While driving home from the park today, I was listening to a few economists talk about the current University of Michigan survey measuring consumer sentiment and economic conditions. Basically, it tells us how Americans feel about the economy both today and tomorrow, or more specifically, one year from now.
I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but the overall feelings were bad.
As bad as they were in the 1970’s no less, when inflation was at 13%, unemployment was at 10%, and you had to wait an hour at the pumps to fill up your tank with gas. No kidding, and I know it well because I grew up in the 70’s and specifically remember really long lines in a station wagon with no air conditioning. Albeit, today those inflation and unemployment numbers are much better, to say the least, as mortgage rates just inched below 7% – a good sign for both consumers and the housing market.
The thing is, back when times were much tougher for families and the economy was in a much deeper hole, pervasive feelings of doom and gloom were never rampant like they are today. At least it seems that way when everywhere you turn there’s suffering, death and destruction, not to mention consistent talk about an unavoidable recession (which I disagree). In a viral world with instant connectivity, spreading anything – including bad feelings – is as easy as getting AI to write you a paper. The polar opposite of the groovy, non-viral 70’s. Plus, with Led Zeppelin on the radio and Disco on the rise, life was always about working hard, staying hopeful, living free, and most importantly, living in the moment.
And since every one of us is dealing with our own adversity du jour – mine includes three herniated discs that have annihilated my yoga practice – you gotta stay positive and know that things will get better. And believe that collectively, we can change this sentiment from bad to good.
And we will.
The funny thing is, when I grew tired of listening to those chatty economists talk about our nation’s lousy survey scores, I turned the radio dial a few clicks to the left and what do you think comes on? I Want Your Love, by Chic circa 1978. Talk about a fun and happy and positive song that compels you to sing along forever! I was 15 when that Disco classic came out, and had just started taking lessons at the nearby Arthur Murray Dance Studio..with every other kid in the neighborhood.
So change your negative thoughts everyone, and help me change the consumer sentiment. No doubt I believe change is coming – as it did with the go-go 80’s right after John Travolta lit up the floor in that iconic gem, Saturday Night Fever (1979). Speaking of lighting up the floor, with two measly weeks to go before we leave this rather “bad” 2023 behind us, take heed from yours truly – and get your workout in. Dancing included!
Have an amazing Holiday and even happier New Year! Peace – R