I keep hearing talk of economic recovery. What I have not heard is exactly what recovery will look like. Does anyone really want an economic system to emerge that looks like the old one? I know I don’t want my children to build their economic future on a foundation of borrowing against future earnings to purchase transient pleasure in the present.

Everyone wants the good life. The problem becomes redefining good. What comes off the old “good life” list is pretty easy. Hot tubs should probably get taken off . A new car every three years, huge houses, plastic toys and the newest electronic gizmo will have to go. The work comes with filling up the space in our lives that use to house stuff and figuring out what will slip into the void.

Time in nature, time with friends, time to pursue hobbies, time to learn new skills, time to devote to community service, time to sit, time to think. Time. I can’t help but wonder if some of the people who have lost jobs that required 60 hour work weeks and 2 hour commutes, a breakfast of Malox and a good cardiologist have moments when losing the McMansion wasn’t the worst thing that ever happened. Of course, I realize that I am not being totally fair. It’s easy for me to look on the bright side of job loss when I don’t need a job. Bruce and I have been preparing for this for years. Had it been thrust on us before we were ready, we would have suffered as much as any unemployed stockbroker.

I can’t stress this enough. If you have a job, use this time to prepare for a time when you might not. Start a home business that you can fall back on. That may mean investing in the acquisition of new skills or tools. Learn to love living smaller. Be a presence in your community. Grow some food. Barter. Lose weight if you need to. Get healthy. Stop smoking. Forget the Dow Jones today. Design your own Personal Satisfaction Index.

Here is what my day looks like. It is early now. The children are still asleep. I will get them up in a minute. We will eat the whole grain muffins I prepared last night. Bruce will walk Phoebe to school. He will stop to visit with our neighbor. They will talk about buying pigs or bee keeping or this year’s sap run. I will write for a bit. I will pick up the up stairs and water my lemon tree. I will open up the green house. Bruce will work on the cabinet he is building for our son. We may walk to the Creamery for a cup of coffee. Actually, the coffee doesn’t matter but the community does. We will sit together and work on the garden plan this afternoon. I am making fish for dinner. I need to decide what I should bring up from the cellar to serve. Should it be applesauce or pears? Potatoes for sure. We will walk to school to pick up Phoebe. I will knit a few rows on my grandson’s sweater. We will take a walk after supper. Life is good.

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