Monday, March 9, 2009

Bad Economy Teaches Great Lesson For Life

I think until it affects you personally, you just don’t realize how bad our economy is. Sure, the cost of gas hits all of us, along with grocery prices. But even when we see the stock numbers shrink, the unemployed workers grow and Obama’s hair enter a grey area, it’s easy to disconnect yourself by turning off the tv or the radio and getting back to work. Or at least it was, in my case. This week, at my job, that came to a crashing halt for 14 people. In more than 20 years, the company I work for has never had to lay off one person. And in one day, they reached double digits. While I made the cut, my coworker — and close friend — sitting right next to me did not.

Talk about close.

While we’ve definitely been spending more time at home, I knew it was time to do more. So as I invited my coworkers into a group hug (not the in-spirit kind, but the real kind that involves a potential legal issue for HR), I vowed to myself that I would start looking for extra freelance projects and spending less money. Only I didn’t get the chance to do much — on my way home, an unidentified object literally fell out of the sky and landed on my windshield. It bounced off, but took some of my car’s glass with it. The good news is, when I got out to measure the damage, I noticed the huge bulge on the side of one of my tires, threatening a flat at any second.

I know now I’m being sent a message.

Either my karma is infected with a serious virus, or I need to start being more frugal and planning ahead. A few more days like this, and I could be sharing a bowl of Purina with my two cats. If you’re like me, and you live in the moment (even making dinner plans in advance gives me stress), this is a hard pill to swallow. But that’s what is happening today — the entire structure of life is changing for people, not just across the country but throughout the world.

This is a message my husband has been trying to send me for years, but I’ve always chalked it up to personality. Some people save for a rainy day; some people spend it all on the cute umbrella. But I’m taking this past week as an opportunity to try to think differently about my finances. If this economy has taught me anything, it’s that you just never know what’s around the corner.

I’m lucky enough to have a job, have my health, and have a tough windshield. I think it’s time to start appreciating it and giving a little back to my bank account. Now, before my husband reads this and has a stroke, I will say it won’t be easy and I’ll probably slip up. Thankfully, I now know the universe is watching, so I’m sure I won’t be off track for long.

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