beth (bikelovejones) wrote,

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no, things aren't getting better just yet

Many thanks to pal Barry who turned me onto this article. In it I found a very thorough exploration of the myriad thoughts I have thunk since the world began going southward via The Current Recession, and where I've thought it might lead us as a society. Everything I've thought about -- and quite a few things I hadn't gotten to in my thinking -- are found in this article. And no, it's not terribly reassuring. Especially if you're under 30 (or, conversely, if you plan to live forever).

When I'd finished reading it I had two thoughts:

1. I worried for my nieces and other members of their generation, who may suffer the most if everything plays out the way the author posits. Their lives don't look very promising at this point, especially concerning their ability to find long-term work and stick with it. (One thing the author does hint at is that perhaps the children of Generation Y may be a little better off, at least mentally and emotionally.)

2. I felt vaguely reassured in my thinking, my deepest thinking-of-thinkings, the stuff I don't discuss with too many people, about my future and the future of people my age and a little older who aren't independently wealthy and have rich family connections. I felt grateful that I am the age I am, and that I chose the career I did (back when I chucked my music career in very late 1993 and decided to work with bicycles). In fact, my whole ability to live simply and on relatively little will probably serve me well. It will serve me far better than I ever imagined back when I began honing the fine arts of scavenging, mending, repairing and improvising, and above all, adapting during my childhood and adolescence. I saw a lot as a kid that I did not discuss with people. I just filed it away, "For Future Reference". I am referring to it heavily now, and although it's scary at times I am glad I have the file. Because I agree with the author of the article when he says that things WILL get worse for a lot of us, economically and socially.

I am grateful that I did not grow up with illusions of grand success and wealth, never grew up believing the patent lie that every person in society could work their way to security and stability. I understood that security and stability are fleeting, impermanent things, nice to enjoy when we have them but not something that will last. Things go in cycles, after all, and we are in one doozy of a long downhill slide right now. We won't be able to "grow" our way back to a boom economy. Things are too different, and there are too many of us in the world now. So more of us will scramble for fewer resources, and those of us with any common sense will realize we can, with creativity and patience, live reasonably well with far less than we've given ourselves credit for. Yes, my life will measure materially less than my parents' -- it already does -- but that doesn't mean it will be abjectly horrible. Just smaller, and perhaps a little shorter for some. Maybe even for me.

My father's inability to teach me about money according to the conventional wisdom of his day led, in a roundabout way, to my understanding today that a great deal of shit is way beyond my control, and always has been. The best I can do is to live quietly, and simply; to hold my loved ones close for as long as I get to be here; and to remember that I will only get to be here for so long, and no longer. I'll never be rich, and I could very well die younger for lack of access to health care, but if my life consists of several good decades ending with one bad day, I can't really complain. I only wish more people -- especially the people I know could understand all that, instead of wasting their days as if they'll live forever.


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