I got an e-mail from my sister-in-law inviting me to unite forces with her to "cook up a storm" for our families and enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal together. I replied that I would be happy to, and that I do feel deep gratitude. So getting into the spirit of Thanksgiving seems appropriate. What I didn't share with her is that I'm not feeling much holiday cheer. How can I when so many people continue to lose their jobs and struggle to make ends meet?
Then, on my way to work the next morning, I listened to a Perspective by an attorney who lost his job, and how his life has changed. It brought tears to my eyes, and I felt deep sadness for him and his family and everyone else facing challenge. My tears were a reminder of what my husband and I went through a year ago. It was all too familiar, and I still vividly remember my feelings of anguish and distress. I don't think I'll ever forget that -- nor do I ever want to. And though we lost a significant amount of retirement savings and most of our income, had to downsize, getting rid of most of our stuff, we have been fortunate enough to be doing fine now.
Many others have lost their homes and don't even have enough money for food. We didn't have it as hard as so many others. Nonetheless, the experience taught us valuable lessons we'll never forget. We must live well below our means, keep a savings account, only buy things that are essential, pay for purchases with cash and never get into debt again. We buy things used when we can and generally lead a life of relative austerity.
So with Thanksgiving and the holidays approaching, my heart goes out to everyone still experiencing economic adversity. And though I can't help them, I wish to tell them that my thoughts are with them. And though I have nothing to offer them, I know what worked for us. Keep looking for new opportunities. Never give up. Live with compassion, love and gratitude even when everything seems so grim. Things will get better.
With a Perspective, I'm Amira Elgan.