Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 10/6/2008 [Archive]

Post - Wall Street

Post-Wall Street

By Martha Randolph Carr

The world keeps evolving whether or not we choose to keep up and change with it. Intellectually, we all get that but it doesn't mean we're paying attention to the implications of standing on the sidelines.

When we're young it seems quaint to note how difficult it is for our parents and their friends to adjust to the latest technology and the faster pace. When we're older it begins to feel a little overwhelming that we have the added responsibilities of keeping an eye on teenagers, our career, and our retirement account and relearn how to use a phone.

There was a time when the phone was only used to hear someone's voice on the other end. Checking your mail meant walking down to the end of the driveway and research required showing up at the library and pouring over books.

Now, a phone is a quaint term for a small handheld computer that holds the mail and all of the research in the world in the palm of the hand. Occasionally people over 35 use it to talk to someone while the under 35 set post a twitter that automatically feeds out to everyone they know. Tomorrow the phone may be able to diagnose your cough and carry on a conversation and we will be asked to change again.

But it's not necessarily the technology that's getting in our way as much as the constant change in basic routine. All of these new things are monkeying with the habits we do everyday that we'd like to move to the back of our brain so that we can take a breather, particularly in the era that appears to be dawning, post-Wall Street.

Normally, one of the best perks about adulthood is the ability to coast just a little on what was learned in the teenage years about technology and how the everyday stuff works, including how to buy a house or plan for retirement. However, none of that information may be accurate anymore and all of us could be looking at starting from scratch, including the savviest investors.

That's the spot we've found ourselves in and for the baby boomers born in the era after WWII there is a twist on the old cliché of 'sandwich' generation. Ten years ago the phrase meant, taking care of elderly parents and young children at the same time. Now, it may come to mean those who were brought up listening to stories about the Great Depression from people who lived through it and then being the main breadwinner during the sequel.

As the new economic realities continue to unfold and politicians finally stop grandstanding and behaving like a short term fix is even possible, many of us will need to pick up the pieces of what is left of the life we had created and start over again. For many Americans it will feel just like they got hit by a natural disaster. They made all of the sound decisions and even stored away funds just to be sure, only to watch it all evaporate over the course of a few short months. That can leave some feeling a little hopeless if they stand still in the middle of the debris for too long.

Just like anyone who has faced waking up to find their house flattened by a hurricane, take a moment of grief but then it will be time to let go of what no longer exists and pull together to build something new.

We will need to come out of our insulated houses and out from behind our phones and start to see what it is we can do together on a local level to help ourselves. The federal government will do what it can to help out with funding but when the foundation is wiped away it's neighbors that help figure out what comes next.

Gone is the age of bigger is better as the new age of community involvement beckons.

We will need to include everyone as we sift through talents and technology to come up with unique ways to use what we have to come up with entirely new solutions.

Perhaps, this also means the era of using fear as a political tactic to manipulate voters will be over as well and we can start to first see what we can do to help each other out rather than quickly throw up our guard at any perceived differences such as race or religion. We will knit together to show the world what we can do and no longer allow anyone to pull us apart.

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: www.newvoicespeakers.com. Martha's Big Adventure coming soon to World Talk Radio and Voice America. Email Martha at: Martha@caglecartoons.com or visit www.martharandolphcarr.com.

© 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 Sales@cagle.com. Download Martha Randolph Carr's black and white mug shot photo.

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