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Reflecting on the Economy

October 3rd, 2008 at 03:18 am

I am here in Idaho, spending a quiet week and celebrating my DDs birthdays (they are twins). I've had time to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and go for long, leisurely walks. As I stroll through our fairly new subdivision, I'm troubled by the increasing number of homes for sale... about 35 to be exact, or 20% of the homes. A few are beginning to show signs of neglect and the HOA says these are foreclosures, but they are working on getting the landscaping up to standard. It goes without saying that property values have dropped dramatically. Apart from the physical evidence of financial misfortune, I am sad for the families that have had to make the decision to give their homes back to the lender.

The dire state of the economy is painfully evident not just in the many vacant homes in local neighborhoods, but also in the many businesses that are closing. Whether I am at a mall in Idaho or California, I see many businesses- big and small- that are now closing or have closed... their doors are locked, windows covered, the shops empty. It's alarming.

On a more positive note, today's local paper says home and retail sales are up for September in the Treasure Valley, although the "economic downturn persists." This was good for me to read because I'm finding that I can too easily get in a blue mood just thinking about the economy. I know I should focus on things I can control, but for me this is easier said than done. If I let myself, I will worry about the depression/recession/downturn or whatever you choose to call this state we're in. The fact that DH and I are financially secure doesn't help much... I still worry about others, especially children and the impact this is having on their lives.

But in my own way, I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. So, whether it makes sense to anyone else or not, this has helped me to keep positive. In the last few days I've done the following:
~ swept and cleaned my patio, windows, and super-cleaned the house (easy job, considering the house is used infrequently);
~ donated the money I saved on house-cleaning to the local youth ranch;
~ stocked the pantry with non-perishables (dry beans, canned vegetables, soups, pasta, etc.) and bought enough to donate a like quantity to the food bank;
~ donated a box of like-new, unused warm clothing to a women's shelter;
~ watched a great interactive presentation on the Oregon Trail in Idaho (those pioneers do inspire courage and perseverance!);
~ made a list of all the blessings in my life (and there are many).

I'm interested in knowing how others are coping/surviving given the state of the economy. What are you doing to keep going and how do you stay positive?

5 Responses to “Reflecting on the Economy”

  1. gamecock43 Says:

    I too have noticed many subtle signs that things are different. Here in FL there was talk of house investing everywhere- now no one will talk about it. It seems that many people I know are unemployed or close to it (working for builders/realtors/ect.) And my eBay sales are pretty bad compared to how they were selling 2 years ago. I used to be able to get at least 60% of an items original price, now it is 30% at the most. So I am trying to stay ahead of the curve. Rather than dip into savings or try to live the lifestyle I was living even last fall- I have kind of bunkered down in preparation to do without. We are no longer going to resteraunts at all. If we eat out- it's always takeaway so no tip, no paying for drinks. I have limited driving to only when I can do several necessary things in one trip. Cut out alcohol. Home movies and outside walks are now the main source of entertainment. Life is different now- but it's not bad.

  2. scfr Says:

    I can relate 100% to the urge to bring order to your own world when there seems to be chaos all around.

    I just read Amanda's post about the utterly devestating effects that can occur when someone chooses very bad ways to deal with financial stress (getting drunk and then driving):
    It's heartbreaking.

    You're right that we must look for healthy and productive ways to stay positive.

    I've been making an extra effort to eat healthy and get exercise. I've also been re-reading a couple of my favorite poems that inspire, petting my dog, and watching my favorite funny TV show on DVD so that I can laugh. The organization I volunteer with is having it's big annual event this weekend. I stepped in and took on a couple of extra tasks ... As cliche as it may be, you really can help yourself by helping those less fortunate. And the event we're putting on is a really fun & free festival for members of our community, which is something I think folks could use right about now.

    I like your idea of drawing inspiration from remembering those who survived much more challenging times (like those pioneers).

  3. Analise Says:

    I've always felt that negativity kills the soul, so I hate to see it in myself. I like hearing about the positive things others are doing.

    @ gamecock43 - Thanks for sharing and you're right... life is different, but it's not bad.

    @ scfr - I like your ideas and definitely agree that helping others makes us feel better. There's something about taking action that gives me a better sense of control, but most importantly, helping others helps soothe my own troubles.

  4. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I'm thinking about with whom we might want to draw closer through any really bad times....I also have an urge to clean up and organize, but I think that is a seasonal urge. Plus, even as a city gardener, I still have my biggest crop to dig, cure, and store. No matter what is happening in the greater economy, in the household economy early October is a time of preparations and provisioning.

  5. homebody Says:

    Just hunkering down and still enjoying my family. We have been through bad times when we were very young. We can get through this. DH and I are trying to eat very healthy and less food in general.

    MD's BF (of 7 years) is the only person I know who has lost their job due to the economy and he is over here doing side jobs until the union calls him back.

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