Monday, April 11, 2011

Hard Times

Every day, I get up early, drive to the hospital, spend 10-13 hours working, and go home. On my days off, I try to cram as much family time in as I can. The park, movie night, the occasional day outing.

There's nothing particularly exciting about this. In fact, it's the life style that nearly all my fellow residents have. It's not an extravagent life. We can pay all our bills. There's just a little extra for comfort.

Living this way, it's easy to get used to it. I don't worry about whether or not I'll have a job next month, whether getting laid off is in my future. It's the same for everyone at my job. The hospital will need us next month and next year.

Being surrounded by this, it's easy to think that it is that way for everyone. That all the talk about the economic hardships and downturns and tumbles have just passed right by this small Midwestern city.

But if I actually pay attention, I realize that the stability in my life is not the reality for many surrounding me. All it takes is looking out my car window as I drive to work to see the truth.

I think I started paying attention when we took the boys to get haircuts several months ago, and the place we considered going was no longer there. All that was left was the vague outline of the store name on the stucco and a "For Lease" sign in the window.

I started noticing how many stores windows were empty. I started noticing how many houses had "For Sale" signs out in front that stayed in place month after month, only to be joined by "Price Reduction" signs. I started noticing how many of my patients brought up being laid off.

My life isn't the easiest. I'm juggling a lot of balls. I feel overworked, tired, stressed, burnt out. But the one thing my life has is security. It's easy to let that security form a cocoon that prevents me from seeing the hardship in the rest of the world. I know that peeling back that security blanket and taking a better appraisal of the real world doesn't make a difference for all those going through hard times.

But I can remember, as I drive past the failed businesses and unsold homes, to be grateful. Grateful for my home, my car, my job. And yes, even grateful for craziness that comes with it.


  1. I think about that a lot too. As I drive endless miles to get to a job that doesn't make me happy. But I have a job and I need to be thankful for that.

  2. I notice too. Dozens of store fonts empty that have been there over 30 years, people I know who now work 3 states away or father routinely. My kids' friends'parents who look too strained to smile or talk. The peole I give ride to walking on roadsides who have come from as far away as Florida or were laid of from a coast oil rig, after 15 years becuase of staffing cut backs. The small family run business I no loner work for bfor the same reason. I ache because I do not know how to help or heal, but I notice. I'm grateful there is that stability for you, too.

  3. We all have hard times in our lives, whatever it may be. About 2 years ago, my sister's husband was laid off and then my brother was laid off. And I realized that it could happen to anyone, no one was immune. Last May my husband was laid off just a month before our baby was born. I tried not to stress out too much...haha. We ended up moving in with my parents (otherwise we'd be on the street). In a way, it's been a blessing having my parents help with the baby while hubby hunted for work. Almost a year later, we're still at my parents. And finally, hubby got a job about 2 weeks ago. It's times like these that you count your blessings and realize you have lots of things to be grateful for.

  4. This was a little bit of a sobering post. I know what you mean, seeing more and more "for sale" signs up. One of my best friends is doing her residency and it is a TON of work. But, like you said, there is security.
    Thanks for makin' me think.
    Have a good weekend and I hope you get a chance to come back to our blog again some time, I appreciated the comments! ;)

  5. I know exactly what you mean. I see the hardship because my family in michigan is really struggling, but we aren't. And its surreal. And sad.

    And then I think about getting out of the Marines so that I can spend more time with the kids and it's scary.

  6. It's easy to get so caught up in the craziness of your own life to realize not everyone has what we have. There are a lot of people going through tough times right now. It's good sometimes to stop ad take a minute to realize how lucky some of us are.