Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. That’s it, nice and slow. Now repeat after me, “O—Mau—Nee—May—Paw—Dra—Oom.” Again, and keep breathing – in, out, in, out. There, now don’t you feel better?
If you haven’t sought the guidance of a Zen master or worn out a few stress balls in the last several weeks, you better check your pulse to see if you’re still alive.
The visceral nature of politics in a presidential election year is usually enough in itself to induce the gnashing of teeth. But add crumbling financial monoliths, evaporating home and property values, shrinking retirement accounts, yo-yo sessions in the stock market and plummeting gasoline prices, and you have a volatile mix that will precipitate either a first-class adrenaline rush or month-long panic attack. In fact, so many things have come together at the same time, I find myself thinking about that new gigantic atom smasher and ourselves as the target. Here we sit in the midst of uncertainty, waiting for the moment of the “Big Bang.” When all the forces acting upon us come to bear, will we go poof in a flash of light?
Those around the world that have been waiting for us to self-destruct are hoping for just that. Our current ills have already given them reason to rejoice and dance in the streets. Yet anyone believing a simple economic catastrophe will lead to the demise of the United States knows even less about our history and society than we know of theirs.
It is probably incorrect to say we thrive on hard times, but downturns, depression, recession, financial disasters, panics, debacles, and crises are as American as apple pie. The main beef I do have with the current mess is the lack of a civil defense siren or severe weather warning. It seems we have agencies and mechanisms in place to alert us to all manner of impending danger. Why is there no authoritative voice that advises us to seek shelter when ill-financial winds blow? This shake-up didn’t come as a surprise to crackerjack economists and government leaders, not when guys shooting the breeze in cafes and coffee shops have recognized for a long time that things weren’t adding up in the housing market. I think many of us had a sense that reshuffling investments might be in order, but not being Warren Buffet, failed to act. Where was the lookout in the crow’s nest that should have been yelling, “Iceberg ahead!”?
There is bound to be fallout from the failures and corrective actions that will place hardships on individuals and businesses. How far reaching the effects may be is open to debate.
Personally, I figure at this point it’s just a matter of taking things as they come, trying not to do anything stupid and keeping an eye open to opportunity. It’s a lot like preparing for a Minnesota winter. I don’t like thinking about what lies ahead, but I know sunshine and warm temperatures don’t last forever. I know the weather will turn cold and raw. I know there will be storms, just not how many or how long they’ll last. I also know if I bundle up and keep plugging along, spring will eventually return.
When our economy takes a nose-dive it’s more than an adjustment, it’s a re-calibration of the system. Something that hopefully spotlights correctable flaws and restores some sense of true value.
If my words do little to inspire you, don’t worry. By the time you read this, we will have a new President, and regardless of who was elected, things will be improving rapidly. After all, didn’t they each promise a better America?
Have a profitable day,