Unfortunately as I read any paper or magazine editorial lately I am seeing a common thread. When you break it down to the lowest common denominator it equals fear.
I have empathy for the employees in the area that are losing or have lost their jobs. I too am facing that situation. At first I was angry. Angry at those that I worked for, at the people that I felt started the problem and then finally at myself. I could not imagine how people could decide that a service was no longer needed or that it wasn't good enough. Then I thought about how this could ultimately take away my American dream. I cried like I have never cried before. How could I have foolishly not prepared for this? Everyone else that is facing unemployment is going through the same thoughts. It is a terrifying time. I have never "lost" my job before. I don't like it. Although it appears that some of the employees associated with South Beach have experienced this "loss" before, it doesn't make it any easier fo them either. We fear.
The economy has tumbled. I don't need to describe what has happened to any of you. Even my children have a grasp of the problem now. My husband and I have sat down with them. We have been honest about the things that they might understand. Mom and Dad won't be able to buy this or that at the store unless we really need it. That does not mean that they will suffer. Valentine's Day will bring them cute trinkets and candy. It does mean that they won't always get a book or a toy when we leave a store. They will learn to appreciate what they have and work for what they don't.
I have told my oldest daughter that she must make decisions on what is more important to purchase. Does she really need the 30th notepad that she will use for a week and then lose interest in? Would it be wiser to think about saving it to buy a friend a birthday gift later? She has been told that we will contribute 50% of the cost of a gift. She must pay for the rest. It has taught her to be more fiscally responsible.
Straw poll time. I know how you all like them. Raise your hand if you watched your retirement account dwindle. The funny part is I don't remember spending it. Do you? My parents and yours are depending on that money to be able to live. They aren't looking for filet mignon or caviar. They will appreciate chicken breast and vegetables. Their nest eggs are gone. They don't have the luxury of time to recoup the losses.
I haven't spoken to a person that is not apprehensive about the economic stimulus package. The first stimulus package did very little to boost the economy in my opinion . This one makes the first look like the president was playing with monopoly money. How will we ever pay it back? Who are we actually borrowing it from? Look at your children, nephews and nieces or the grandchild who lives down the road to find that answer. Will it even make a difference? President Obama will either go down as a hero or a zero.
Times are going to be tough for all of us. It doesn't matter what your age is. The kids looking for summer employment are going to have a tougher time finding work. The people my age will be worried about providing for their kids. The seniors are concerned about buying their medications and staying warm. The small business owner will have to make tough choices. Belts can only be tightened so far.
As I write this, I am listening to the backround noises in the house. My kids are playing with a friends' daughter. Her mom and I have made a pact. If I am not working I will watch her daughter. In return I get to torture her with my two smaller ones if she isn't working. We save a lot of money doing this. One might think that we are crazy taking on more duties but I look at it differently. My kids are playing upstairs while I am downstairs. There is playful happy noise. Everyone is happy.
Plant a garden this year. A few extra plants dedicated to giving away the produce won't take any longer to care for. Share the bounty with the neighbors. Years ago when I had chickens I used to bring fresh eggs to my neighbors. In return one neighbor Charlie would supply us with raspberries and pie. How could we go wrong? You will be teaching your children a valuable lesson. They will learn the joy of a job well done by helping others. Sharing is a valuable commodity in these times.
Instead of going on an expensive trip far away, look to the area around you. Go to the county park. Get a membership to Godfrey's Pond. You can do everything there from fishing to walking the trails to looking at exotic birds or feed the fish in the hatchery. Ride bikes or just walk to the neighbors house. Camp in the backyard under a midnight sky filled with glittering stars. Throw snowballs in the winter and chase fireflies in the summer. The ideas are endless. The internet can provide a list of daytrips for you.
By helping each other, we help ourselves. We will get through this tough time. You will enjoy the more simple things in life. Cherish the moments and experiences as they happen. The fear will be overcome. Life will continue and the smiles will return.