Thursday, October 23, 2008

The End of Life as We Know It? Probably Not.

Back in March of 2007, after a long weekend trip my husband and I made to Canada to help my parents through a difficult period in their lives health-wise (my father had just been discharged from hospital again after a bout of heart failure), I wrote the following:

“It does put me in mind of the old Carpe Diem (Seize the Day) saying. At times, as a family, we stretch ourselves in terms of time, and sometimes even in terms of finances, to do things we want to do and go places we want to go. I find it hard to regret any of that in the current climate of my parents’ lives. It makes me ever more determined to create a life full of experiences, much more so than a life full of things. This is not to imply that my parents ever created a life full of things. As children of the war years, they were incredibly frugal, but always utterly generous with anyone who needed help of any kind. They often put their dreams on hold though and I wish they had not done that. I do feel a sense of the need to do things now whilst I am fit and well, rather than to wait for the life in the glossy pictures promised me in the advertisements for retirement investments. Now is all any of us really have, and we really do need to seize the day. Although I urge everyone to provide adequately for their retirement, especially if you want to spend it somewhere nice!

I do not mean that in a depressing way, but more in a kind of victorious throw back your shoulders and stand in the wind way. No matter where we are in our lives, no matter what is happening, we truly need to make the most of every moment, even every second. We have to step outside our comfort zone and reject any delay of our dreams, embracing the now whilst facing ourselves firmly in the direction of a positive future. The past is gone, and we cannot waste time lamenting it nor praising ourselves for it. Every moment is a new beginning and it is never over until the fat lady sings. Seize the day and never surrender, that should be every 21st Century Housewife’s mantra!”

Even today, I firmly agree with what I said eighteen months ago and I still believe that Carpe Diem is the only way to go. Even in these days of economic uncertainty (or “meltdown” as the press insist on calling it), I think we need to realise that everything will work out in the end. For better or worse, we will come through these tough economic times and we will move forward. Life will go on, and we will get through this. I’m not saying we should rush out and spend willy nilly, but I do think that the panic the press are inciting is counterproductive. It’s creating so much negative energy and such a sense of lack, when we actually live in a very abundant world, particularly here in the west. Even when times are tough economically, it’s imperative that we think, breathe and speak abundance. Our brains only believe what we accept as truth. Therefore if you look for abundance and bounty in your life, you will find it. Equally, if you look for lack, you will find that too. I much prefer to look for the former.

I’m certainly no Pollyanna, but I firmly believe it is time for us all to start looking at the positive side of things. We can’t allow ourselves to be swayed by the evening news, who often take already fragile statistics, artificially project them forwards and come out with a picture that is very alarming indeed. Anyone can do that by manipulating statistics. Heaven forbid they admit that they just don’t know what will happen next. One would assume, from the “failing housing market” that no houses are selling – but I see “sold” signs on houses every day. And if the value of your property has dropped, it is only a problem if you need to sell it now. On the flip side, if you are looking for a mortgage, interest rates are dropping - so that is actually good news. For some, this might even be a time when they can hop on to the property ladder when before inflated prices made that impossible. Prices of large goods, like cars, are dropping and the deals being offered by car showrooms are getting better by the day. Equally, if you hold shares, it’s only a problem if you need to sell them now. If you don’t, just hang on. If what goes up must come down, so it follows that the opposite of that must also be true. Desperate times call, not for desperate measures as has always been suggested, but rather for well thought out, carefully executed measures. We must step back, get some perspective and refuse to allow ourselves to be drawn into the rising panic.

I know that some people have suffered true financial hardship at the hands of this recession and I feel desperately sorry for them. But when one door closes, another one always opens and things will work out for them. This too shall pass, and a brighter tomorrow will follow. The key is to stay positive. Like attracts like. Positive thoughts attract positive events, and negative thoughts, well, it’s not rocket science.

In the meantime, what we need is a bit of faith and optimism to ride out this rather torrential storm in a teacup. The sun still shines, we still laugh, we still experience joy, we still breathe. It is “never over till the fat lady sings” and quite frankly, I haven’t heard even so much as a whisper out of her.

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