In the previous post, I articulated the sense of loss that we might be feeling as so many aspects of our everyday life have been truncated, restricted, delayed, modified beyond all recognition, or completely vaporized. All that, in a matter of weeks.
Usually, life allows us to adapt, change, and grow gradually. Going through school and getting an education is a large process that takes time. Growing up physically usually takes years, too. We may experience big moments within these processes, but the processes themselves are deliberate, paced, and moderated by a multitude of natural and manmade factors. It takes nine months to make a baby. It’s a process.
Pandemics and the havoc they wreak on societies are not so gradual. Historically, they have been sudden and traumatic. Lots of people get sick and lots of people die very quickly. Personal finances take a hit. Societies shudder, and shutter. Stress levels rise. People lash out. Pain is everywhere. Recovery is slow.
But recovery does happen, and often the lessons we learn during a sudden, emotional, and difficult experience stay with us and benefit us more than gradual processes. The suffering, as a friend of mine once said, gets tattooed in our brains.
For example, we all know the personal habits of ‘children of the Great Depression.’ Many lost their life’s savings. Many went hungry. But as a result, this generation saved money, they worked hard, they delayed gratification, and they did well over time. Coupled with FDRs New Deal, you could argue that they made America what it is today: a safe, free democratic society that endeavors to provide equality and opportunity to the majority of its citizens. All based on a set of shared values forged from disaster.
Make no mistake: people lost a lot. They suffered a lot. They went through a war. They came out on the other side, stronger, smarter, kinder, and more determined. They did this because they didn’t let the circumstances define them. They let their response to the circumstances define them.
This pandemic and the disruption it has caused have presented us with our Defining Moment. We can despair and complain, and let the weight of this tragedy overwhelm us. Or we can find a sense of hope, and rise above it.
Many times on this blog, I know I’m ‘preaching to the choir’ when I discuss Old Money values, in terms of ethics and morality, and How Old Money Does It, in terms of lifestyle. I imagine most everyone who participates on this blog behaves honorably and lives like Old Money, whether you’re born into it or have simply chosen it as a way of life.
I know some of you will ride out this crisis pretty much unscathed. Some of you are enduring difficult times. What we can find in this moment is a sense of unity. Even if we aren’t sharing the same experience in our personal situations, we can know that we share the same Core Values as a community, and the same resilience, regardless of the challenges.
What I personally see in this crisis is opportunity. The opportunity to convert a large number of Americans into a new generation of Old Money Guys and Gals. Not just a well-educated mass of button-downs and khakis living within their means, raising well-mannered children, and driving Volvos, although that wouldn’t all together be a bad thing, now that I think about it…
What I’m really thinking about is a movement…a campaign to reach the people who don’t read this blog, and get them to reconnect with their sense of decency, integrity, hard work, humanity, and independence.
The design and format this campaign will take is unclear at present. I have only a general sense of the direction in which to move. The resources necessary have not been determined, and the landscape I’ll need to navigate is still to be charted.
Only my message is certain: Old Money Values can reshape America, revitalize its people, and restore the fundamentals that made this country, for all its faults, what it is: a beacon, an ideal, a sanctuary, and the promise for a brighter future.
Therein lies our hope, and our mission.
11 thoughts on “A Sense of Hope”
Once more your profound and gracious words bring me no small measure of peace, reassurance, encouragement and clarity. “This too shall pass.”
Thank you kind sir! Stay safe and well. Write more and soon. Jan B
Thank you, Jan. Much appreciated, and please stay safe and well, too. – BGT
I agree wholeheartedly with JanB. Your words bring peace of mind. I do hope you are doing well, Byron, and I know all of your readers look forward to some more posts. Stay healthy and safe, and let’s keep hope alive.
Thanks, Bev. The worst seems to be over for Paris…for now. We’re cautiously optimistic about the rest of the year. – BGT
Excellent post. It is amazing, and probably not too surprising, how many suggestions you post that harken back to the many and sundry lessons learnt from generations of my Scottish-Canadian family. The following are and were some of ours that we still use no matter what the global economy is:
From Granny Duncan (Perthshire, Scotland and then British Columbia, Canada):
Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, Or Do Without.
Other Top Lessons:
-Do not be cavalier about your trust or any other money you have.
-Shop your pantry
-Shop your wardrobe as whatever you may need is probably already there
-Replace your furnace filtres regularly
-There is nothing wrong in purchasing used if it is of the best quality and one needs it. If you have purchased your house used and a classic motorcar used, you already have experience in this matter. So shop prudently.
-Live below your means at all times
-Always use your silver and your linens at every meal. If the linens have a tear, then make do and mend.
-Always vote. Even if you loathe the Tory candidate standing in your riding for Parliament in Ottawa, you must still vote for someone. Always give to charitable causes that will give you a tax receipt.
-Speak less and say more.
Michael in Mill Bay village, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada V0R 2P1
Well said, Michael. Thank you. A great list. – BGT
There’s so much to be hopeful for. You might consider extending your reach through a social media platform like Instagram which is favored by younger people.
Thanks, Maurice. – BGT
I have never been more proud of this country then now. The selfless healthcare workers, the butcher, the bakers, farmers and the grocers have all taken care of us. Not forgetting the police and fire personal. They all have the underlying emotional intelligence and intrinsic moral fabric that make our country a great place to live.
When we speak of “our kind of people”, we talk about our likes and dislikes that make up our persona and our response to interacting with people who differ then us is one of graciousness, humanity and most of all politeness. While having a “cosmic” cord of moral fabric that binds all of us.
Why do I say this. Humanity as a whole has been exposed to the worst characteristic one can imagine. Evil. That is the only word I can think of to describe a disease that will indiscriminately kill so many people. I know people in their 80’s who suffered some aches and pains for a week or two and found out they had corona, then on the other hand I have read about young men and woman in their 20’s who die from this. What is worst the country where this evil originated from didn’t sufficiently warn the world.
Taken into account of what I mentioned in the opening paragraph, Everything will be O.K.
Which would be intellectually and morally sound: Pointing to those who’re hypothetically to blame, or showing responsible leadership and taking measures to save lives?
Prior to the GFC, the Federal Reserve chairman spoke of irrational exuberance but nothing was done to cool off the markets.
Thank you for sharing, Bob. Inspiring insights. Much appreciated. – BGT