Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reality Bites

To my lovely readers:

It has been a while since Recessionista wrote you, but as the Recession has taught us all, sometimes Life interrupts our plans. Thankfully, this Recessionista has been blessed professionally to continue to work in a stable industry, but personal challenges have reminded me again of the importance of perspective during trying times.

My grandmother, a woman who worked every day until she was 76 years old and finally retired, quite possibly might be the most inspiring person I know...and she is dying. She has lived a long and proper life, married for 62 years and counting, hosting Bridge club for many friends in the small town she has lived her entire life and fretting about what to get her grandchildren for their birthdays. Every weekend, she was up around 5 a.m., in the basement of her house grading her students' papers and sipping coffee, and back when I was quite excited to wake up at 5 a.m. and staying at her house, I would join her and chat (because, of course, at 7 years old, you think adults want to spend every waking moment with you, as you are clearly the most interesting person in the world.) She would send my sisters and I with my grandfather to the grocery store in the morning, making sure to instruct us that we should select any donut we liked for breakfast (ahh, remember the time of life where we could eat donuts without adding an extra half hour to our treadmill time? Sigh.) She was insistent on taking my sisters and I on trips during the summer, trips turned into memories that I will always treasure.

Elizabeth Brieman, Betty to those who knew her well (but always "Elizabeth" to my grandpa), wanted to be a lawyer, but had to give up her dream when World War II hit. She became a teacher instead, but her love of learning and helping others by teaching birthed a natural support for the ambitions of her daughters and granddaughters. Unlike the grandparents or parents of my friends, she would pull me aside at Christmas and tell me how proud she was of any accomplishment, big or small, professionally and wouldn't dream of asking me when I was going to get married or have babies. She always smelled of Dove soap, and loved me even when I had a mullet which my mother thought would look great with the addition of a home perm.

She is a remarkable woman and my own personal idol. Her suffering and all the pain that accompanies this sort of thing reminds me how important gratitude and appreciation is in my life. All of us, even moments of tragedy, have blessings in our life that should be recognized and leaned up during our most painful moments. My Economist friends (they are really smart, let me tell you, being Ivy League Profs and all) tell me the Recession is coming to a close. Economic growth may be slow, and the real estate market will lag behind in bounce back, but the pendulum may soon swing in the direction that we all adore. Change, good and bad, has come upon us.

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