Media pundits and financial commentators debate whether we are merely in a recession or in a Depression, one of those with a capital D. The debate will go on for a while; yet, how could we ever believe our generation would never get one of the big ones, or more?
I remember oil shocks and terrorism in the 1970s, and the uncertainty and fear of the Years of Lead. Our family moved to Munich just after the Black September massacre; the kidnapping of Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades is still a vivid personal memory, strongly intertwined with our family history. Before that, my father had been a child during World War II, and I cannot ever shake the belief that his savings habits and his frugality were drilled into him and his five siblings as a result of wartime restrictions. My grandparents lived through World War I; a military cemetery not far from where where we used to vacation during my childhood holds the spoils of 54,000 soldiers, most of them unidentified, from that senseless carnage.
Yet, stereotypically, I also think that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And the strongest of us will be those who have battled personal adversity in addition to economic and social crisis. America’s new likely Secretary of State did not take to the bottle after her husband’s infidelity and lies became a matter of public record. Yahoo’s new CEO didn’t stay in a hospital bed very long as she was fighting breast cancer.
Not that I wish you, my dear readers, any of those events. But should they happen (and bad things often do, so make sure you have friends to fall back on), I wish you the personal resilience to fight through them and come out a winner.