Our Failure Of Imagination

It’s been difficult for me lately to get a good nights sleep. It’s been very hard to get my mind off our current coronavirus situation. I’m worrying about my husband, my kids, my grandkids and just about everything else inbetween. I’m worried about having enough food and will we be able to keep on buying food? I’m concerned about money, continuing to pay the bills because we don’t know how long the crisis is going to last. Will it subside in the summer? Will it come back in the fall? What happens if I get the virus? Or DH? We’re told to employ social distance. That only makes my family stay further apart from each other. What is going to happen if any one of us comes down with the virus? Who will take care of us? Will we survive?

Is it any wonder I can’t sleep at night with all these thoughts running through my head?

Peggy Noonan, one of my favorite writers, has a weekly Opinion column in The Wall Street Journal. Noonan’s latest piece, compared the coronavirus to something about 9/11 (click here to read article).

Something came to mind I’d written months after 9/11. Everyone was asking how we could have missed the signs. I remembered the words of astronaut Frank Borman when he was asked in 1967 why NASA had not been prepared for the catastrophic launchpad fire that killed three astronauts. It was “a failure of imagination,” he said. No one imagined such a thing could happen on the ground. That’s where I think we have been the past few weeks in this epidemic, a failure of imagination.

carl sagan.jpeg

I’m letting my imagination run wild regarding this current crisis-d’jour. My head is filled with a zillion ‘what ifs’. People who use their imaginations, do so as a protective tool. Your imagination can prepare you for any disaster from any angle. Our experts try to play down our imaginations and shame us into submission. They always seem to underestimate the uncharted distances the human kind will go.

One of the many principal reasons why The Great Recession of 2008 came to be was due to then-chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, failure to imagine that bankers would do anything foolish to put their own banks in trouble. But they did. Click here for more info.

Greenspan’s super-low interest rates and consistent opposition to regulation of the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market are now widely blamed for causing the 2008 credit crisis. The derivatives market went from barely registering to a $500 trillion industry, despite billionaire investor Warren Buffett warning that they were “financial weapons of mass destruction”. Greenspan’s rock-bottom rates encouraged Americans to load up on debt to buy homes, even when they had no savings, no income and no job prospects. These so-called sub-prime borrowers were the cannon fodder for the biggest boom-bust in US history. The housing collapse brought the global economy to its knees.

At a Congressional hearing investigating the causes of the financial crisis, Greenspan finally admitted he “made a mistake in presuming” that financial firms could regulate themselves.

We may find ourselves in a new brawl of reality because many of us, especially those who are in charge of us, do not employ the power of the imagination. They’re basing our future on what has already happened in the past. I have a powerful imagination and over the years I’ve been severely criticized for using it. I’ve been told to ‘shut up’, ‘you’re crazy’, ‘you’re a liar’, ‘you make up stories’. I consider my child-like ability to use my unbridled imagination one of my most valuable assets. My power to dream and imagine is what catapults my life to extraordinary successes. I have always stated that if you can dream it, you can make it happen.

This coronavirus is going to force mankind to seriously think about what truly is important in their lives. With the thought currently of anyone over the age of 60, now a potential victim of an early death, thanks in part to the coronavirus, I’m certain many current and future retirees are rethinking their life plans. Doesn’t it seem a bit stupid and frivolous now to realize you’ve saved for your retirement most of your working life and should you contract a foreign-invented virus, you may die and never enjoy your goals? This reality was never part of your lifeplan because your imagination couldn’t conceive it. And yet, here we are. Plan Z of your retirement planning should have included a pandemic. And it didn’t. How’s that for a kick in the head?

What about all those lattes we gave up? What about all those financial sacrifices we made, such as only driving old, used cars because we were advised NOT to be in debt? What does it feel like knowing we’ve never experienced the joy of owning a new car? Taking an exotic vacation? Living in a magnificent home? Experiencing top notch entertainment, gourmet foods and living the good life?

I’m thinking to myself right now, faced with the possibility of an early, unplanned for death, that I am glad I lived my life the way that I did. I’m glad I took on risks. I’m glad I took on failures. I’m glad I went hog wild on spending money, enjoying my life, racking up debt, credit and taking hunches head on. Sometimes I won. Sometimes I lost. But always, I lived. Because now, if I wanted to hop on a plane and spend a weekend in Tahiti, I couldn’t. Nobody is sky hopping the globe right now. The entire planet is on lockdown. I couldn’t do anything daring right now if I wanted to.

