Saturday, January 30

Standing Back Up After A Life Crash

Did This Happen To Your Life?Is this what happened to your life during the recent financial crisis? No, I'm afraid I'm not being funny. Many millions of families have been and continue to live through incredible turmoil.

While this current crisis didn't slam me into a wall I have been there. This is why people are searching for topics in this blog so often. Notably, stealth living and stealth van living both show up in my traffic reports as common queries. Also, posts about extremely frugal meals are in much higher demand than they once were.

With that as the backdrop I want to talk about something a little bit more optimistic. Apparently, according to the economic numbers, we are at or near bottom with respect to unemployment. Yes, this is optimistic, because it means the next direction is up. More and more people will be able to find jobs, find self-esteem, feed their families, and rebuild their hopes and dreams for their children one step at a time.

What I want to talk about is the process of standing back up.

You see, what I notice a lot these days is anger. People are mad at what has happened to them -- which is understandable. However, if you spend any time watching the news, reading blogs, or following financial sites you will see that many people are flailing about for someone to blame. They are convinced that the financial system must be completely crooked. They are convinced the stock markets must be fixed. They are convinced that someone is at fault for their ills.

After all, surely nothing other than criminals and a huge conspiracy to fleece the public must be behind their downfall.

I'm sorry, but that's not how it is. Sure, bad decisions were made. There are plenty of things that were done poorly, by many different players, but we have to recognize that bad things happen to good people sometimes. There isn't always someone to blame. This is true both for natural disasters as well as for man-made disasters. It's not on purpose. It's something that we all got caught in.

Why I am focusing on this?

Those people who have suffered through no fault of their own, and are casting about for someone or something to blame, who are so negative and jaded, are broken. Life sucks. The world is out to get them. Everybody is a crook. They'll never be taken in again because there is nothing they will ever trust!

How in the world can somebody with this viewpoint begin to fit into society productively? You can't expect to be hired, to spread your misery and discontent, to wreak havoc on the motivation and productivity of your peers while you are in this state.

I'm serious. Blatant pessimism, dejection, hostility and depression are not hallmarks of successful job applicants. Would you hire someone in this state? If you are single would you let someone in this state into your life?

If you are one of these disaffected people I do have some advice. Speaking from experience I can tell you that as long as you continue to have food and shelter then there are many good things to reflect on. Focus on the good aspects of what you do still have in your life not the lack of things you used to have.

I know it's easy to say "so what" and dismiss the simple things but they are always there. Most of us have forgotten that we can enjoy them.

Fresh clean snow. Crisp cool air. Colorful leaves on trees. A big full moon. A left over newspaper with all of its sections. The return of grass and leaves in the spring. A good blog. A scenic vista and the time to enjoy it. Home cooked healthy frugal food. Exercise and the benefits of it.

I don't know what brings you pleasure and relaxation. I do know it's hard to give up the bitterness that comes from a life crash. However, to get back into the groove, to re-enter the race, you need to find a way to stop focusing on how unhappy you are and instead focus on the positives that are still available to you. All the rest? Let it go.

It's hard. It's damned hard. It's also one of the most important thing you can do to let yourself be swept up by the pending recovery. Don't let yourself push opportunity away... be ready to accept it.

Sunday, January 10

The Cheese Is Old And Moldy

Yummy CheeseWell, no, it isn't really.

However, while thinking about writing this post I was reminded of a couple Brendan Fraser movies. One is Encino Man. In this movie Brendan's character avoids a fight by suggesting that the cheese is old and moldy. However, this isn't what snapped to mind right away. What came to mind first was A Blast From the Past.

At this point, both of these items are in fact a blast from the past. The only real connection between these items is the non-sequitur they express by having characters so out of their element and yet finding a way to excel anyhow.

So, back to the cheese. You see, the last time I was shopping for cheese, it was on sale. I bought plenty of it, carefully checking the best before dates, and loaded it into our fridge. Sadly, a few moments ago, while making a nice toasted turkey sandwich I noticed that it is almost gone.

The moral of the story? The cheese is not old and moldy. I should have bought even more than I did. Also, I seem to be a sucker for silly movies -- especially ones where the hero succeeds against all odds.

Was this post too cheesy?

Sunday, January 3

Early Resolution Progress

Progress Already!I'm pleased to report some good progress on two of my New Years resolutions (see last post). Since not much time has passed I obviously haven't gotten in shape yet!

Where things have been moving is in positive communication and putting work into my pet projects.

In fact, Grokodile (a pet project) is now a community mashup. Each city will hold blogs, businesses, local videos, local tweets as well as a few other regionally significant items. Go find your own community, wait a moment or two, hit reload, and you'll see what I mean.

The odds are good that your own community won't have videos or tweets when you first arrive... but upon visiting the system will know it needs to go and fetch something. So, it does.

On the frugal front, Frugal Mom decided to make some homemade soup. I think it's the first time she did this. We boiled up a chicken carcass, removed anything that wasn't water or meat, then added vegetables and even a bit of pasta. I have it on good authority that it's tasty -- though I missed the first serving.

I'm looking forward to trying it.

Friday, January 1

Happy Frugal 2010

Scrooge McDuckIt's that time of year again. It's time to do some introspection, figure out what you do well, what you could do better, and then find the resolve to set some new goals.

Oh, oh. My improvement list is a bit longer than I'd like this year! In my own defense the trials and tribulations of raising a little one might have something to do with this...

Terrible Two'sMy resolutions will not be frugal related this year. I'm pretty happy with how that aspect of things is going. Instead, I think I'll focus on:

    - finding more positive ways to talk about
       work and home issues.
    - eating better and getting back in shape.
    - putting more time and effort into this
       blog and my blog directory.
The latter two goals are going to be a challenge! I have to find a way to generate the needed energy after work and family responsibilities have been looked after -- and I think exercise might be just the ticket.

Note: if you've posted resolutions please leave a comment and link to them so that I can read them.