Monday, February 27, 2012

The Way it Goes

"The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer."

That's a pretty universal conceit. Perhaps even a
physics lesson, I imagine, with the energy behind
loss generating more loss, and vice versa with winning.

Or maybe it's just psychological?
I feel that's more likely. Once a man's deterioration
(or fall from grace) has begun, everything seems to
'magically' sync up to head that same direction,
even exacerbating the least for a time.

The universe is merciless, and 'fate' is blind to all men.
You get what you get, and you get what you're willing
to fight for. But behind magical thinking like
'the meek inheriting the earth' is the reality that
money is very important to all aspects of life.

Once we start losing it, despair and lack of confidence
can start in, distracting and running us down.
No one wants to back a loser, and people fear the
idea of poverty being contagious almost as much as they
fear actual illness. Maybe more.

So rats desert the sinking ship, sending another
message of unworthiness, now weighing still heavier.
Inability to eat out ends several friendships,
ends the social connections that led to more work,
ends the public persona of viability, and so on.

Disparity seems to attract more of the same.
Emotionally, psychologically, financially.

And of course we know the reverse is true.
People knock one another down to get next to
a rich man, hoping to be ingratiated to him and
be granted either reward or similar fate.

Don't make more of it than it is;
at the end of the day, we make our own luck.
And there's plenty to be said for drive,
ingenuity, and fierceness.
"Not giving up" may be the only skill
we ever truly need.


Keep On Keeping On

Those pioneer folk who picked up everything and moved west
for the idea of possibility--that's a real motivator.

We can say "Oh, those were different times." But that doesn't
deny the stamina and fighting spirit that had to be utilized by
those folks in daring to try. In undertaking the physical demands
of the exhausting trip. Of facing the unknown dangers, alone.

We have that spirit in us. We have become softened in many
respects in our modern world, and our fighting spirit may have
to first take the form of simply not laying down to die.

The emotional pressures of dealing with loss of job, loss of
security, loss of our prized possessions, (possibly even the
loss of friends and family as we face our ordeal) cannot be
the only thing we see when we look at our lives.

This is one way in which the capitalist world has ruined us;
reinforcing our worth via materialism and consumerism.
We are so much more than the sum of our bank accounts
and the size of our toys, but we have lost sight of that because
we bought into what society prizes and promotes.

Leaning survival skills may first include learning to care
about ourselves in the first place; learning to respect life as
it is, for what it is, and not remaining invested in popularity
and affluence. We may first have to train ourselves to want
to live, even without all the trappings of what others told us
were important. Embracing wherever we are, now.

In this new economy, many of us are having to branch out
on our own, penniless and devoid of any promises, discovering
that fighting spirit within for the very first time.

Bon voyage! There is greatness in you. May you discover
it on the journey.



Even some of us who started off in what was considered the middle class
or lower middle class had some things in common with the upper class;
we were not accustomed to going without, in all likelihood.

We were used to eating pretty decently and participating in many of
the things that everyone else did. Perhaps, in some cases, to our own
detriment. We were spoiled to a way of life we didn't imagine would end.

Tough times have not been a part of many Americans' vocabulary.
A huge aspect of our society is consumerism and plenitude. We were
not accustomed to not having what we wanted. We were spoiled.

The idea, and reality, of having to buckle down and do without is a
new one for many of us. And it's quite the shock to the system.

Having to tough it up and pull ourselves up by the bootstraps may
just be a new component of the landscape, but how do many of us
(for whom this new way of life is unnerving and unexpected) make
the transition?

It isn't as though being frugal, spending-conscious, and giving up

on material possessions are things we were taught in school!

(On a side note; Why do we learn so few basic, necessary,

life skills in our schools? We know most of us aren't learning
anything of value at home!)

So, perhaps the first step is breaking through the psychological
barriers that prevent us from realizing that life has changed dynamic-
ally and we need to follow suit with our mindset and actions.
That can be more severe than it might sound. There're a lifetime
of old habits to overcome for some of us.

So this is the beginning; accepting that the old is done, whether
temporarily or permanently, and we have to adjust to a new
way of doing things. Deep breath. We can do this.