I have been feeling pretty low these days. The bad financial news that keeps popping up (Or should we say down?) everyday scares me to the point of becoming paranoid. I am a natural worrier that way – my normally optimistic and carefree Libran mind is hard to reassure when I decide to start worrying about something in earnest!
So I was discussing the current economic scenario with my father last week and he was trying to reassure me. It worked, sort of, but that was more due to my blind faith in my dad than anything else, I think. So anyhow, we were discussing the financial turmoil and Baba made an interesting point I thought – folks of your generation haven’t really seen tough times so far, he said. That’s so true!
Sure, there was the dotcom bubble burst a few years back, but we were in college then and were pretty much insulated from the really bad stuff. (And that was merely a recession we were told, while this time we are headed for a depression it seems.) By the time we graduated, the market was flush with jobs. IT firms were picking us up in hordes and most of us had two or three job offers in hand before we wrote our final year exams. A lot of my friends earned more in their first pay check than what their parents brought home after decades of working. And in a couple of years, many of us bought homes twice or thrice the size of those we grew up in.
So we have had it pretty good so far, I would say. And I, for one, feel totally unprepared to deal with the financial mess we seem to be in right now. It started with the rise in gas and food prices last year. I remember watching gas prices climb from two to nearly four and a half dollars in disbelief and I remember my shocked expression seeing the hefty thirty dollar price tag on a bag of rice I had bought for just ten dollars a few months ago!
Folks around us were cutting down on their expenses, but we were both young and earning well (Or so we thought!) and these things didn’t faze us much at first. The pile of bad news just kept growing in the meanwhile and before we knew it, some of it landed at our doorstep too. The husband is applying to business schools next year, so this talk of student loans drying up is not exactly reassuring for us. And I don’t want to go into details but things at work are not as rosy as we’d like them to be. Long story short, the worry has been eating into me for a while now.
And then my father comes along and tells me stories of Thai and Filipino professionals taking shelter with their families back home in the village to weather out the 1997 Asian crisis, and how Asian families have a strong support system in their families and how we shouldn’t worry a bit if we have to pack our bags and head back home for a while and that we’re young and intelligent and healthy and happy and that’s what should count, the rest are temporary setbacks that shouldn’t trouble us at all… And lots more in the same vein, you know how fathers are, don’t you?
I sat and thought about our conversation for a long time after that. It’s true, isn’t it? It becomes especially important to count our blessings during challenging times like these, it is so easy to lose perspective otherwise. So that’s what I am going to do right now – list down my blessings, the things I feel good about. I hope you guys will feel inspired to share yours in the comment space below.
- I am alive and kicking! And I love life and living.
- I am blessed with the sweetest husband and the greatest parents ever!
- I am young and reasonably healthy, although I could lose a few pounds here and there and should really try climbing a mountain without threatening to give up at every step someday. But otherwise, I’m absolutely fine. (And I just had a physical to prove it!)
- I have a reasonably sharp mind, can think on my feet and believe I’m good at my job and at picking up new skills.
- I work but have the freedom not to if I’d rather not. And I have the comfort of knowing I have a good education and great work experience I can fall back upon if tough times come.
- I have had a wonderful childhood and a carefree transition into adulthood. I never had to ask for new clothes twice or worry about paying my hefty engineering fees. The toughest economic hardship I faced was being forced to travel by bus or train when I wanted to take the car.
- I have a sunny personality and I am happy most of the time. I have been told I cheer up the atmosphere at home and something feels missing when I’m not there.
- I have two or three friends whom I can call at 3 in the morning and still not get yelled at!
- I have many other friends I can call up just to chat or go shopping or watch a movie with.
- I think I am a good friend. I am a wonderful listener.
- I share a good relationship with my extended family and a great one with some of them!
- I have never hurt anyone intentionally so far and I don’t think I ever will. I can be mean when I am angry but I always feel bad and apologize later. And I am totally transparent and cannot be manipulative, ever!
- I still have a childlike innocence, I am often told. I love to dream, fall asleep the moment I hit the pillow and nothing can wake me up once I enter dreamland!
- I live in a beautiful home that I love to decorate and look after and admire each day.
- I am a proud and debt-free owner of a wonderful home at 26!
- I think I look good and both the husband and I find me totally sexy! I also think I am photogenic and can happily spend hours looking at my own snaps!
- I can walk into an expensive clothing or jewelery store and buy whatever my heart fancies. The bigger blessing of course is that I am too prudent to actually do something like that! (But it’s always nice to know I can!)
- I am not a miser but I am careful with money. I believe in saving and buying what I can pay for. I know the difference between needs and wants, most of the times!
- I have an overflowing wardrobe, and I happen to like most of the stuff in it!
- I am learning to drive and have not had an accident so far!
- I am learning to sing and no one has died of boredom or terror so far!
- I like to travel and feel blessed to have been able to travel around the world and explore India and the United States in detail.
- I feel grateful to the husband for pushing me all the way up to my first mountain summit and letting me experience the joy of that accomplishment.
- I am glad none of my summer plants have died on me yet!
- I lost six pounds this year, without a single crash diet.
- I like to read and my eyes have not given up on me yet! Plus I’ve chanced upon an entirely new reading source this year – the blogosphere!
- I like to write and my writing has really blossomed in the past year I’ve been blogging. And I feel blessed to know so many of you kind readers who visit my blog and appreciate me!
Phew! That’s enough for now, don’t you think? I am sure there are more but I feel much better already!
Your turn now…