Look for the silver lining in tough economic timesIs there any silver lining to an economic downturn in our country — one such as we are beginning to experience now in the Northland?
By: Bernie Hughes, The Daily Telegram
Is there any silver lining to an economic downturn in our country — one such as we are beginning to experience now in the Northland? I’ve mentioned before that I’m often called a Pollyanna because I, at least try, to find a bright side in even the worst of circumstances. And it can truly help too — looking at the best piece, even though it may be very small, of some bad luck.
Topping the list of cutback hard luck are job losses. And, almost adding insult to injury, some individuals lose their full-time employment with the stipulation, by the same company, that they are welcome to reapply for the position they held. Couple of differences, however: If rehired, no benefits and a much reduced salary. I, luckily, never experienced that so I can’t make any personal positive comments. Guess that is where the old saying came from, “You do what you’ve got to do!”" And experience seems to prove that these people do end up coming back when the times do.
Another very difficult problem that some people face is losing a valuable property. Maybe conditions existed at the purchase time that made those payments possible, but conditions on the positive side have changed and the money isn’t there. Maybe the overly enthusiastic sales folk painted too positive a picture, maybe they overstated the positive and ignored the negative. Can the mortgage be renegotiated? After all the lender will take a hit now, too, and be more apt to cooperate.
It is hard to argue with many negative circumstances now, isn’t it? Higher gasoline prices when so many people are further from their work than biking or walking makes feasible. On the other hand, there will be some that discover one or the other is possible, and unfortunately necessary, when gasoline hits $5 a gallon. Ride sharing is inconvenient but another option to seriously consider.
More of us will discover reductions that aren’t as difficult. Too many people have borrowed more and more money to buy more and more things that they didn’t really need. The sale sounded too good to pass up or the gadget seemed to be too valuable to do without. Kevin Phillips, in his new book “Bad Money” promises to spell this out in greater detail. But we’ve all done it — we’ve bought something that seemed to be the best thing since mashed potatoes. Now we move it once in a while on the shelf, as we rearrange storage space items. So this aspect shouldn’t be an earth-shattering habit to discontinue during this economic downturn.
And we can cut back on a number of luxury habits. Some folks may even have to cut them out, period, but downturns become upturns down the road a piece so this, once again, should be temporary. Won’t it be great when they do once again? That’s exactly why we northerners like our part of the country: We get all the seasons and can appreciate spring, summer and fall even more after a rough winter. This belt tightening will be temporary unless the lifetime cycles should stop recycling. When that occurs eventually, we’ll all have no worries at all any more.
For those of us who can afford to do so, we should be increasing our contributions to charitable organizations like the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, Second Harvest, etc., all of which provide food and/or temporary shelter for those who are truly in need. Remember the old adage, “Charity is the sterilized milk of human kindness.”
And will you folks who have been struck broadside by this economic downturn try you best to see the bright side and not let worry get you down? Easy to say, isn’t it?
A harried housewife is reported to have said, “I have so many problems that if something terrible happened to me it would be at least two weeks before I could get around to worrying about it!”
Time will pass and good economic conditions will exist once again. Time is:
Too slow for those who wait.
Too swift for those who fear.
Too long for those who grieve.
Too short for those who rejoice.
But time does pass and the good times reoccur. Hang in there!
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D., is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at Bernie1@cpinternet.com.More from around the web