I received an email from my financial advisor starting with “Many of us wonder what lies ahead for 2023 in regard to the markets, the economy, and inflation.” It started me thinking. I confess that when I wonder what lies ahead for 2023, thoughts of the markets, the economy, and inflation are way down the list. Here are some of the things I do wonder about:
- Will our school children catch up the education and social time lost during the COVID-19 lockdowns?
- Will someone pick up the opportunity to develop the foreclosed Dutchints site on El Camino Real?
- Will the Los Altos School District decide what to build on its purchase of land at San Antonio Shopping Center?
- Will the Los Altos City Council permanently allow outdoor eating parklets on State Street and Main Street?
- How will the newly elected trustees of the Los Altos Mtn View High School District make good on their promises to address mental health problems among our teenagers?
- Will the Walter Singer bust finally find a place?
- Will the Lehigh Permanente Quarry be reclaimed or restored, or will the buck continue to be passed?
- Will local animal shelters ever run out of abandoned pit bull terriers and Chihuahuas for adoption?
- Where will Los Altos find space to build “affordable” housing when residential land in the city is selling at roughly $12-15 million per acre?
- How many flagpoles will eventually be installed at Veterans Community Plaza to satisfy all the groups who want banner representation?
My financial advisor says that 2023 will be “A Year for Yield.” He has in mind investments in bonds and international markets. I have in mind a different kind of yield.
Investments in friendship: Will I keep alive friendships that have been based on monthly meetings but for months have been digital at best? Will I learn to use Zoom for meetings that feel like real conversations rather than just talking heads? Will I remember how to reach out to people as COVID restrictions loosen?
Investments in community activities: Will my work with the American Association of University Women lead to better outcomes for women and girls? Will my participation in the Los Altos Community Coalition help enable less partisanship and more cooperation among civic leaders?
Investments in family: Can I make time to read stories over Zoom to my grand-daughter? Can I find events and experiences to share with my marriage partner? Can I find ways to help family members in trouble when we are separated by miles?
Investments in service: Will my helping tend the gardens at the History Museum pay off with more happy events held there? Can I resume volunteer work with the homeless through the Community services Agency despite COVID restrictions? Should I become more involved with political action groups?
The yield on these investments won’t show up in my bank account or on my 2023 tax return. But if they pay off in serenity, quality of life, sense of significance, that’s plenty for me.