Yep, it seems like things are perking up, at least locally in my world. I see people returning to restaurants and there’s a lot to traffic around my local strip malls. I’m also getting some activity job wise. I don’t have a job yet, but at least I’m now getting some promising phone calls and e-mails from actual companies instead of hungry head hunters.
I’ve been discussing the matter of optimism with friends, family, and acquaintances and we all agree that if we believe things are getting better, then we will act like things are getting better. If a whole bunch of people start to believe and act this way, then things will improve. Basically, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy. So let’s be optimistic! At the same time we need to temper our optimism with reality and pragmatism. I would hate to see ourselves in a spending frenzy that leads into another bubble-bust cycle. I think, though, we as a people have learned a lot from the boom of the last 25 -30-years and the bust of the last 2-years. The old saying “if it looks too good be true, it probably is” has been reinforced. Also, I think sudden poverty has taught a bunch of us spoiled folks that we need to save and that we are not entitled to stuff and jobs by virtue of education and our parent’s middle class social and financial standing. On the flip-side, I think we all woke up to the reality that middle class people are not “rich” and that we can become quite vulnerable within a day. I think the gap in wealth and power between the middle class and wealthy was made very clear in the last year, and as such, has put a lot of middle-class people in their “place.”
I think this bust has brought back a powerful spirit of America and what it means to be “American.” We aren’t islands onto ourselves and sometimes we have to share for the common good. I must say, even though times are tough, the progress we are making to become better people, improve our country’s infrastructure, and be better world citizens makes me feel proud to be an American. I am inspired by our perseverance and our inventiveness. I do believe the US will rise out of the mess stronger, more benevolent, and more respected than it’s ever been and I look forward to the changes ahead in the next few decades.