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Francine Hardaway

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I Call the Bottom

Posted: 10/29/08 07:26 PM ET

I have no special expertise to call a bottom, I've just been around long enough to know one when I see one.

A bottom is when I start cooking at home after twenty years of eating out. I've discovered anything can be sauteed in olive oil and garlic and taste good.

A bottom is when people start calling to ask if they can meet with me and "pick my brain." I have a big cyber-rolodex, so when someone is looking for a job, or their kid is, or their wife is, I'm a common stop on the journey. I haven't heard of someone hiring in months, except my friend Mark who needs a laborer for his truss plant (but only to complete the job he is currently fabricating).

A bottom is when I start thinking that when my car lease is up, I'll get a hybrid because I'm over cars.

A bottom is when I quit replacing items in my wardrobe that I no longer "like" and begin wearing jeans and a shirt every day, assuring myself that every professional woman dresses like this today.

A bottom is when I know all the news in advance.

So we are at the bottom. Now what? We wait. This isn't going to sound good if you are looking for a job. But no one will hire you between now and January 1 anyway, because we all go on Christmas break in another week or so, even if we don't admit it. And for the next week, we're all paralyzed waiting to hear who the president will be (as if he could do something about all this anyway).

We meditate, go to the gym, and practice yoga, letting go of attachments that cause us suffering: money, cars, houses. We use the time to get in shape for what will come in the future.

We rediscover our families, even the ones we don't like, because we may have to either move in with them or take them in some time in the near future. We learn that there's a reason extended families work so well in developing countries.

We don't bother feeling depressed, guilty, angry, deprived, or upset, because those don't do a damned bit of good. A global meltdown isn't the fault of any one individual who could have done it differently (not bought the house with the teaser-rate mortgage, for example). And we don't blame the rich, the poor, the Democrats, the Republicans, the war in Iraq, the racists, the socialists, the bankers, the Wall Streeters, the mortgage brokers, or our spouses.

We sure don't kick the dog. We curl up with him and learn to live in the moment.

Because it WILL turn around. Not until after the election, and not until after the first of the year, but it WILL turn around. It always does. What will we have learned?
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