Monday, September 26, 2011

Global Angst


Before I launched the fashion juggernaut I was a bit pre-occupied with a feeling of mental sloth and overall ennui. Now that I've come down off my fashion crack high it’s occurred to me that much of what is manifesting itself in the blogosphere as ‘taking a break or walking away from blogging for awhile’ is a microcosm of an infinitely larger issue. Maybe it’s not me making me feel bad. Could it be a global angst brought on by the growing negativity we’re confronted with every day? I’ve adapted to my loss of a job and the fact that it’s not just me but the entire state of Oregon. But then I have to accept that it is not just me, my city, or my state, it is the entire United States with bipartisan bickering over our debt ceiling, downgrading our bond ratings, and no jobs growth in the most recent month. Suddenly, the terrain feels much more precarious. But still, I persevere and believe that it will be all right because inevitably it always has been. I have not lived through a depression or a world war. The only memories I have of economic anomaly is my mother piling us into the station wagon when it was our ‘day’ to but gasoline in the late 70s and the mini-jobs bust when I graduated from college in 1983—meaning there were no companies recruiting on campus and I went to work in a department store for 2.75 an hour.

But it doesn’t stop with the U.S. Greece teeters on the brink of default, young people riot in London for 5 days, Ireland, Italy, and Spain face economic ruin, and Germany is faced with bailing out the entire European Union. Libya and Syria are in the midst of violent political upheaval. Climate change continues unabated and several beautiful species are on the brink of extinction (no more Bengal tigers? How can that be?).

It could be said that the world has always been chaotic but as I wasn’t around for the Dark Ages it’s irrelevant. In my adult lifetime I don’t remember this level of upheaval. It leaves me wondering: how do we find the good in our own lives when the levels of anger, fear, and frustration are at an all-time global high? Fear is a contagion and it seems to be spreading. The individual psyche is impacted as we absorb everything around us whether consciously or unconsciously. Is it any wonder that the urge to check out/back away/ignore/take a break in our own lives is increasing? The other extreme is uncontrolled anger and violence which we’ve seen recently in the riots in London, Syria, Spain, and Libya. People feel they’re being pushed beyond a point they can bear and it’s largely due to economic issues.

I know my own ways around this and hesitate to write such a negative post but it feels more and more pervasive. Yes, I can enjoy the simplicity of my life, a stray ray of sunshine warming my back in between burst of rain but at the edge lingers unease. I must try to find the stillness, I must work to release the knot of fear over my own situation. Feeling good seems to take more and more energy as the sheer weight of the uncertainty of the future grinds us down. I know I have readers in other countries- do things feel as bad where you are? If you are somewhere that is in the midst of difficult times or you are even experiencing it in your own life how do you feel?

Many more questions than answers but I can’t stop asking…

6 comments:

Sydney Shop Girl said...

Catherine
Great post. Dark but true.

There are worries all across the world right now. The global economy is truly that and we are all interdependent on each other.

Here we look not just to the US and European economies but also China, one of Australia's largest trading partners.

Previously invincible, it appears that China's rate of economic growth will not be the double digits everyone wants it to be so 'save' the rest of the world financially. Global demand cannot meet China's production capacity in the current climate and internally, there is still a huge number of poorer people who cannot meet the lost demand from other countries.

Gee that was deep on 3 hours sleep.

Hope it made sense. And is at least based on truth...

SSG xxx

Sydney Shop Girl blog

Catherine said...

Thanks for the great comments, SSG, especially on so little sleep. I knew I could count on my Aussie readers! I've been reading that another issue in China is its own labor force- employees want to be paid more, taking away the cheap labor they've capitalized on for so long.

I was nervous to post somthing less upbeat but it affects all of us.

tweedlibrarian said...

I think there is an existential angst going on right now. I have a great job but I always use the caveat "at the moment" because some MBA could get rid of us librarians in a snap because "everything's online." Legal work is already being outsourced to India. Eventually they'll demand better pay, too.

Where does it stop? I don't actually believe there are enough JOBS WITH BENEFITS out there. Yes, you can create your own consulting business but in the US, you're not guaranteed health care.

I personally try not to spend too much time listening to or reading negative news. Yes, things are bad, but the news machine has no interest in telling us good news. It just doesn't sell. On a walk down Hawthorne today, Todd and I saw 3 help wanted signs, which we haven't seen in a really long time. My realtor friend is making more money than she ever has, though she's working more hours. A new Sephora is opening downtown,, which shows some small economic progress. The news is bad, but I don't think it's all bad all the time.

I'm hopeful it's just a very slow process to getting back to better times. I realize it might be lots of ups and downs. I lived through some bad times in the late 80s in Houston when the oil boom crashed but things did get better, eventually.

I'm curious to hear from your other international readers, too.

Abby said...

My comment isn't going to be nearly as intelligent, but I'll agree there is a general sense of angst mostly due to economic uncertainty. For me, I defer to selfishly worrying only about myself (for the most part) and try not to obsess over the universal issues, as taken as a whole, they are entirely too daunting and overwhelming. It makes me want to crawl in a hole.

With that said, I focus paycheck to paycheck just hope that my situation will be enough to support me. I don't need riches, but rather just security in some sense. Looking past this week is too daunting, given the global uncertainty. Sigh.

Mila said...

Catherine, focus on the ray of sunshine on your back. Turn off the news. Find your stillness.

You will be okay.

Catherine said...

Mila, so glad to hear from you again and glad to know all is well.

I'm just trying to find balance as I don't want to be completely uninformed.

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