It has been a month since Possibilities from Responsibilities was founded based on a discussion I had with members of test community Vitalla. The grassroots creative living approach promoted by PFR has spread like wildfire around the U.S. and at least a dozen other nations.
An unexpected outgrowth of the movement is a growing network of social groups collectively called Awakenings that host “lost dreams” meetings. The meetings help people cope with having to abandon the goals they nurtured and worked for before the world went on the offensive against the threat of imminent extinction. I was asked to speak at the first meeting hosted by a new Awakenings group in Denver.
Held tonight at a large local bookstore, the meeting had over 100 attendees. The three leaders explained the purpose of the meeting and asked people to start chapters in the surrounding communities. I spent an hour discussing the goals of PFR and answering questions about the limitations imposed by the strategy as well as its chances of success. Then came the main part of the meeting: one by one, people introduced themselves and shared a personal story about a life plan that was no longer possible, why they had chosen it, how they felt about abandoning it, and what they expected would take its place - if anything.
Many of the plans/dreams involved growing families and acquiring better places for them to live. The limits on new children was heartbreaking to the younger couples, while middle-aged couples struggled with the limits on new housing as they contemplated retirement that was unlikely to come. Some single people, excited by the possibility of living a down-sized life and making a positive contribution to the world, were nonetheless disappointed that careers they had been groomed for were no longer optional.
Having had my career take some unexpected turns lately, I could more than sympathize with the feelings expressed at the meeting. When asked for my advice, I simply offered some advice given by a mentor when I was young: “If you don’t like where you’re goin’, just focus on goin’ someplace at least as good. You might get lucky and find one that’s better.”
The advice given at the end, clearly from Al, is derived from some similar advice that my father gave me in my twenties.