In 32 years I’ve had my share of experiences, good, bad, exciting, heartbreaking and so on and so forth. These pretty brown eyes have seen their share of life’s moments that will stay with me forever. But at no other point in my life have I ever felt like I was a part of a life altering “event” or such a surreal time in my life that every morning that I wake up I have to remind myself that…”yes, this is really happening.”
I watched a news broadcast recently and they were asking children, “what does recession mean to you?” Several of the children struggled to find the right words while some of them obviously regurgitated what they’d heard from their parents at home. But as the report continued it dawned on me that my own definition of what a recession is has changed over the last five months.
A recession, in my eyes, used to be a period in time when people were struggling and couldn’t be as excessive in their spending habits as they once were. Perhaps one or two companies would go out of business and my parents taxes were going to rise. Admittedly my awareness was limited, thanks to a voluntary ignorance policy that could best be defined as, “it’s not my problem. Someone else will figure it out.”
That was then.
Today if that reporter came to me and asked, “what does recession meant to you?” my answer would be simple. It may be harsh, maybe a little too real, but it’d be simple. Today, recession means that after ten years of a false sense of security someone finally pulled the rug out from under my feet. It means that along with millions of other people, I have to figure out a way…a legal way to make a safe home for my wife and child. Recession means that my patience, my resilience, my pride, confidence and spirit will all be tested on a daily basis. It also means that for years whenever I thought I was afraid of something, I was wrong. Recession means fear unlike anything the boogeyman or the shadow in the closet could ever evoke.
“Is this really happening?” I ask myself every morning. Life experiences are responsible for shaping us into the people we can be and will be. But every so often there comes an experience that we could have never imagined and we watch as it changes us, our families, and our lives right before our eyes. It becomes that moment that you used to sit around and talk about with friends. It’s that moment that you used to say, “I don’t know what I’d do if I were in that position.” It’s that moment, that hero moment that will ultimately define you and your legacy, that moment that knocks you on your ass and kicks you while you’re down there. It’s that moment that despite the pain, despite how tired you are, you stand up again, not because you want to, but because you have to.
And that’s what recession means to me.