Life has its ups and downs, the economy is cyclical (especially technology's boom and bust cycles), business is feast or famine, what goes around comes around. The older you get, the more you realize that everything about life is a roller-coaster.
This week began with a global market sell-off over fears of an economic recession hitting America. For the record, I don't agree that we're heading for recession. On the other hand, it's not reasonable to believe in a perpetual bull market. That's just not the way it is. What goes up must come down. Maybe not all the way down, but somewhat.
According to Wikipedia (so it must be right), the macroeconomic definition of recession is declining gross domestic product (GDP) for two successive quarters. But these days, the term recession is associated more with declining economic factors, like corporate earnings and employment, for at least a few months.
Any way you define recession, it's common for people to take the opportunity to become depressed. The truth is you're better off looking at tough times as an opportunity, but you're not going to do that just because I say so, are you?
That's okay, go ahead and be miserable. And while you're at it, here are some ideas to help you get by.
Top ten things to do in a recession
10. Catch up on your internet porn. Don't bother paying; you can waste hours a day just checking out the free stuff.
9. Play with your old baseball cards. Or Barbie dolls, GI Joe collection, Star Trek memorabilia, obsolete computer parts, whatever gets you going.
8. Prune your roses. Or your fruit tress, pot plants, whatever. It's therapeutic.
7. Take a tour of hospitals and clinics Britney Spears has been to. That should take at least six months.
6. Visit your family. I mean your entire family. You can mooch off all your aunts, cousins, nephews, everybody, all in exchange for home IT support.
5. Watch every episode of "Friends" - all ten seasons. Chronicle all Jennifer Aniston's hairstyles and Matt Perry's weight changes.
4. Become nocturnal. Since there won't be any work or original TV programming, you won't miss a thing. Just think of the productivity - no traffic, no people, no stress.
3. Introduce yourself to the wife and kids. Who knows, they might actually like you. If not, get divorced. You'll make out better if you're out of work.
2. Start a blog on depression. Think of the audience you can get. Ten percent of the U.S. population is like 30 million people right there.
1. Get back to nature. Live like Bigfoot: hunt and fish for your food, eat with your bare hands, crap in the woods. Really, it's cathartic.
In all seriousness, when recession looms, you might consider my original advice. The best time for starting a new venture or doing something new and exciting with your career or your life is when times are hard and you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I don't know why that is, but I think it has something to do with a natural human tendency to survive and thrive. With all the random crap nature throws at us and all the problems we create for ourselves, we always seem to find a way to get through it.
So, even when you're not feeling very optimistic, trust that you have the ability to persevere and turn things around. All you've got to do is get some perspective and find the ignition switch. Try it, it works.