A vision of hope

Published 1:55 pm Tuesday, January 20, 2009

After a week of long hours stuck in my home office, I was experiencing a case of cabin fever. So I set out for my local Starbucks for a change of scenery and some human contact (and a soy latte).

What I found there was interesting and uplifting, given our current economic atmosphere: There were people, a lot of people, and as one walked out with drink in hand, another one or two walked in with cash to spend. Ironically enough, I was sitting there reading a New York Times article discussing how consumers are taking on some of the tasks that they used to pay for, such as brewing an espresso at home.

The Times reports that many of us are cooking more at home, coloring or cutting our own hair, grooming our own pets and working on our own cars. The question that comes to mind is this: Is this change born of fear, guilt or because we really want to take on more tasks, despite our hectic schedules? And who is making their own lattes?

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Small, service-oriented businesses are especially affected by our current economy. And even though it’s wise to make cuts to sustain ourselves, it’s also vital to employ the services of those who have been available to our needs and not turn our heads on them now. After all, ‘they’ could be us.

Also, remember that there are costs associated with doing some things on your own. For instance, consider that coloring your own hair may be harsh to your scalp/hair and may not last as long if not done correctly. Grooming your own pet can lead to hurting a paw or not taking care of all of its pet-health needs.

What did that new home latte machine cost? And isn’t going out for a cup of coffee partly about the experience and taking time away to reconnect with a friend or finding a little time alone to reflect and unwind?

Now is the time to re-connect and stand by each other. Now is the time to sow our seeds and have faith that what we are planting and creating now will flourish. Now is the time to live with purpose and focus on what we can do today to create a better tomorrow.

As Barack Obama said on Nov. 4, “This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.”