Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Decade

I meant to blog about Christmas but I got too busy. I meant to blog to wish everyone a Happy New Year and talk about my resolutions, but I decided I wasn't going to make any because when I fail I tend to feel bad about myself. And that is NOT how I want to feel. I want to feel enthusiastic about the future, even when the future is scary. I want to make sound decisions and wise choices. I want to be smarter because of the adversity I have been through. I don't want to have weathered a crisis and have nothing to show for it. What gain is there in that? A couple of days ago I read a newspaper article, "Economic Crisis Scars a Generation", by Gail Marks Jarvis, that said, After living through one of the most brutal recessions in U.S. history, many late teens and young adults could be scarred for life, adopting behaviours that could skew everything from their own careers to politics, corporate profits and the stock market. The article went on to say it may have much the same effect as how the Great Depression changed so many of the youths of the 1930s into conservative spenders and investors. OK, but isn't that a good thing? Why do we think that if we endure suffering it must 'scar' us instead of mold us? My parents lived through the Great Depression and WWII. My mother told me stories of how they rationed sugar and meat, and when she was pregnant with her firstborn during wartime, the doctor told her if she didn't follow his instructions to the letter, he would drop her as a patient because he didn't have time to treat undisciplined patients. Harsh? Maybe. But that generation learned to sacrifice and became strong. They were smart with what little money they had, they valued family, and they did what they had to do to hold it together. After WWII, America went on to experience prosperity like it had never known. Maybe this will happen again to this generation of young people who have witnessed their parents struggling to make ends meet. Maybe this recent struggle will create entrepreneurs who will change the world. Maybe it takes a monumental struggle like the one we are experiencing to instill humility into a generation of people who think suffering is having to shop less, ride a bike instead of drive, or eat at home instead of at a fast food restaurant. It makes me wonder who we will be as a nation at the end of the next decade. As a person who has traveled overseas and witnessed suffering firsthand, I can say that we live like kings and queens in America, even when we are lacking what we once enjoyed. My challenge to myself this new year is to treat each struggle as an opportunity to become stronger, to give a hand to someone who needs one, and to always view my glass as half full, rather than half empty.

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