Of course we need to be reasonable. Of course we need some common sense. Hopefully this virus will pass and most of us will come out of it unscathed but hopefully wiser. The time to live our lives is now. Sure it’s nice to plan for a future but if something good comes along, take the risk and enjoy it.

You might never get the opportunity again.

 

8 comments

  1. My imagination has been running wild also. I wrote it all down and will begin posting, however, I’m not sure I will make it public because I don’t want to dog-pile on others’ anxiety. Hang in there. You are smart and pragmatic. For heaven’s sake, you were smart enough to cut your Florida vacation short to get home and hunker down. Please get outside in nature as much as possible, it clears the head. Keep washing your hands 😊

    Like

    • HI Maggie. We were very smart to get back home ASAP. It’s a madhouse now with tons of empty shelves. UGH.
      I’d love to go for a walk BUT it’s so cold……a bit over 40F. UGH again. It’s even supposed to snow here on Tuesday. Spring is around the corner. Temps should rise. I bundle up and just sit out on my deck for now. Breathing in that fresh mountain air is good for my soul.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am just in wonder over what is happening. Daily our way of life is changing. Thank heaven for the media. It informs us and entertains us. Thank heaven for our utility companies. I have heat and lights. Thank heavens for our lovely home with the beautiful views. (My windows need washing.)

    In our state, daily things are closing. I hope the library does not close. We are retired and money will be coming in. So far I do not know anyone who has it or who has died from the virus. Hopefully, we can still get pizza delivery tonight. Good thing I stocked up on all that food.

    I am scheduled for knee replacement surgery on Wednesday. We will see if they do it. And how will they do PT afterward? I am not worried. What will be will be.

    With my books, my quilting, my husband, my books, and my family and friends, I will be fine. Hopefully, all survive this. Pray for a vaccine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sue. I will pray for your surgery tonight and every night. Please let me know how you do afterwards.
      They just closed all the schools here. Our governor was just on 60 minutes. New York is on high alert. They have shut down everything: libraries, schools, businesses and any groups over 20 people has been banned.
      You stay safe!!! And stay in touch!!!

      Like

  3. Hi Cindi! Things in Florida are ramping up quickly ! Schools are shut down, most Masses cancelled and any gatherings of over 50 ppl are banned. They’ve shut down South Beach and sending spring breakers home.

    My brother in law and his wife, who were in deep denial about this crisis, are slowly coming to their senses. Despite being in a high risk group (70+ with medical issues). They had were full steam ahead with a 3 week Spain and France trip they planned and thought I was being alarmist when I told them they should cancel.

    They’re stunned that the countries are on lockdown. They had not purchased ANY supplies (on a whim they sold they’re house last month and are moving to aanother home a few miles away).

    Now they are freaking out that if this continues they won’t be able to move in as planned. Ugh ! I’m so easily losing my patience with people that don’t plan and then freak out when the truth hits them in the face.

    My oldest stepdaughter did the same, refusing to prep despite having a young child. Then she said she didn’t want to bother with the lines, she’d just shop from out supplies ! Aaack ! Ok rant over. Good luck and be well . We’re staying put right in our home . Glad you’re posting so we can keep up.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I seemed to do both. We have always traveled. I have seen most all of the world I want to- as have my children. I have never been short on imagination. We will travel again when this is over.

    My budget is stable.We have always done balance- 3/4 now and save for now, 1/4 for later. We haven’t been negative since the crash in the late ’80s. I refuse to take on debt- any debt. Be calm- no one needs an expensive handbag to go no where. But then, I have never been into fashion- so the importance has always eluded me.
    My husband’s family is Mormon- so I learned to be several months ahead a long time ago. I also learn homesteading skills like canning and vegetable gardening. They have been recalling their missionaries from other countries for the last five weeks…..
    I do worry about my extended family. Most are in food/hotel/real estate. They always made fun of me- travel on a budget auntie. They might be in for a rough ride. Scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janette, I orderd a whole new wardrobe from Chico’s and by the time it was delivered to me, the clothes were too big. I lost 10 pounds recently from all this nervous anxiety. I sent all the clothes back. I put my handbag back in its box up on the top shelf of my clothes closet. I’m going no where fast. Lunch out with the girls is totally out of the question now. Amazing how fast things can change.
      We’re making plans now to put in a garden. Maybe start raising chickens for the eggs.
      I’ve hung my rosary beads around my neck. I’m not taking any chances.
      We’ll be fine. I just need to know what ‘fine’ is going to mean in the future.
      Thanks for your comment.

      Like

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