My husband, a brilliant writer, describes Portland as our most conscientious city. We are pleasant drivers, recyclers, bicyclists and politely honor our eccentricities. Consequently, personal finance writers don't find themselves held with the same regard as where we spent the majority of our lives: Los Angeles, the center of youth, beauty, power and wealth, where a realtor we know recounted a story of looking for a home on behalf of a client whose only instruction was that it be bigger than the home of his business rival.
That would never happen in Portland.
So, acknowledging that local interest in this subject may not be close to this city's heart, I continued to be puzzled about why people, particularly women, did not share my fascination with the relatively simple process of securing a financially independent future. When I taught the subject (with the help of guest speakers who simplified my tendency to respond in "math speak"), I saw many struggle to stay awake and wondered why.
Now I understand.
My husband is ill. Nothing else matters.
Things that had been endlessly interesting to me in the past are now irrelevant. I could not care less about money, the markets, the debt ceiling, the deficit, the national debt or the 10% across the board cuts in the Portland city budget. My focus has become singular.
At this juncture, when the dust settles and life continues as it is certain to do, this column will bear the mark of this experience. It will be kinder. It will be more understanding. I will know that some of you are less disinterested than otherwise occupied.
And, from that point, the subject of having the means to live well will be far secondary to the importance of living well.