Every time I turn on the radio or television, I am bombarded with news about how poor our economy is. People interviewed talk about how they can't afford to put gas in their cars or go out to dinner or take a summer vacation. Homes are being foreclosed on left and right, businesses are shutting their doors, and people are losing their jobs. Times are tough for many Americans.
When I hear this kind of news, I immediately think how grateful I am that we haven't been personally affected by the recession (did they ever decide if it was OK to use that word or not?). "It's so sad what is happening but thank God we're OK!" I only recently realized how funny this is.
Of course we've been affected by it! My husband has been out of work for 4 months. He got laid off because of the economy (companies don't have as much money to spend on advertising so advertising companies don't have as much money to spend on employees), and had a hard time finding a job because of the economy (most companies he interviewed with couldn't afford to pay him what he deserves to make - with so many other people out of work, someone will take the job for nothing!). Fortunately he found something great but it took lots of patience, perseverance, and time. Time that would have forced many people to lose their homes. It's not hard to see how this happens to people.
Fortunately, we can afford our home and don't have a lot of extra expenses weighing us down. We're used to living on a budget and treat things like going out to dinner or to the movies as a treat instead of a necessity. (I recently went to see the Sex and the City Movie with a few friends and realized it was the first time I had been to a theater in 3 years.) We eat a lot of beans, get our books from the library, and make coffee at home instead of driving through the nearest Starbucks. It isn't really a big deal. We like eating beans and going to the library and making coffee. We rarely feel deprived; instead we feel...grateful.
I wonder what life would be like if we didn't. If I turned on the news and thought, "Yep, that's us. Struggling to get by because of this stupid economy." Would we have survived the lay off? Would we have had so many blessings come our way (odd jobs, graduation gifts, the economic stimulus check...). Would we still have a lot to be grateful for our would we be struggling to get by?
I believe life is what we make it. No matter what the external circumstances may be, if you think life is great, it's great. If you think it is just one bad thing after another, don't be surprised if you never catch a break. We all have the power to live exactly the life we want. We just have to decide what we want and interpret what happens with caution.