I'm sitting in my room at a Quality Inn Suites hotel near Lester Pearson Airport in Toronto. Tomorrow, I will meet up with the friends who are accompanying me to Panama, and by tomorrow evening we will be in Panama City. I travel quite a bit, but I always marvel at how small our world has become, and how quickly we can travel just about anywhere on our globe.
Earth is a tiny little place. With a circumference of only 25,000 miles, it is less than a speck in the universe. Yet, it is where we live. The earth supports us, if we help it along a little bit, and we can (or could, if there were fewer despots and politicians in the world) live a wonderful life. It takes some effort, some planning, some sacrifice, some patience, and sometimes even some heartache, but life can be good. One thing I have never been able to understand is the whining and complaining that I hear from people who should be happy to be alive during the most dynamic and interesting time in human history.
I remember listening to my parents describe the lives they lived in Poland, Siberia and Germany. Their lives were brutally difficult, but I never heard them complain about anything. Even after their arrival in Canada, life was hard, but they sucked it up and did what they had to do to raise their kids and prepare for their retirement. Their children, my sister and brother and I, learned from their example that when faced with life's problems, one took them by the horns and wrestled them to the ground.
Panama is starting its path towards better lives for all of its citizens. It has yet to make the mistakes that we see in so many of the 'developed' countries, namely punitive taxes, over regulation, and out of control deficit spending. The people in Panama seem content and appear to be enjoying the adventure. I have met a number of individuals who have left Canada or the United States to make a new life in Panama. They too seem happy. They enjoy the beauty of the country, the low cost of living, and being part of something wonderful. I have also met a couple of people in Panama who should have stayed home. Nothing is good enough for them, nothing meets their expectations, everything was better at home. Why didn't they stay home?
Whiners are polluters. They poison themselves and they affect everyone around them. I don't like complainers at home in Canada, and don't like them in Panama either.
Maybe I'll be lucky and won't meet any on this trip.