I am certain that many, many people will be glad to turn the page on 2009 and watch the twisted wreckage of this year settle into the sediments of history. Economic woes the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Depression have touched the lives of just about everyone, it seems. Friends and family have lost jobs, companies have downsized, retirements have been postponed and dreams put on hold. Add to this the typical litany of deaths, divorces, personal problems and other assorted mishaps and tragedies of a typical year and 2009 starts to looks pretty rough, indeed.
That said, I can't say it's been all bad, either. Frugality is the new chic, SUV sales are down and McMansions in the newest suburb look a little less toothsome these days. People are also more grateful for what they've got, based on what I have seen. I know offices that have had to put staff on furlough and effectively reduced their base compensation by as much as 24%, and while they don't like it one bit, those people are grateful to have a job at this point. The presumption of entitlement seems to be one of the victims of the recession, which is not all bad. On a personal note, I learned to slow down and appreciate the moment a little, as well.
I don't have my whole Thanksgiving Day toast thing ironed out just yet, but I think the theme of it is going to be appreciation for the lessons I have learned managing through the adversity of 2009, gratefulness that my friends and family fared as well as they did this year, and hopefulness that we actually learn something from the finance mess and carry these lessons into a future that is possibly a little smaller, but one hell of a lot smarter and just maybe a little more sustainable.