As I bask in the afterglow of the holidays, happy but tired (seems I work harder during the holidays than normal, what with the cooking, cleaning, and keeping visiting family members busy), I realize how my views on the “doom” of the economy have changed over the years.

When I first started to get a handle on the reality – and unsustainability – of our current situation, I thought Armageddon would happen within a matter of weeks, if not days. I remember the Christmas of 2010, looking sadly at my family thinking this was the last good holiday we would have (!).

I no longer feel that way. First I’ve come to realize that, while we’re all in for a rough ride ahead, it doesn’t have to be Mad Max and probably won’t. If you think back to the Great Depression, closing in on 90 years ago, even though times were hard, people still worked (25% unemployment means 75% still worked). What’s more, even though there was a great deal of suffering, people came together – as communities, as neighbors, and as families – and survived.

Do I think there’s going to be pain? Sure. Do I think our standard of living is going to take a rather large hit? Definitely. Do I think we’re in for a major shock as we adjust? Absolutely, especially since we’re not nearly as skilled or self-sufficient as people were during the last depression.

But that doesn’t mean we’re all going to be huddled around barrel fires with paint on our face and dune buggies parked around back. One of my core beliefs is that people are good, and I see this bear out every day.

So enjoy your holidays and take the time to appreciate the real treasures in your life: The people around you and the relationships that will allow you to survive and, ultimately, thrive no matter what comes our way.

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