Whew! Well, folks they say we've made it -- that the economy is improving, that consumers feel more confident and are spending a bit more, and that this is the year we'll see some job creation. But what did the last 18 months do to us?
I remember the first week in October 2008 like it was yesterday. I was sitting in a big, beautiful house in Folly Beach, S.C. with the sound of the ocean in the background and my family around me, together from three different states for a week of rest and relaxation. My brother-in-law and I sat side by side with our laptops at the kitchen counter most mornings. He works in finance, and I looked over at him on Wednesday of that week and said something like, "This banking stuff seems like a pretty big deal."
Wow, that was the understatement of the decade. I have been in a constant state of near panic since that week, and I know most of you are in the same boat.
This recession took its toll on all of us. People not only lost jobs and homes, but much more. There were relationships lost (what chance do you stand with that level of daily stress for so many months in a row?), confidence lost, retirement funds lost, happiness lost, and security lost. How are we supposed to recover from that? What are the lingering effects?
I recently wondered out loud (via Twitter actually) if recession-induced post-traumatic stress disorder may be a viable defense in the courts. I mean, don't you think a few misdemeanors could be chalked up to what we've all been through? If I drive over to a client's office and throw a brick through their window because they're 90 days overdue on an invoice? If I snap and rear-end someone in traffic and then scream obscenities when he or she doesn't use his or her turn signal?
Could it also be a condition where Xanax and massages are prescribed and covered by insurance? Could liquor purchases be written off as tax deductions? (Hoping, hoping, hoping.)
Alas, none of these things will come true any time soon, but I think they should, or something close anyway. Our collective stress over the economy and our futures is far more of a pandemic than H1N1 ever was. It's going to take a long time to get over this one folks; we'll feel the sting for many years. The new super panic we've come to know and hate when rumors of layoffs hit the water cooler chat. The paralyzing fear of opening the business section of the newspaper because you can't stomach what's there. I, for one, say we deserve something for these new ailments and conditions. It's just not fair to survive this roller coaster from hell we've been on without some reward or some form of compensation!
Call your congressmen and let them know you want legislation introduced to address this bullshit. (They would welcome something to take the spotlight off the health care resolution anyway.) Only California has taken a step in the right direction by putting the legalization of recreational marijuana use on the November ballot. That's a start, but I want more. I bet you do, too.