It’s been a tumultuous week on Wall Street, and the effects are reverberating throughout the country. I have never heard so much nervousness among friends, in the news and online. I can’t say that I have been thrilled by the events; my 401K has lost 30% of its value through the end of the 3rd quarter, and will have lost quite a bit more this week.
So what is next? I don’t know, I have no control over what is going on in the markets, no control over what the government chooses to do going forward. I do however, have control over how I choose to respond to all of this. I choose optimism and hope. Some who are reading and writing blogs have never been through a financial bad time, so for them this will be a new experience.
It is not a new experience for me. I was a single mom raising a son, and remember all too well the times when I wasn’t sure what I was going to do to be sure the rent was paid, and I could feed my kid. I always worked and made enough that I never had to apply for food stamps, but there were too many times when there was just too much time between paychecks and too many expenses that arose in between.
I also remember the stories my parents told me of what it was like to be children of the depression, when dessert, if they could afford it, was likely to be a piece of toast spread with margarine and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on the top. In my mother’s case that remained a favorite breakfast treat, and when I need comfort food that does sometimes come to mind for me as well.
In all those instances what saw them, and me through the bad times was hope and a determination to move forward against all odds. It took me a long time to learn not to think of myself as a victim of circumstances, but when I did finally learn that lesson, life got so much easier, and so much sweeter.
So today I am hopeful and optimistic. We are living through a turbulent time, and we don’t know the outcome. The road ahead may get rougher in the months and years to come. In the end our lives may be very different than the lives we live today. We may not have as much stuff. That may not be a bad thing in the end. Whatever is to come, we have the opportunity to use it as fodder for our personal growth, for re-evaluating what is really important to us. At the end of the day, for me it is family, friendships, my dogs, my health, and trying to make a beneficial difference in the lives of those I come into contact with.
Wishing all of you a sense of calm and hopefulness.