We humans love having an escape route at all times. It allows us to get out of situations that could become uncomfortable, or leaves us the option of changing pour minds without feeling shamefaced. Such escape routes are often vague and poorly defined notions and yet they do the trick when used.
The latest one is recession. Today everything is being validated by the simple use of the word recession. Even those who do not quite know what it means manage to hurl the word at your face in sometimes quite ludicrous ways. I am not in anyway suggesting that things are tickety-boo and that all is well around us. Far from that.
My heart goes out to those who have got pink slips and those living with the fear of losing their jobs. I understand the despair of those who gambled on the stock markets and lost. I feel the pain of those unable to pay their mortgages and who live with the fear of seeing themselves without a roof on their heads. These are real situations. What I am referring to is the unreal ones where people use recession as a possible escape route for the future; when people bluntly tell you that they may not be able to meet their paltry commitments in the future because of recession. What irks me no end is the general attitude of gloom that we all sink in rather than try and analyse why things turned from bad to worse, why we did not see it coming, and above all whether we are responsible for them in anyway. No we simply seem to be grateful for having found a way to explain our own inadequacies.
I was horrified when some time back I heard a young couple take a huge loan to go on holiday to some exotic destination. Both had landed themselves grossly overpaid jobs and though they were still on probation but the hubris was such, that they felt secure and safe. I would have thought that the collapse of things would have got us to soul search and redefine our lives rather than hold our heads and mumble the word recession ad nauseum. I would also have liked to hope that the situation we all find ourselves in would have made us look at life through different glasses and retrieve the lost values that withstand the test of times for the crisis we face is a moral one.
If we think about it, what is it that sends us chasing impossible dreams: a feeling of emptiness that we need to fill. For the past decades we have been trying to fill it with material things and our greed was such that we did not see the writing on the wall and the debt trap we were getting caught in. When the house of cards came tumbling down we were again faced with a huge void.
It is time to fill this void and this time to do it wisely. Perhaps it is time to assess what our needs are and ensure that we do not confuse them with our wants. And then if there is still a huge hole we need to fill, let us try and fill it with the right things, the ones that withstand all storms. I am not pontificating. There was a time when I too sought escape routes and material pursuits to fill the gaping holes of my life. I was lucky to stop in time as I stumbled upon one who did not have the luxury to dream of wants or needs but simply held on to life: Manu. The rest is history. I had found the road to my grail and the way to fill all the holes in my life. I did not need any more escape routes.
So life in the times of recession means holding on to the dreams of many souls and ensure that they do not die.