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Doom and gloom

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the world it can seem that we are hurtling from one crisis to another. We can live in a better place and feel better about ourselves. This article explains how.

by Carole Railton frsa

What a year! Are we trembling in our boots, do we feel fearful and uncertain about what the future holds?

Even the weather has been erratic. Heat waves in countries like the UK, where it has never been seen before, and rains and storms in other places of the world. In the UK now, one sunny day then one rainy cold day, and chilling winds and rain predicted for next week. What is happening to our weather patterns and the seasons?

Even in Australia they had tropical downpours, floods and cyclones. The wettest weather for 100 years but this followed years of drought and water shortages. The dams were full and overflowing; the waterfalls were spectacular; the farmers were happy and the gardens a mass of flowers after their drenching. They say: “Every cloud has a silver lining”!

Ok, the money markets, repossessions, bankruptcy, tax, petrol, mortgage problems, everything keeps going up and up. We wonder how we are going to stretch our monthly pay to cover all this. How are you feeling, despair, and fear, anger that you work so hard and seem to be going backwards? People are losing their jobs and livelihoods because of the COVID-19 pandemic. More regulations keep us at home and prevent us from travelling, causing even more frustration in an already disrupted world.

In this world, we live for today and worry about paying for what we spend, tomorrow. The marketing people and advertisers present this as normal behaviour. It is normal for people to want a bigger house, and designer clothes. The economy is built on persuading us to spend to create more wealth for the government and large companies. We, in fact, got our priorities wrong and became the mad, bad consumers. Being at home and not needing some clothes and goods has taught us all a great deal about our spending behaviour.

This has all happened before in the UK. In the 70s there was the three- day week when petrol was rationed and people were struggling to feed their children. In the 80s mortgage interest was 15% and in the 90s there was a property crash but somehow, by tightening our belts and reducing our spending, most of us came through it. Let’s hope we can gain the momentum to climb out of this pandemic.

I see all this as circular - the weather patterns, the money markets. Once China and South East Asia were where the riches were. The West came next as manufacturing grew. Now it is turning full circle again.

The truth is that we have never had it so good. We are wealthier, healthier and more asset rich than any previous generation. We are better educated and have more options in where we live and work; we take more holidays and our lifestyle has improved tremendously.

Taking all this into account, why then are we not happy with our lot? The last decade has been one of greed and consumerism. People wanting bigger houses, cars, luxurious holidays and weekends away. Seniors have seen their children come to expect it as their right to have consumer goods with no thought of what effect this is having on the earth and the health of the next generation and their childrens’ expectations.

Now we are beginning to think again; we are taking more care of our world. Seniors have long known that things had to change; luckily, they are. More and more, we are learning about organic farming, protecting the earth and using less chemicals. Restrictions are being put in place to make our world safer and hopefully prolong the time we can enjoy it.

I can’t help thinking that we all deserve this blip we are now experiencing. It is the universe saying: “Hold on. Enough is enough”. It is a lesson we need to learn. We can’t have all this luxury without having to pay the price. By becoming a throw-away society with “live for today behaviour” we have become selfish and greedy.

How do we overcome all this? First, we have to look at ourselves. We need to get our finances in order and downsize everything including our spending habits and the need for more. We need to reconnect with the simpler things in life – a walk in the park, a holiday at home, gardening, cooking nutritious food. Making more time for relatives, children, friends and partners and becoming more ethical.

Second, we need to become less motivated by material possessions and look for fulfilment elsewhere. Seniors see the world changing. Now it is cool to care about the planet; spending less on the “simple pleasures” is becoming the norm.

Instead of spending more we are looking for new experiences and seeking to develop who we are, as a person. Making do with what we have and downsizing our lives can only lead to more contentment.

Third, it is important to do what is fulfilling rather than chasing more success. Live a gracious life and those around you will feel the benefits too. As seniors, in these uncertain times we are in a position to lead this and make the change.

Most of all trust, trust that life with adjustments is perfect as it is. If we live a more fulfilling life and give to ourselves and others then we will emerge as healthier, happier human beings. The sun will shine more often. The universe will smile on us and the earth will be a better place.

Photo: by Carole Railton (copyright) “Do we feel fearful and uncertain about what the future holds?”

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