COLUMNS

WRITER'S BLOCK: Did you ever think we’d see the day when...

Michael Tortorich
Michael Tortorich is a reporter for the Gonzales Weekly Citizen. He can be reached at reporter1 @ weeklycitizen.com.

When I was younger and my great-grandparents were still alive, they would often talk about how life was in “the good old days.” They lived through the Great Depression and life was rough for them. Their families were still fresh off the boat from the old country, and they were trying to carve a new life for themselves. The period went down in history as the worst economic times the world had ever experienced.

There’s no mistaking that we’re living in tough times today. The economic woes we are facing are the worst we’ve seen since the Great Depression. But we’ve got to keep things in perspective.

If the current recession ends within the next few months, as Professor Emeritus of Economics at LSU Dr. Loren Scott predicts, it won’t come near the 43-month economic decline of the Great Depression.

Yes, we are seeing jobs lost. But a 6.5 percent unemployment rate comes nowhere near the 25 percent rate of the Great Depression.

What we’re going through is bad, but there are generations of people who have been through much worse.

I would often hear about how families would have no choice but to live off the land. Children would have to work in the fields instead of going off to school. Back then, people made due without luxuries we often take for granted today, like electricity and indoor plumbing.

These days, there’s a sense of entitlement among many. Workers have come to expect jobs to be plentiful. They expect certain salaries and benefits. They expect to own houses, cars, boats and camps. They expect to live in so-called “nice” neighborhoods and send their children to good schools. They expect to take trips to different places, where they will stay in fancy hotels and eat in fine restaurants.

Yet nothing in life is promised. Nothing is guaranteed. We have to earn it.

It’s time for us to get back to basics. We must remember the trailblazers that came before us.

They possessed a spirit that has dwindled over time. It’s time we rekindle that spirit and let it guide our lives.

The next time you hear someone start a sentence with “Did you ever think we would see the day when...” Keep in mind that it’s all been done at some point or another throughout history. Just because some of us weren’t around doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

People have roughed it before, so there’s no reason why we can’t today. For some, it may mean cutting back on steak dinners. Others may have to turn in their BMW keys. Remember, there’s always someone out there much worse off than you are.

Even those who feel as if they’ve hit rock bottom should keep in mind that each day the sun will come up and a new day awaits them. And at the end of the day, it’s not about how much money you have in your pocket. It’s about living  life to the fullest.

Hopefully one day we’ll be able to look back on these times and call them “the good old days.”