Uncertain socioeconomic times leave many struggling to stay afloat. No jobs, no discretionary income and no apparent light at the end of the tunnel. What do you do? Where do you turn? Yoga? Dance? Being outdoors? Yes, yes, and yes. It’s remarkable to see how during such a rigorous economic downturn there are still people out and about everywhere I turn. Cafes bustle with hungry crowds of casually dressed people. I see people walking at a leisurely pace shopping and lunching. Afternoon yoga classes are more crowded and even Runyon Canyon is more packed than usual. Normally I wouldn’t think twice; however this type of suspicious activity caught my attention because it occurs during prime afternoon work hours on a Monday or a Tuesday or a Wednesday or a Thursday! What the heck is going on here?
I stopped to think about this one. Luckily, thinking comes easily to me. Either people aren’t working at all or they are working less and at a much slower pace. How European. If less people are working full time, that means they have more time to do other things. This is precisely what is happening. Summer time in LA is always busy, but I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen it this busy during the workweek. Did I not get the memo or something, because apparently the overworked, overstressed, underpaid and now the underemployed decided to just say “Oh screw it!” The majority opinion changed drastically from “work hard, save your earnings” to “enjoy what you have today, ‘cuz that might be all you get.” I look at this situation as a resting period; it’s hibernation of America’s workforce. People need rest. They need entertainment. They need something positive in their lives amidst all this chaos. Now that there is more time during their day, people are more willing to dip into their savings to enjoy their hobbies. The overworked are stocking up on their well deserved rest. So when we do experience the big economic boom we’ve all been waiting for, we are refreshed and ready. There is something to this philosophy. America is a country where you work hard for what you earn, but these days it doesn’t matter so much how hard you work or how hard you try because ultimately keeping your head above water is for all intents and purposes impossible.
Could these distressful economic times teach us a valuable lesson, a lesson that Europe already learned long ago? When the future is uncertain, what are you left with but the present moment? Yesterday is history. The moment has passed. Tomorrow is a mystery and isn’t promised. The only option available is to make the most of the present situation and that isn’t necessarily such a bad thing after all.
Saturday, 16 July 2011