Monday, August 9, 2010

How has the Great Recession changed your life?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 1:50 PM

I've noticed a few things about the Great Recession that make me smile, which probably seems like an odd thing to say about a serious economic downturn. All the same, I'm happy to see people gardening again. It also makes me happy when I hear people talk about reusing something old instead of buying something new, or even repurposing something old to create something new. Plus, I've noticed people are walking more and driving less. And, instead of an expensive night on the town, hanging out on the porch is back in style. Instead of eating out, we're cooking — and the food tastes much better, is better for us and it feels better going down, too, because we made it ourselves. We've dusted off all those board games and started using our poker table again. And, if I'm lucky, I might even be able to get a regular game of Spades going. (Who wants to play?)

The Great Recession sucks in many varied and painful ways, but the upside is we, as a society, are beginning to realize that we don't need most of the stuff that fills our homes. In fact, we don't actually need all that much stuff to survive. The rest is stuff we want and can live without.

Life isn't about stuff, y'all. Life is about living, and living isn't as expensive as we decided it should be in the decade of frenzied spending that immediately preceded the Great Recession.

The New York Times broached the topic last week:

Our nostalgia for the Depression speaks volumes about how we feel not just about the past but also about our lives today. A craving for a simpler, slower, more centered life, one less consumed by the soul-emptying crush of getting and spending, runs deep within our culture right now. It was born of the boom, and not just because of the materialism of that era but also because of the work it took then to keep a family afloat, at a time of rising home prices and health care costs, frozen real wages and the pressures of an ever-widening income gap. As the recent Rockefeller report showed, for most families the miseries of the Great Recession don’t represent a break from the recent past, just a significant worsening of the stresses they’ve been under for years and years.

Read the rest of this article, by Judith Warner, here.

How has the Great Recession changed the way things are done in your house?

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