Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grato Per Questo Momento Nel Tempo

Venice recently experienced its highest level of flood waters in over 20 years. What are people to do? With everything under three feet of water and the level rising, people ill-prepared to handle the drastic lifestyle changes, and holiday shopping still left to finish?! How will we ever survive this?!?

We put on some wellies and continue to eat our baguettes....or whatever is Italian for baguette.

In light of the recent economic clusterfuck, things have been bad, especially in the academic arena. There are job freezes across the nation. My institution recently cut 20% of the budget, which is roughly $10 million. The humanities are getting hit hard, as the sciences are more "important", "imperative", other "imp" words. This is an awesome time to graduate from college with a degree in Comparative Literature!

Again, I must pause and say HOWEVER.

This is an opportunity for a shift in priorities. Like a good friend of mine said, "Well, now we don't have to worry about money, because there isn't any." Perhaps we won't spend our hard-earned (or easily-applied-for) money on ridiculous things like this. Maybe "quality over quantity" will creep into our consumer mindset. We might even reach out to each other, because we can't wade these waters alone. Community could be important. Sharing resources, ideas, love. Creating a support network out of the people you already know and trust and allowing yourself to let more people in.

And gratitude. Gratitude is the only positive emotion I can consistently recall. I am very lucky in that I don't know anyone at risk of losing their job, nor am I at risk to lose mine (that's mostly because I don't have one). I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world (views of the sunset over a blushing Mount Rainier are free). I still have my hearing and can enjoy musicmusicmusic. I still have my sight (although my glasses really do nothing for me, I need a new prescription). I can feel my heartbeat and the blood rush to my cheeks after rushing in from the cold Seattle snow. I can smell and taste the most amazing double-chocolate-and-molasses cookies made by my lovely roommate.

In conclusion, times are harder. Times will get harder. But I'm grateful for the now, the moment, this small ticktock of time that is entirely mine to do with what I choose. And my hands may be a little cold and my hair may have split-ends, but I am very happy. Thank you.

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