Our future is all in our hands
In the blink of an eye it will be 2020. Some will claim it as a new decade, while others will say 2021 is the start of a new decade. Putting aside the semantics, it will be a new month and new year.
The question we have to ask ourselves as individuals and as a country is as follows:
Will it be the same old, same old in 2020, as it has been in 2019 and in years before that?
Will we end next year complaining about being financially challenged, overweight, with slim job prospects and any given combination of negative indicators?
Or will we commit ourselves, as individuals, as families, as communities, to seeking more positive trajectories?
Both the choices and the subsequent results rest, almost literally, in the palms of our hands.
With our hands we can decide whether we eat less red meats, less processed foods, less starch.
All in an effort to reduce our weight, cholesterol levels, body mass index and, ultimately, our chances of getting non-communicable diseases and conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and kidney failure.
Or we can, with our hands, continue to eat ourselves into joining those negative, yet avoidable, statistics.
With our hands, we can choose to moderate how many times we buy takeout food versus cooking at home.
Think for a moment: consider how much you spend per week on takeout food and then multiply that by 52.
That would give you the gross amount you spend per year on takeout food.
Without a doubt, many of us would be in the thousands.
With our hands, we can choose to prepare meals at home to take to work through the week. We can also fill that water bottle at home, as opposed to buying water or sugar-filled soft drinks.
Both money saved and healthier eating.
With our hands, we can learn new skill sets such as auto mechanics, construction, air-conditioning repair, hospitality and many other technical trades.
The reality is that, with increased online sales, jobs in the retail sector and increased offshore attacks on our international business sector, employment in those fields is shrinking.
To delude ourselves into thinking they will grow by any significant number is regressive.
Meanwhile, there are literally thousands of jobs, filled at present by guest workers in the vast array of technical fields.
Yes, more often than not, those jobs will not be in comfortable, air-conditioned offices or sitting down in front of a computer screen.
However, technical jobs are those that will always be around. These are jobs that command fees starting at $40 an hour.
The sad reality is that fewer and fewer Bermudians are opting to go into these fields. Hence, the steady growth of guest workers.
With our hands, we have a choice to make.
Go into the trades or face a future with more guest workers than Bermudians in the workforce.
The net results being many Bermudians being unemployed or underemployed and millions of dollars leaving our economy on a weekly basis.
There are many other points that can be made for the years going forward. However, the holistic message is that we should not just make new year’s resolutions, which we end up abandoning before Valentine’s Day.
Progress and change do not happen overnight.
Find the right directions and goals, and work towards them on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
Our forebears, many of whom never attended or finished high school, were able to accomplish much with fewer resources, less income, less chance of bank loans, but with much more vision and unity among themselves.
Let us, as individuals and as a country, take valuable life lessons from them.
•Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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