Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sign of the Times

I'm probably the furthest thing from a financial wizard or economist, but it would take a lot to be able to ignore the latest news of the stock markets: the DJIA is down below 7,ooo for the first time in almost 10 years. It seems like the global economy is in a free-fall and I don't think anyone knows when it will stop. This is such a clear illustration of how we are all interconnected financially; we all depend upon each other. When will we realize that we are all responsible for each other's wellbeing as well? What happens in one corner of the world affects us all, whether it be financial, famine, civil war or genocide.

Despite all the dire financial and economic predictions, I'm not feeling that panicky about our own situation, probably because of Joe's new job. I don't worry that he's dispensible for this company. He's setting up procedures and policies that they've needed for quite some time, which will ensure the safety and quality of their product. After what happened with the peanut butter supplier everyone is quite aware of just how important that aspect of production is. So we're lucky that he is employed and not worried about the stability of his job.

Another reason I'm not as concerned as I might be is that during the year of his unemployment we learned many ways to economize. I hadn't realised how wasteful we used to be! Sure, we have always been fairly careful, but there is always room for improvement. We've discovered the difference between want and need. We have found ways to repurpose or recycle items so that even if we can't use something we can give it to someone who can. We've also taken things off other people's hands that they no longer want, saving ourselves the expense and the other person from tossing something into the landfill.

I guess you never truly know how little you can get by on until you have to: necessity is the mother of invention and all that. The lesson I'm taking from the times is that we're all stronger than we think; we don't need as much as we think we do and finally, it isn't the freedom money gives you that makes you happy- it's the freedom from wanting what you can't have.

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