As we close 2009, there’s still a lot to be concerned about. But there’s a lot to be hopeful for as well. Here are a few good things about the recession (yes, there are a few) to consider:
1. New small businesses. Economic downturns are the forest fires of small business startups. Although the number of patent filings fell 2.3% in 2009, rest assured that the next CNN, MTV or Microsoft (all founded during financial downturns) is being thought of as we speak. There are wunderkinds finding answers to questions that aren’t even thought of yet!
2. Better money management. When there are fewer pennies to pinch, it’s much easier to watch them. And once a person has gone thru a recession or two, money consciousness is usually elevated to an art form. This is a time to put our dollars to their highest use. Stores like Old Navy and Target offer chic styles at reasonable prices. Use creative ways to raise cash, like garage sales, Craigslist, and bartering. Managing our money now means we’ll be ahead of the game when things eventually pick up.
3. More emphasis on health and fitness. First Lady Michelle Obama has led the charge for American healthy eating by planting an organic garden in the White House. Learning to grow your own meals may not exactly be your thing. Take advantage of local farmers markets and co-ops. You’re supporting the local economy and getting healthier food. Cooking at home may take a little longer, but you’re assured of knowing exactly what’s in your family’s meals. A healthier body means a healthier person.
4. An opportunity to reinvent your life. Saying that losing a job is tough is like saying the country is experiencing a few economic hiccups. For those unlucky enough to become unemployed in 2009 – and there are 15 million people in that number to date – they also lost daily routines, 40-hr week social networks, and, in extreme, their identities. But it also gives them the opportunity to reevaluate who they are and what they really want to do in their lives. Sometimes it takes a shakeup to wake us up to what makes us come alive.
5. Focus on what’s really important. You are not your current situation. You are worth more than a paycheck. Jobs are important, to be clear; but your true friends, your family, your health are priceless intangibles that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
What about you? What silver linings have you found in these cloudy, tough times? Thoughts?
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