Seems like the whole wide world is changing, and some people are freaked out by the news, the fake news, the divisions of people, and the challenges of our own lives. Even the climate is changing and the arctic caps melting! While I can’t explain it all, I can say that I’m not surprised—after all, anybody who knows or has known me has probably wondered: What the heck does Skarjune think he’s doing now?
I’ve been an introvert, nerd, hippie, waiter, bartender, cabbie, teacher, photographer, journalist, art critic, consultant, lover, X-lover, husband, X-husband, loyal staffer, X-staffer, and the list goes on. But I didn’t mean to go off and bore you with my life story.
So, as with SNL’s Mary Katherine Gallagher, my feelings might be best expressed with a monologue of sorts, in my case, a classic by the late David Bowie:
I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange)
Bowie’s “Changes” still rings true today as the world waffles between an inclusive global society and a plutocracy of leaders, lords, and warlords. Hey, I’m not here to dive into politics, just hoping to share a glimpse of how I see a way forward, at least for myself.
Think Global—Act Local
A few years ago I needed to pack up and move somewhere else, as a 20-year era of my life came to a close. I was looking for a new home for almost a year, but I didn’t find one and had two real estate deals go south. For six months I transitioned with a storage unit, a small apartment, and a little shared studio for work. That was an odd time and a lovely time—learning to sleep with earplugs as neighbors blasted video games all night, and exploring new neighborhoods in the city away from my old neighborhood.
I landed in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis in an abandoned fixer-upper duplex that I transformed into my home, home office, and my B&B business Longfellow Villa catering to professionals in transition (hmm…how did I get that idea…). As I explored my new neighborhood I got involved with local groups, volunteering at my library, working with a group of artists to create a new website for the LoLa Art Crawl, and joining the board of Longfellow Community Council to work on other local projects. Now I’m slowing building a neighborhood directory with my Longfellow.Life project to share all the great things available in our local area.
I feel good about my neighborhood, but what about the whole global hairball? I’m lucky. Even though I’ve lost friends, lovers, and wives during my lifetime, as well as jobs, homes, and dreams, I got lucky with something big, bigger than me, bigger than any one person: WordPress, the free web software that runs 27% of the world wide web.
While I still work as an independent consultant, mostly on small local projects, I’m empowered by and contribute to a gigantic global team of programmers, designers, developers, content creators, marketers, and industry leaders who make WordPress and the web happen. Our mission is simple:
Democratize publishing through Open Source, GPL software
OK, not so simple, it gets way complex, but the goal speaks for itself. Beyond the political wars of democracy and the real wars apart from democracy, our software makes it possible for anyone to publish online with many of the same tools now used by Fortune 500 companies including TIME, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, and so many more.
So I turned myself to face me, what do I see?
Just another guy in the ‘hood doing what he can to get along with and help neighbors. And, when I log on to my computer or launch an app on my smart phone, I see into an inclusive global community that shows me what we all can accomplish together. What I can be is guided by what I can see, and I’m seeing how my local acts and global views can come closer together.