Then and Now

January 25th, 2009

My little girl is all grown up now, a Fulbright Scholar finishing her Ph.D., going on job interviews. Her older sister managed to get a degree in psychology while raising three children. Their brother struggles to make a living and be a good dad. I worry and wonder what will happen to them in this crazy, new Mad Max economic world we have crashed landed on. With Obama’s election, I think America is growing up at last–just like my little ones. But adulthood, for countries and children, is not without growing pains. For so many decades, we believed that all we had to do was work hard and dream big and we would be rewarded. We would pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. We would find work that fulfilled us emotionally as well as financially. We would qualify for mortgages and get raises. We would have flat screen tvs and happy endings. But it’s not that simple now, for Obama or our kids or us. Still, daily life goes on, and we wake up and try to keep our balance as the ground shifts so violently beneath us. I look at photos of my grandparents and remind myself that these dirt-poor farmers, small town merchants and isolated share croppers were simply working to survive, to get a bit ahead, to put food on the table and keep their families intact. No health insurance then or pension plans. ¬†For my mother, growing up poor during the Depression meant a lifelong memory of endless meals of dried beans and potatoes. I want to be as strong as my ancestors in adversity, and I don’t want to sit and pine for better times, for the stock market to rebound, for all my easy comforts and little luxuries to return. Like everyone else, I worry about losing my job, losing my health insurance, taking a paycut, cutting back. But I hope I will be mindful that every minute is precious even when it’s edgy and sharp with less security, more fear, attacks of panic–in fact, maybe precisely because of that.

2 Responses to “Then and Now”

  1. Allegra Smith says:

    I don’t know if this could help, but just in case check this article by Greg Palast.

  2. Kathleen Botsford says:

    I saw Defiance over the weekend and am still numb with the amount of true evil humanity has endured and survived. I think you have hit the nail on the head, maybe precisely because of it.