Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Its scary out there

Sometimes its just easier to talk about holidays, bitch about the weather and ignore the economy.

I exist in a financially safe bubble. My friends are all employed, my family is working or in school and I have more side work than free time. My blogroll is filled with people on paths to economic safety. Everyone I know has flown at least once this year and we share vacation pictures on digital cameras.

Then I drop by CNN and am faced with that picture on the main page. I follow links where others are cutting back their lifestyles beyond the Starbucks habit. I start feeling empathy for these pithy stories until they're fleshed out. Then I want to shake these people who ignored math in favor of immediate gratification.

I get so frustrated when reading the same story over and over - family takes on huge mortgage. Dad works, mom stays at home. Dad is laid off, illusion of financial safety is popped and family cries foul at the universe. Sure it sucks that they followed all the steps (education, job interviews, marriage, mortgage) and ended up losing everything "overnight." Of course, I in my single womanhood, can't possibly understand all the complexity of their lives from an editted column.

The human spirit is to rebuild and bounce back. We all have setbacks - wether they be financial, emotional, physical or spiritual. Who we are is measured by how we plan and react to these setbacks.

Cynicism makes me a tough sell but so many of these human interest stories belie more than a lack of consumer math basics - they reveal sheer folly.