Friday, September 26, 2008

Making Do

With the uncertainty in the financial sector of the World, I find, when I shop, there is little else people talk about.
I shop in small, locally owned markets. Opinions are rife with apprehension, amongst the shoppers. The apprehension shows in their purchases, as well...people seem to be keeping their monies close to their chests.
I stood next in line to an older lady, the other day. And, as an aside to the debate swirling around us, she said...It feels like I've been here before.
My mind on the opinions being expressed by the two gentlemen ahead of me, I managed a distracted...Oh?
She leaned closer to me and in a low tone she said...Yes.  It feels like the thirties. We didn't know it was happening until it happened.
My attention captivated, I turned to her. She said...There were six of us kids.  My Dad brought us all together, explained there was no more money, and that we would have to make do with what we had.
She shrugged...I was young, I didn't understand why way back then.  All I knew was, it happened so quickly. It seemed like one day I had a surprise from the City now and then...and then there were no more.  For a long time.
By now, the rest of the shoppers in the small store were listening, their fearful expectations of a coming financial catastrophe put aside for the moment.

Her voice still low, her eyes focused far off in some distant time, she said...We grew our own food, mostly. I don't remember going hungry, I never worried about that.  It could be my parents did...she laughed...But us kids were more worried about the toys we were sure other kids had in abundance.

My Dad, she said...My Dad told us just because we wanted something didn't mean we needed it.
She smiled...I've remembered that all my life.
As I paid for my purchases, I thanked her for her story, and asked if I could write about some of it. She waved her hand at me and said...It's not an unusual story...everybody who went through those times has one just like it!
Humans are resourceful and creative...she said...Now if we could just get rid of the Greed. We had to find ways to use and reuse some things. But, you'll see, we'll all make it through, just as we had to back then...
I pondered over her story, on my way home.  I'd told her my granddaughter had told me the same I need an object, or only desire it...years ago.  And I'd said it was surprising how such a simple question could have such impact, during financial stress.

It is difficult sometimes to live up to that old saying. In good times, it is easy to indulge myself, to buy some item which is not necessary for survival.  But in uncertain takes the worry over a purchase away. It gives perspective.

Just as the other old saying I'm hearing a lot these days does...Use and Reuse. And another lady told me the other day if she bought the item she was contemplating, she would have to choose what to give away from the items she already owned. 

In the end, she walked away,without buying, with a rueful grin.
I like what I have, she said...I can't figure out what to discard...
I returned my item as well.

After all, I only desired those sheets...I didn't need them. The sheets I had still had another season left...I couldn't have thrown them out...or even justify using them as dust cloths.  Not yet.

With so much uncertainty in the World, I find it feels so much better to make do with the items I already own.

Making times like these, it takes a little of the fear of economic troubles away.


  1. George W. Bush has not only wrecked the United States economy he has diluted confidence around the globe. That, in short, is the cause of the problems we're all experiencing. If John McCain is elected this will look like a picnic.

    I should also mention, I stumbled by to give you a thumbs up on StumbleUpon. {my page}

  2. The hard thing about choices like yours is that if you had bought the sheets, you would have been passing money on to the person who sold them and indirectly, to the people who made them and the farmer who grew the fiber and everyone who worked for him or from whom he purchased the things he needed to grow it. There is a line somewhere between saving money and contributing to commerce and I have yet to figure out where that line is. Sometimes, as a massage therapist, I am on sone side of it and at times as a consumer I am on the other side.

  3. Kilroy,

    Thanks for the thumbs up! I'll agree with your comment and I truly hope the financial crisis settles down. But I fear we are all in for a downturn in our finances for awhile.


    You've hit the nail on the head. Sometimes, as I browse through small local stores, I will buy an object I don't need, in order to support the business.

    I have trouble walking out the door empty-handed, especially if the store is struggling. I can feel the desperation from some owners. So I do what I can.

    In my case, it would be the extra sweater or two or three...ones I love and desire...that I would like to purchase. The brakes are put on when I remember the sweaters hanging in my closet.

    Before any more sweaters are bought, I will wear the others out.

    You've heard it here, lol!

  4. This strikes a chord as on the way home from work I thought about stopping for fast food. I thought of the economy and reconsidered. These days I worry a lots. What little money I have a stake in the markets will probably evaporate if we keep this up and down going. I worry about health insurance and how would I make it. The lessons my mom learned during the Great Depression are foreign ones to me.

    Ironically, my new job is in the midst of food and plenty. By that I mean I work now at a nonprofit serving needy seniors and families with children. I have made numerous calls and so far there is a generous outpouring of help for our families. I wonder when that might evaporate.

    Sorry to ramble but I loved your post today and wished I had time to think a bit more to sound half way intelligent.

  5. The power of contentment is a form of real power. Thanks for your mindful post!

  6. Yes, making do with what you have does take some of the fear and discomfort out of these uncertain times. It gives us the opportunity to use what we have and the events thats do get us something we want gives us the true meaning of dreams coming true. It may be uncomfortable times but the lesson is invaluable.

    Thanks for the post

  7. Sheila,

    You always sound intelligent! I know how busy you are and I appreciate your comments very much.

    Many people would share what they had, during the Depression. Donations may not be as plentiful; I still believe most will try and give something.

    And fast food? Probably not good for you anyway, lol!


    Ahh...contentment. It is indeed powerful. And can be difficult to come by!

  8. Financial affairs have worsened still further since you wrote this. I think the times ahead are going to give all reason to question the way we behave - and the importance we place on material comforts.

  9. What an awesome and insightful post.

  10. Our economy in England is in a bad state too as the credit crunch bites Marion. Make do and mend has become a common expression here as everybody struggles to make ends meet. We're all hoping things will settle down soon.