Two weeks ago I wrote an article, "Finding The Positive," which underscored the government's commitment to do whatever was necessary to avoid an economic catastrophe. In the past two weeks there has been the Bear Stearns bailout and new federal and state proposals to address a myriad of problems. There have been numerous articles debating the extent of the financial and housing problem, some saying the crisis will be averted and others saying the worst is to come. The housing market is good in some places and getting better, and in others, it is dire. Government spending and subsidies to bolster the economy are a necessary band-aid, it is said. Others say this "solution" makes matters worse, since it leads to continued destabilization of the dollar, to greater inflation which in turn erodes America as a financial super power, ultimately impoverishing more of its inhabitants. A free fall with the natural flow of the market, it is suggested, may be preferable.
These times with their continual mostly-negative economic news seem to be increasing the stress level of many people I meet. I see it in my office among the agents and support staff and among my friends. Of course, I have little contact with younger people who are generally idealistic and who don't remember those halcyon days, nor do I fraternize with the religious who are gladdened by what may be viewed as the approaching of the end of days. There may still be joy in Mudville, but I don't sense it anywhere in my community.
What does a person do then to be happy? In the past it was often suggested that one avoid reading the newspaper or that one shouldn't study the Dismal Science, Economics. Instead, it is good to immerse oneself in other activities like art, science, light reading, travel, gardening, or community service. Then there was always sports, television or religion to take one's mind off of life's exigencies.
For me, blogging has become such a diversion. It is creative, self-absorbing and it doesn't really cost anything. I have even developed contact with others who I have met through this venue. Today it is pouring rain.. What do you expect? It is March and I live on the Oregon Coast. It is a good day to stay indoors around the non-existent, and if I had one, energy-inefficient fireplace. It is not gardening weather and I don't have to drive through traffic to Home Depot to buy an expensive bag of manure. No camping or fishing trip is in order either, thus I don't have to be depressed by crowds, noise, parking fees, license fees, costly supplies or $4.00 gasoline. Here I am in front of the screen, in tune with my voice, away from it all, enriched by my creativity and completely distracted from the big, bad world. Whoops, there goes my cellphone. Lee