I Call the Bottom

by francine Hardaway on October 29, 2008

I have no special expertise to call a bottom, I’ve just been around long enough to know one when I see one.

A bottom is when I start cooking at home after twenty years of eating out. I’ve discovered anything can be sauteed in olive oil and garlic and taste good.

A bottom is when people start calling to ask if they can meet with me and “pick my brain.” I have a big cyber-rolodex, so when someone is looking for a job, or their kid is, or their wife is, I’m a common stop on the journey. I haven’t heard of someone hiring in months, except my friend Mark who needs a laborer for his truss plant (but only to complete the job he is currently fabricating).

A bottom is when I start thinking that when my car lease is up, I’ll get a hybrid because I’m over cars.

A bottom is when I quit replacing items in my wardrobe that I no longer “like” and begin wearing jeans and a shirt every day, assuring myself that every professional woman dresses like this today.

A bottom is when I know all the news in advance.

So we are at the bottom. Now what?

We wait. This isn’t going to sound good if you are looking for a job. But no one will hire you between now and January 1 anyway, because we all go on Christmas break in another week or so, even if we don’t admit it. And for the next week, we’re all paralyzed waiting to hear who the president will be (as if he could do something about all this anyway).

We meditate, go to the gym, and practice yoga, letting go of attachments that cause us suffering: money, cars, houses. We use the time to get in shape for what will come in the future.

We rediscover our families, even the ones we don’t like, because we may have to either move in with them or take them in some time in the near future. We learn that there’s a reason extended families work so well in developing countries.

We don’t bother feeling depressed, guilty, angry, deprived, or upset, because those don’t do a damned bit of good. A global meltdown isn’t the fault of any one individual who could have done it differently (not bought the house with the teaser-rate mortgage, for example).

And we don’t blame the rich, the poor, the Democrats, the Republicans, the war in Iraq, the racists, the socialists, the bankers, the Wall Streeters, the mortgage brokers, or our spouses.

We sure don’t kick the dog. We curl up with him and learn to live in the moment.

Because it WILL turn around. Not until after the election, and not until after the first of the year, but it WILL turn around. It always does.

What will we have learned?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly Roy October 29, 2008 at 11:53 am

I wish I could say we learn from our mistakes and we will change our ways by buying only what we need, not what we want, supporting local businesses at every opportunity, taking time to understand what we are signing- really people, living within our means- again, really people.

One example to track our true desire for change will be the longevity of interest in alternative energy now that gas prices are coming down “to normal” will we just jump right back in our cars at every opportunity?

Like all change, its not easy and even harder to sustain, I just hope we are all in it for the long haul- because its going to be a long haul.

markschulz October 29, 2008 at 11:57 am

helpful perspective & funny timing. Yesterday, my parter & I went out to lunch as we usually do and the waiter said, “What would you like to drink?” Partner thinks about it and says “Water.” Waiter looks at me. “Yeah, water too.” We laughed. It’s a small thing, but a sign of shifting perspective as we start mentally preparing for whatever is ahead of us.

francine hardaway October 29, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Small changes can bring about a revolution.

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