I have been doing my morning internet news read and I don’t feel good about it. I keep reading about another year, another two years, maybe another ten years of pain and recession. What I don’t hear, except from a few like Sharon Astyk,Dmitry Orlov and James Kunstler is that this is not about a time line. This is about a shift in the way we will live forever. The bills will come due and we have no money to pay them with. We will need oil to fund massive infrastructure repair and that will take peak oil off the back burner and set it right on the kitchen table. The auto industry isn’t coming back, not looking anything like the old Detroit at any rate. We can’t spend our way out of this any more than a bankrupt family can spend their way out of homelessness. It is time to face this new paradigm and get to work making a life in it. Start today.

If you haven’t ever grown food, start today. Go to the library and take out a few good gardening books. If you don’t have land, check out your faith based community, your local government, your homeowner’s association and find some empty space to reclaim for food. Pull out the ornamentals and plant perennial food plants. Join a Church, even if you are not a believer. The church model holds the most hope for a working system of support. Get involved in your local government, volunteer fire department or school system. Buddy buy when you shop. Get two of something and put one away. Get an energy audit on your home. Consider doubling  up with another family to save on expenses if things get very tough. Get healthy.

A few years ago I took a serious fall. I broke my hip and shattered my elbow. I spent several days in the hospital and during that stretch, I had a constant stream of visitors. Family, friends, neighbors, church members came in droves. They phone rang constantly. Flowers and books arrived. The woman who shared my room was so unwell and had only one visitor. She got a few phone calls and it was clear from her end of the conversation that her life was like something out of a Jerry Springer show. I apologized after everyone left for the chaos. She looked at me with tears in her eyes. “I never knew anyone could be so loved”, she said.

Find love. I don’t mean this in a touchy, feely kind of way. I mean it in a concrete way. Lend a hand. Reconnect with your extended family. Learn to enjoy this different life. We are going to need each other in the coming dark days. Don’t let fear win.