Depression is Depressing

Man, oh man, are all of my old man's tales of the Great Depression coming around to haunt me! The only consolation is that everyone else is in the same boat, but is that something to be thankful for?

I know why it's called a "depression". You work your ass off and there's nothing there to show for it; the money is swallowed up before it even gets a chance to draw its first breath, and juggling basic expenses is becoming a rare art form. One is not allowed a simple sense of accomplishment when the paycheck is deposited in the bank, because it's already spent...

The secret of course is to keep smiling, because nothing lasts forever. Things will begin to improve somewhere down the line, and once again I must tell myself, "Things will be different next year!" But what about right now? What do you do when the bills are piling up and the pantry is getting emptier and emptier between trips to the supermarket? What's more important, food or heat? People shouldn't have to make choices like that, not when there are people carrying jewel-encrusted cell phones and dressing their little dogs in "Pawda". I'm seriously beginning to understand the reasoning behind the French Revolution.

In 1983 I was so broke that my mom's church left a bag of groceries on my front porch, everything Joel and I needed to have a simple Thanksgiving dinner. That gesture meant so much to me that through the years I've done the same thing for people I knew were hurting, not for Thanksgiving so much, but when they needed a little help just to survive. I think gestures like that are important and I intend to carry on with random acts of financial kindness when I can afford to do so. Not this year though. This year, charity starts at home.

And still the TV commercials try to assure us that the upcoming holidays will be business as usual. I'm not buying it. In fact, I'm not buying anything. Instead, our family has agreed to make the holidays fun and full of togetherness. If we can give our family anything this year, it's more love. And there's nothing depressing about that.