From Where I Sit – Choices

Standoffs, stabbings, drive-by shootings. Recession, depression. Inflation, deflation. Layoffs and closures. Global warming, pollution, carcinogens. Coups and coalitions, resignations and coronations. If your head is spinning and your gut is churning, if You’re worried and confused, you are not alone.

You may be like me, watching the news and reading the paper, hanging on every word, following every twist and turn, sifting through the endless analysis of everything from federal politics to the state of our investments.

Or you may be the type who channel surfs right past the news and gets your take on the state of the world at the local coffee shop. We all have our own way of coping with stress and uncertainty. Near as I can tell, no one has the answers to the crime rate, the dysfunctional parliamentary antics, the economic morass, or health and safety issues.

No one can tell me to put money in a mattress or learn to love Jack Layton. No one should tell you to walk away from the coveted 42-inch flat-screen TV if you can really, really, really afford it. We can’t tell our friends or relatives, our provincial or international counterparts how to live, what to value, what to sacrifice.

What we can do is inform ourselves, re-examine our values, and come up with an action plan that will cushion the hurt and ensure the best outcome for ourselves and our family. Tonight’s news said cancer will overtake heart disease as the leading global killer by 2010. Maybe, just maybe, now is the time to quit once and for all.

Save a heap of hurtin? and free up some extra cash. Win-win. Maybe this is the Christmas to pay cash for the gifts rather than lighting up the old credit cards. That will prevent the January shock factor when the bills arrive. Or maybe this is the year to give green gifts to minimize the assault on the environment.

Or is this the year for gifts from the heart’something handcrafted perhaps? Maybe this is the year to re-gift some of the oh-so-inappropriate things we’ve received in the past. Or, as mother would say, maybe It’s time to simply spend time together because That’s the most precious gift of all.

Most experts say the past week on Parliament Hill has ignited the interest of Canadians and that, my friends, is a good thing. Maybe the half of the population that sat out the last election will be more likely to get off the couch and actually think through and follow through on their choice next time?whether It’s January 2009 or two years from now.

You have to know things have finally gotten exciting when Jon Stewart spoofs Canadian politics on his late-night show. So whether you decide to spend or save, smoke or not, or get engaged in the hot topics of politics, economics, and the environment is totally up to you.

Just please don’t retreat into feelings of despair and helplessness because this too shall pass, from where I sit.