For every win
Someone must fail
But there comes a point
When we exhale. - Lyrics from Waiting to Exhale
Ever since the price of light sweet crude oil began inching upwards, I’ve had a feeling of holding my breath. I can’t help but wonder when consumers will reach the breaking point.
Our economy is based on growth; and with oil prices rising dramatically and the cost of goods and services following suit, the average consumer can no longer afford some daily expenses, much less the luxuries of life. To some, the foregone luxury may be a daily latte. To others, it may be a new car, or larger home in an appealing neighborhood.
We’ve been here before. In the last decades, our society has weathered the Chrysler bailout, savings & loan crisis, dot com bubble, Enron scandal, and a few real estate bubbles.
However, this time it feels different. Confidence and trust have been lost. Institutions that were perceived as rock solid find themselves insolvent, one of which is the American economy.
As the stock market rolls up and down, it emanates outward, influencing the global economy.
Closer to home, our very community is shaped by this change. Our city’s financial conditions dangle precariously on a growing economy and real estate market.
At long last, unique small shops, particularly in East Village, had started emerging, specifically catering to the needs and lifestyle of community residents.
But now, as new condominium units sit empty, I become increasing uneasy about our community’s budding character.
Even amongst the hustle and bustle of our city life, there seems to be a quiet hush dropping down from out of nowhere. It feels as though we are searching for our identity.
Dazed, residents are not in a hurry to arrive at their predetermined destination. Even I’ve slowed my pace.
Walking into once crowded eateries, there are empty tables galore. Businesses are seeking ways to boost income. Friends are losing their jobs.
Will it ever be normal again? When will we exhale? And, take a deep breath of relief?
I wonder…When might we breathe a breath?
Cherie Jessup (CityWalk) feels that good always come from bad. Maybe the current slowdown is bad for business, but individuals are becoming more responsible with their discretionary income.
Bill Olmstead (Watermark) has witnessed fewer people dining in local establishments. Maybe it’s time to lower the price for residents!
When gas prices hit an all time record, Roger and Irene Hilton (CityWalk) decided to use mass transit. Even though they could technically afford the higher gas prices, they’d rather save it for the “fun stuff”, like a trip to Hawaii. Besides, Irene finds that walking to the trolley station makes her physically feel better.
As long as we as a society consume more than we produce, we are trading a little piece of our country away daily. It's time for reinventing our economy by rethinking our daily way of living. By supporting a sustainable earth, we will once again be able to take a deep breath and exhale. -November 2008