Black Friday of a Black Week. Stocks down around the world. Bleak end to a bad month: banks sitting on their assets, too fearful of each other to lend a dime. Homeowners in crisis, foreclosed houses sitting empty on block after block of Main Steet America. The world is ending and there's nothing we can do about it!
Well, so what?
I sat looking around the living room last night, wondering if I should worry. If either of us lost our jobs, we could not pay our bills, including the mortgage. That doesn't seem likely, but what if our bank called the loan (told us they needed it paid NOW not over 30 years). What if the credit card we are paying down raised the interest rate drastically? What if the price of gas triples again? I imagined us forced out of our home, off to live with my mother. Where would we put our stuff? It wouldn't fit into her tiny condo, would we have to sell it all? Sell the car? Release the pets into the wild to fend on their own?
The reality is that global financial meltdown, housing crisis, frozen liquidity, all that really is just vibrating air molecules that disapear when I turn off the radio, light and sound waves that emerge in patterns from the television, pixels on a computer screen. It's not real to me.
I can afford the day's groceries, I can put gas in my tank. True, I have changed my driving habits and now generally stick to the speed limit (and get 35 MPG in a 2001 full-sized sedan!). I bring my own lunch to work more than I purchase it in the cafeteria. Sometimes I regret that certain items are now priced out of my range.
But those are moments of the day, not my whole life. There are many more moments spent talking with the neighbors about their new puppy who is a bundle of pure joy, or going for a walk at lunch with colleagues and marveling at the wonderful weather of the day. The sunrise was glorious this morning and lasted for longer than the brief market update I put up with because the radio station plays the best classical music in the area.
I've had hard times too, but my personal hard times were not caused by large-scale circumstances. We HAVE lost one income over a decade ago), I HAVE bounced the rent check (more than one month in a row even) but not for a long time now, friends and family members have died, I've felt hunger, depression, fear in due season.
Those things happened to ME, not the economy. They were REAL events, not news stories. Because I've had hard times, I can look at the moment and see the good in it, make even a moment of time brighter.
When you look around you, at what your real live contains, look at the reality. Even the hard things. At least you know it's real.