At a time when half of all the working adults in the U.S. say they have experienced some “work-related hardship” and more than 70% of those over the age of 40 say they’ve been somehow affected by the economic crisis, it is fair to say that the recession has left very few families untouched.
And with fewer dollars to spend on the things that pull us apart – video games, cable television, etc. – there is lots of talk about how we are once again embracing the simple joys of family life. Talking to one another, visiting the library together or just having a family game night. When you look at it like that, you might even say that the recession has been good for families.
But in an essay for the New York Time’s Magazine, Judith Warner says the warm fuzzy feeling we get when we put this positive spin on our financial hardships is just that: A spin.
Our nostalgia for the Depression speaks volumes about how we feel not just about the past but also about our lives today. A craving for a simpler, slower, more centered life, one less consumed by the soul-emptying crush of getting and spending, runs deep within our culture right now. It was born of the boom, and not just because of the materialism of that era but also because of the work it took then to keep a family afloat, at a time of rising home prices and health care costs, frozen real wages and the pressures of an ever-widening income gap.
She goes on to point out that for many of us, this so-called Great Recession isn’t no different from what we’ve dealing with for years. Only now it’s worse. And we have more company.
We say we want simpler lives and I think most of us really do. But when it comes as a result of financial hardships with a hefty dose of worry and stress, life is anything but simple. I personally don’t know a single family who would say that the recession has been good for them in any way. What about you? Has the bad economy brought your family closer together?
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