Recessions Can Be Motivating

Story time again……  Just before the recession hit, I was working with Rosemary, aged 59 at the time (remember, none of the people I talk about are real.  They are a mish mash of many people over many years).  She was feeling down and had read my book, “The Art of Midlife,” so she came in for counseling. Rosemary and her husband had been very active, built a business, worked hard, raised one child of their own and his niece, and had almost enough money to retire. They could sell their business and relax.  Instead of feeling jubilant, she came to therapy because she felt old and finished.  She could take it easy but somehow, this thought was not pleasing her. 

Then we had a recession.  Rosemary and her husband saw, as did many others, their home value plummet and their retirement savings diminish by 40%.  A familiar story, so far. Thoughts of retirement vanished like that bowl of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream on a warm night.

 I was fascinated watching Rosemary go from a brief period of fear to getting back in the game with energy, drive and creative, fresh ideas about building their business.  I certainly don’t wish a recession on any of us in order to get motivated or excited again, but it does show that, for some people, complacency and security robs them of the drive they had when they were moving up.

 Security can make you safe (a good thing) but it can also slow you down (not so good) and encourage complacency (boring!).  You lose the hunger.  That’s not bad, especially as you age, but some people lose the fun that they experienced with the creative hunt.  Everybody needs goals, not to become maniacal about them, not always to reach them, but because they keep us headed in the direction that makes us feel alive.

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