freer life? Do I hit you with some philosophical rambling about freedom and dignity, blah, blah, blah?
Then the power went out.
While it was out, I read an online news story that said lame-duck President Obama had, without the approval of Congress, given away US control of the Internet domain naming system. Control now moves to an international body that apparently includes the biggest advocates of Internet censorship on the planet. Not at all a step toward making people freer tomorrow.
Since you’re sharp and observant, you may be wondering about that last bit. Not the bit about Obama giving away the Internet (he’s had that in the works for a while now). The bit about reading the article online while the power was out.
The reason I could still be online even with the power out is of course the data plan on my smartphone. The power was out here at my house, meaning no WiFi and no Internet access through my normal provider. But my phone’s data plan is with a different company, located far away from here. They weren’t at all affected by the lightning strike or whatever it was that knocked out my power.
“Wow dude, you’ve got a data plan for your phone. That’s not very impressive,” you say. You’re right. Having a data plan normally isn’t a big deal. In this case, it was simply a short power outage. Nothing more than an inconvenience.
But what if something more serious had happened…
…like the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit us here in Ecuador in April, 2016.
I live far enough away from the crisis zone that the damage was minor. I was only without power for one day. Just as today, my home had no Internet connectivity (or lights or anything else), but I was able to connect to the Internet using my phone’s data plan. I was able to let my family know I was ok. And I was able to notify one of my clients that the review I was writing for him would be delayed a bit.
By paying a small amount per month for that data plan, I have freed myself from dependence on a single connection to the Internet.
The example above may not have been what you were thinking of when you decided to check in here. But don’t go just yet. We all have our own ideas of what being freer tomorrow looks like:
You get the idea.
These days it seems like personal freedom is under assault from every direction, and all those things I listed are harder and harder to achieve. You can read all about the bad stuff anywhere. We’re going to talk about something different here. We’re going to talk about things you can do to achieve your dream of being freer tomorrow.
Much of what you will read in this blog comes directly from my life. I have become much freer than I used to be and am probably much freer than you are. With a lot of hard work, and the help of various people, I’ve gone pretty far toward reaching my idea of freedom.
Unfortunately for me, it has taken years of research and experimentation to get here. What I want to do in this blog is show you things that have worked for me and for others. I want to help you get freer faster than I did. I want to inspire you to take action.
I was pretty much your typical American middle-class baby boomer. I made out pretty well during the whole Internet boom in the 90’s. Nice house in the suburbs, a wife, a kid, two cars, vacations to Disney, all that jazz.
Then it all went to hell.
My parents got sick. Then my brother and my brother-in-law both badly injured their backs. My nephew got cancer. Next my Dad died and I had to take care of my Mom, who suffered from dementia. Almost everyone in my immediate family needed help at once.
Between family responsibilities and the end of the dot-com boom I got laid off (multiple times). My marriage failed. For 2 years I had to drive 600-miles round trip every other week just to see my daughter. With everything, I was unable to even think about getting a regular job. I had to declare bankruptcy.
It was not the best of times.
While I was struggling with all this I never gave up on rebuilding my life. I knew I didn’t want to go back to the way it was before. I wanted to do right by my family. But at the same time, I wanted more freedom, even more than I had when times were good.
It has taken years but that is all in the past now. Today I have a nice house in an exotic location. I eat mostly organic food and have affordable medical care that actually produces results.
I have lots of friends and time enough in my schedule to hang out with them. “Meet you downtown for coffee this afternoon? No problem! Head to the coast for a few days? Why not!” I’ve cut my cost of living so much that I can pay for everything working only around 10 hours a week.
I’ve spent the last 15+ years of my life working to working to get beyond all the problems and roadblocks that were holding me back. Now I want to share what I’ve learned so you can be freer tomorrow too. Some things, like getting a data plan for your smartphone are easy. Others, like getting out of bad relationships or financial trouble, take some significant work. And some, like moving to another country, are literally life-changing.
Yes and no. I’m not trying to claim that I am the only person who knows how to do this. There are lots of people who have become freer than before and are sharing that information online. But most of the people who do talk about this seem to be in their 20’s and 30’s. And most of the information about how to live this kind of life is written by people in that age group, for people in that age group.
There’s also an entire industry out there that caters to the needs of retirees.
But what about people like me? People in our 40’s, 50’s, even 60’s who want to be freer, but aren’t retired, and don’t want to live like a 20-something on a sex tour of Southeast Asia. When I was starting out down this road I searched high and low for information that applied to people like me. There’s very little out there for us. I aim to fix that problem with this blog.
That said, it’s my hope and belief that you will find at least a few interesting and useful ideas in the posts to come. Here’s to a freer tomorrow for you!
One type of freedom that you may enjoy is the freedom to do less.