The Good News About the New Depression

ollie_small6If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, it might surprise you to find out that I’m actually a pretty cynical person. You know, considering the “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” attitude I sport on this website, day in and day out. Pretty houses! Shoes I can’t afford! Websites that make me smile! Sometimes I actually reread a post I’ve written and wonder if someone, a deranged cheerleader or Patch Adams, broke into my house that morning, stuffed me in a closet and grabbed the keyboard while my oblivious dog lay snoozing under the desk.

Maybe cynical isn’t the right word.  Let’s just say that I’m a pretty observant person and I think I’ve always been able to see the world, and the people in it, for what it really is. And it doesn’t always have the colorful candy coating I’m looking for. More often than not, the things you read, see and hear about leave an awful taste in your mouth and I am no exception. And because I’m a naturally dramatic and empathetic person, I run the risk of being one of those people who are terminally weighed downed by such things, such news.

disaster

This website, in a way, has become a kind of self-defensive mechanism. A way of waking up and turning my thoughts to something that can make me happy, rather than drag me to the floor where, in my deepest fears, I worry I might stay. A necessity. My own silver lining.

daisy

Anyway… I just wanted to make sure you knew that and weren’t under the impression that I sit around in my apartment all day, grinning and drooling, chasing shiny objects, as oblivious and blissful as my sleeping dog.

There’s an old quote- “If someone you know has lost their job, it’s a recession. If you’ve lost your job, it’s a depression.” As a double-victim of the worst economic crisis in decades (I lost my job, yes, but I’m also a writer, which means my chances of finding another job in my field any time soon is relatively low. Low enough to make my dad whimper in his sleep that he wishes I’d gone to law school instead.) I have a view of the current world that can be significantly darker than your own. Unless you’re in the same boat. In which case, here’s an oar and a bottle of bourbon. And, drum roll please …

10 Good Things to Come Out of The New Depression

  • This video- a solid reminder that the only spoiled brats in America aren’t on The Hills or The City. Maybe some hard times will make us more grateful for what we have. Like the power of flight. And no more rotary phones.
  • Whenever I hear reports that movie ticket sales are on the rise in times like these, I smile. It’s comforting to know that we still all crave escape through stories, through a flickering screen in a dark theater, a bucket of overpriced popcorn on our laps. Let’s not forget that The Great Depression ushered us into the Golden Age of Cinema. 1939 alone was a year of blockbusters, timeless classics. These days, a lot of the movies out there are tired retreads- sure things for penny-pinching studio execs (sequels, adaptations, big comic book franchises) but soon there’s going to be an outcry for more original fare. Maybe we’ll even see musicals again. I can’t wait.
  • Old friends, new friends. Writing letters, longer emails, long distance phone calls. Has there ever been a better time to take stock of your relationships and bolster them or mend them in the simplest of ways? Maybe less time in the rat race will mean more time for a handwritten note, a care package out of nowhere, an hour-long phone call.

notepaper

  • Waiting for a time to write that novel? Take up painting? Play the piano? I don’t know about you but I plan on writing my way out of this mess. Has there ever been a better time to create a world of your own making?

art_sandwich

  • Growing up in the ’90s and the midst of the dot.com boom has brought us a little something called The Entitlement Problem. The next generation might not know it yet, but they’re going to be so much luckier than we are. What an opportunity to embrace the values of hard work, fortitude, humility and thriftiness. With any luck, our kids will be tougher, smarter and shrewder than us.

young

  • Maybe now we can end our fascination with rich people as entertainment value. I can’t have been the only one getting tired of reality shows built around rich shmucks and dramas about spoiled teenagers (Are you seeing a theme running through the list?). Maybe this means we’ll stop buying tabloids and losing ourselves in the minutiae of dramas that have nothing to do with us.
  • This actually makes sense to me now. Does this mean I could actually end up with a retirement fund?
  • Our shrunken budgets could mean we finally learn the value of portion control and healthier food choices for our precious dollars. As a current resident of the cheese-smothered Midwest, I’ll be the first to say, “Thanks. I needed that.”

breakfast_waffle

  • The last time the government stepped in to create jobs, we built roads and houses, reformed our banking laws and created Social Security. These days, our new jobs can help make our cities safer and actually protect our environment. Maybe I’ll be a forest ranger…
  • Imagine if the bottom had fallen out even four years ago, when a certain straight-shootin’ Texan was behind the wheel (or at least in the passenger seat, depending on your view). Instead, last November we actually got off our asses and proved that the democracy we fight for all over the world ACTUALLY WORKS. When we wanted change, we made a change.

barackobamavoguejan2009

If that isn’t a silver lining, I don’t know what is.

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3 Responses to The Good News About the New Depression

  1. P. says:

    This is an excellent post – I feel exactly the same way about my blog, which is my little haven to escape to when the wolves are howling outside…I’d hate people to think I was all about rainbows and baby pandas ‘n shit. In difficult times (and anytime, really) it’s important to surround oneself with beauty to nourish the soul.

  2. Anon says:

    Yes, he is a silver lining. I’m actually really positive about these forced changes. Our generation might emerge with the work ethic and civic responsibility of the Greatest Generation, instead of the Me-generation.

    And personally, I don’t want to read blogs that are all smiles and sunshine. Way too one-dimensional.

  3. bethenais says:

    How great is this post! Wow! You captured so much about the gift of this economic downturn, the entitlement issues, the fake media made heroes, the imagined power and privilege of money. and the need for the grateful lists- and I agree that I have used my blogging to guide my perceptions for be more positive and potentially helpful ! ps have you submitted to Huffington Post or Divine Caroline? this might be a a good one for either!!! Thanks for sharing!

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