Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 10/27/2008 [Archive]

Don't Go It Alone

Don't Go It Alone

By Martha Randolph Carr

This is going to be a thee-part reminder of some fundamentals. The first part is a short assessment. Anxiety in this country is reaching a fever pitch. People who have managed to roll with every other punch are experiencing their first panic attack. A record number of Americans are watching the stock market go up and down like a novelty slide whistle. There have even been reports of people taking their laptops to bed with them so they can check on the foreign markets in the middle of the night.

A self-made millionaire I know of has said he's stocking up on canned goods just in case. This is a guy who survived the earlier Enron-style meltdowns without so much as a groan while the company he'd been with for 20 years disappeared from the map. Talking heads on TV are still talking about the possible backlash effects of inflation from the government bailouts as they begin to resemble Nero just a little. It's as if they can only contemplate the two options of recession or inflation. Apparently a depression is out of the question.

A sense of terror approaches from the lack of power we suddenly have over our economic futures. Friends are sending each other twitter messages a few times a day reporting how many people were called in to the office and given a pink slip. There are anxious internet sighs of relief as the axe misses them one more time. Veteran journalists and cartoonists at large metropolitan newspapers are getting laid off in record numbers. In Manhattan, financial wizards young and old are looking for ways to get out of expensive leases or sell off extraneous property. A gallows humor has set in while some make plans to move back to their hometown.

But stop and take a step back for just a moment. Let's look at this from another angle. This is part two, which involves acceptance and recognizing that flailing is pointless.

The go-go era has gone on for so long that a fundamental rule of life has been forgotten. Everything changes and not always like we had hoped. Getting bogged down in fear though can mean missed chances in the new day.

It's time to stop watching the news and get on with things.

Part three addresses taking actions that may realign life in such a way that a year or two from now we may actually look back and say the worst time of our lives turned out to be the best.

First, back away from anything that is feeding information but doesn't possess a beating heart. The internet gadgets have fostered a worldwide connection that doesn't always serve us very well. We isolate ourselves from forming real connections with human beings who would know our back story.

Turn off the Blackberry and the iPhone. Take a break from the news and go introduce yourself to a few people who live or work right around you. Risk getting rejected face to face and put together a small dinner party. Make it a potluck if you've already gotten the pink slip.

Admit fear and ask for suggestions on ways to improve personal financial health. Not a bailout or a handout but a general overview from an outside perspective. Take what works and leave the rest.

Once every reasonable action has been carried out, take a break and realize the rest will have to be taken on faith. Lamenting and whining at this point will not change a single thing. While learning the lesson of living one day at a time, continue to foster those new relationships and look for ways to be of service in the local community.

Then, late at night when the worries want to creep up, send out a prayer of thanks to all of those people who smile when they see you coming. These are the investments we can make that add up to a good life and will be around during a bull or bear market.

Martha Randolph Carr's latest book, A Place to Call Home, a memoir about the reemergence of U.S. orphanages is available wherever books are sold. If you'd like Martha to come and speak to your group visit: Martha's Big Adventure coming soon to World Talk Radio and Voice America. Email Martha at: or visit

© 2008 Martha Randolph Carr. Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Download Martha Randolph Carr's black and white mug shot photo.

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