Putting things into perspective

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On more than one occasion, I get all hung up on my deadlines, my responsibilities, and my perceived importance in the world.

During these times, which number in the “many” category, you could find me doing one of the following: freaking out, crying, freaking out some more, feeling sorry for myself, getting mad, getting even and singing along with bad disco songs at ridiculous levels.

I have finally reached that point in adulthood I thought I never would. That point where the evening news (and morning news and midday news and pretty much all the news in between — just ticks me off).

It seems all we have are ceaseless reminders that as bad as things seem now, they are going to get much, much worse.

Prices are rising while values are falling. Investment statements are likely worth more as kindling than any real barometer of your retirement fund.

It’s starting to feel almost impossible to be able to afford to drive to work — if you have a job.

News

At dinner, I was reading the daily newspaper (I know, it’s a bad habit this reading during dinner — what ever happened to conversations?).

I, however, am weak and unable to resist hard-hitting “news” articles such as “Gas is expensive!,” and helpful advice we can’t get anywhere else such as “Combine errands to save fuel.”

Amidst this I read that despite the crashing housing markets we should generally be prepared to see our property taxes rise.

Apparently, if you hope to sell your house for anything approaching a decent value you should forget calling a real estate agent and just market it to the taxman first.

Mind you, if I get tired of worrying about my finances I can hyperventilate over health for a while. Will too much exposure to plastics cause cancer? Will too little exposure to sunscreen do the same? Is the sun good for me today or bad?

On one hand I read that sunlight helps cure depression. On the flip side, it definitely causes skin cancer, which is kind of a downer.

Speaking of a housing crisis, if you live in an old home the lead paint and rampant energy inefficiency is, apparently, going to ruin you. If you live in a new home it’s the off gassing from the chemicals in the plywood, paint and carpets combined with hermetically sealed windows that will do you in.

I can only surmise that if you live in an old home but add new paint, carpet and windows you probably won’t make it through to the end of this column.

Hope

It’s so easy to get lured into thinking there is no hope. So tempting to believe the good old days are all behind us now. Life is just a struggle to get by.

Sometimes, I just need something other than a large metal object to fall from the sky and knock some perspective into me. So here is some perspective.

Our ancestors (and some of us) survived the Great Depression. They survived world wars. They survived the 1970s. For that last one which I dimly remember, we lined up for gas, paid too much for everything, and put on sweaters — and solar panels, too.

Remember: with disco all things are possible.

Believe

It will be okay. I believe this. Our paths may not go the way we thought. Dreamt. Planned. Yet, I truly believe that for most of us we will hold on, make do, make changes, roll with the punches (and yes, there are punches) and focus on what really matters while letting the “stuff” fall away.

Sure, tighter belts may pinch a little but there’s a certain pride in being able to tighten too. As you do so, be kind to those who are struggling. There but for the grace of God go you and I (or yours and mine).

Let’s remind ourselves that you do not have to own a house to make a home. If you have a home, however humble, be it rented or owned, fill it with love and dreams and laughter. Even the smallest house can hold the greatest love.

It is the size of the family’s heart — not the family room — that matters.

Finally, if you have people you love who love you back — you are rich. And if you continue to have hope for a brighter tomorrow — you are blessed.

 
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt believes in brighter tomorrows. She welcomes comments c/o lifeoutloud@comcast.net; P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460; or http://http://kymberly.typepad.com/life.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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