LACERDA: Finding light in dark days

John Lacerda

I find it impossible to scan the front page of any newspaper today without spotting a headline describing yet another dire situation within the American and global economy. Amid stories of international conflict and new presidential platforms, my eyes always gaze over titles forewarning impending disaster and loss, “A Rising Dollar Lifts the U.S. but Adds to the Crisis Abroad” and “World Bank Says Global Economy Will Shrink in ’09,” to name a few.

Although these constant updates of negative outlooks on our country’s political and economic stability allow for a stronger preparation by the American people for the future, they can lead us to forget the real tragedies of life that have nothing to do with money or power.

The recent magnitude of job loss, the unemployment rate now at 8.1 percent, has caused a disturbing stir among the nation, and more importantly, the world.

It affects our daily interactions, becoming a focal point of conversation and a continual reminder of the bleakness that clouds the future. From talk shows to reality television, the overwhelming suffering that we must all endure over the next few months and maybe even years manifests itself in our present mannerism and appearance.

Even as a college student living with the burden of future instability causes a rumble among the crowd, a mutually shared notion of fear. It remains quite painless, however, to consider other matters of life in times like these that have more of an impact on health and security than the terror of job cuts and the dread of sub-prime mortgage and housing foreclosure.

While this country has certainly endured some radically alternating events since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, or one could even argue the downfall of Bear Stearns, the simple fact that we are still one, unified state absent from any foreign military invasion, free from civil war or oppression, and more significantly, void of governmental calamity, should provide at least one positive sensation within ourselves.

American self-help writer and professional speaker Tony Robbins once said, “Most people never feel secure because they are always worried that they will lose their jobs, lose the money they already have, lose their spouse, lose their health and so on. The only true security in life comes from knowing that every single day you are improving yourself in some way, that you are increasing the caliber of who you are and that you are valuable to your company, your friends, and your family.”

Robbins could be a fraud for all I know, a pathetic phony like the father from “Little Miss Sunshine,” but in retrospect, his quote actually makes sense.

Financial income and positional authority are worthless in comparison to physical well-being and mental security. A job is good, money is great, authority is the best, but I say choose life.

There is a lot of “stuff” in this world – an immense amount of genocide, warfare, poverty and starvation – but a majority of theses issues do not reside in the United States or in most of the countries that surround us. We are pretty lucky, but many of us tend to forget that.

While the unemployment rate will continue to drop as the spring approaches and people will only further fly into panic, other matters of disturbing trauma persist in third world nations that we can only hope to relate to someday, but never truly will do so.

If you flip past the front page of the New York Times from any given day last week, you will find stories divulging the atrocities in Sudan, specifically those involving the recent release of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir from prison and his attempt to kick out more aid groups and expel diplomats and peacemakers from the region. Here, we have actual tragedy and trauma. Far from job loss or financial insecurity is the colossal concept of death.

Instead of weeping and worrying about the future, focus on the good in the present. Seek pleasure through entertainment. Buy a U2 ticket for their upcoming tour, spend a boatload of money at one of the most expensive restaurants in Philly, pay for a sky-diving license that you will never use or just do anything that reminds you of what is good and what is most important.


John LaCerda is a junior English major from Medfield, Mass. He can be reached at [email protected].