This week, the economists agreed we are headed for a long-term recession. No kidding, I think we are all up to speed on that. In other words, this global, economic melt-down is a marathon and not a sprint. As Bette Davis once intoned in some fabulous classic movie whose name I cannot remember, ...This week, the economists agreed we are headed for a long-term recession. No kidding, I think we are all up to speed on that. In other words, this global, economic melt-down is a marathon and not a sprint. As Bette Davis once intoned in some fabulous classic movie whose name I cannot remember, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.” And so it is.
The image that keeps popping up on my inner screen is that of a boat. Yes, a boat. For the past week, I have been envisioning boats. Mind you, I am no sailor and have a tendency to get sea sick. Yet, I value those images that slide out of the depths of my psyche to help me along the way. And, perhaps, this image, and what I interpret as its symbolic meaning, can be of some value to you.
I keep seeing a boat that has been prepped to take a long sea voyage. All systems have been checked. Whatever needed repair was repaired, whatever needed reinforcement was reinforced. Supplies have been laid in – just the kinds of things you might need if the water is so choppy that you can’t get make land for a few days. Needless to say, there is some foul-weather gear as well as a hidey-hole with a small stash of extra cash for a rainy day or a stormy night.
And I think that’s what we need to do with our homes, cars and, even, our physical bodies. I think we need to take the necessary steps to become ship-shape, knowing full well that we are embarking on an unknown journey with tumultuous possibilities. In essence, I suggest we need to become sea-worthy.
Now, please hear me: I am not screaming, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling” like Chicken Little. However, I am saying that we are in for some unpredictable storms, and our end game is to ride out these storms as easily and elegantly as possible.
And to that end, I suggest that we put our homes and vehicles in order. For example, if you are out of band-aids, get band-aids. If your eye glasses have required repair, and you can afford it, get them repaired. If it is time for new sneakers, get them. You have a broken window or your car is still riding on its donut-sized spare from your last flat, repair them.
From my perspective, it is far easier to deal with stress when we have established a baseline of calm and relative order. Further, we feel more capable and empowered when we have prepared ourselves. We human beings are like that. No wonder, we all can relate to the Boy Scouts motto of “Be Prepared.” It makes sense.
Clearly, we cannot prepare or forecast every contingency, but if we come from a place of forethought, it can be easier. And basically, less stress is less stress.
I think of the folks who found an empty apartment in New Orleans. The tenant who had evacuated had left water in the sinks and the tub. There was non-perishable food in the house. There were candles as well. This preparation gave these folks-in-crisis an opportunity to ride out the storm safely. We just never know what little bit can help. And, further, we never quite know where that hand of help might appear.
You know how it is when we are told a heavy snow storm is going to blow through town or a hurricane is forecasted to slam into our coasts or we can smell the smoke of encroaching wildfires, we come up with contingency plans. We think ahead. We get extra food, batteries, flash lights and other supplies we think might come in handy and help us get through the night, days or weeks of bad weather and limited services. We get to know our neighbors; we pool our resources. Same thing goes for our economic stormy weather.
We can prepare by putting our physical dwellings in order and creating a solid home base that is in relative order with all systems working. We can decrease our expenses and become inventive and creative in ways to stretch a buck. We can think long-term – and, yes, temporary -- fiscal crunch and invest our time, money and energy accordingly.
And it is our thinking that can best prepare us for withstanding the up-and-down days ahead. As we all well know, attitude is everything, and that is particularly true when facing a tempest of unknown waves and ripples.
Occasionally, the waves may be gigantic; our boat may rock and pitch in response. The usual landmarks may well fade from the horizon, and our line of vision may show nothing familiar. We might even think we spot sharks circling in the distance. Yet, we have taken the steps to become sea-worthy. We are ready for whatever storms cross our paths.
© copyright 2008 by Adele Ryan McDowell