The cycle of life becomes more apparent as one experiences it over and over again.
There were times in recent years when it seemed easier to discard the old and buy new. That was when our personal economy created plenty of money but consumed our time. It was easier to eat out and buy stuff instead of mending what we had and cooking leftovers. It was not so much conspicuous consumption, as it seemed to be the best use of very scarce time.
Now that we march to the beat of a different drummer, we have time to plan and freedom to choose what we will or will not do. Our income is less than in the frantic years of 60 hour weeks and interminable conference calls, but the freedom to choose more than makes up for the apparent loss of income.
The wonderful thing about mass production and the industry that creates it is the amount of money that flows through the enterprise. If you are in the right spot, you can scoop up enough of it to almost make up for the fact that you are an interchangeable unit in a very large machine. You are a cog in the machinery, but a very well paid one at times.
You ponder the wisdom of your choices every day during your long commutes to and from work…
Once you enter the post corporate world, either through choice or through being laid off, your lifestyle undergoes many changes. You have more time than money and you can still make things go right if you cast off your old wasteful ways.
You can learn to shop more wisely and you will find bargains that you never encountered when you were madly running in place to keep your position and your sanity while living the corporate life.
You also learn to use the wisdom of others who have learned the lessons of surviving on a "less than average" income. You may find to your surprise that you discover some great recipies and some highly satisfying learning experiences that can be enjoyed on your new income level.
You will also come up with innovative ways of improving your situation in life and making a living in a depressed economy. It is all a matter of adjusting your viewpoint and confronting the situation you are facing rather than bemoaning the situation you used to enjoy.
There is always money to be made if you bother to find out what people need and want that you can provide.
As a contractor friend once told me, "We’ll always survive. In good times, we build houses. In bad times, we repair them."
This philosophy is applicable to the housing-related field of custom picture framing. I am finding unexpected opportunities in what is generally considered to be a down market.
The economy will recover again and businesses that can survive in a tough economy will be in a better position to move out smartly when business improves. A lot of small business owners are sharpening their skills in these hard times.
It will be most interesting to see how business models evolve during these next few years.