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It seems that everyone’s values and expectations are messed up, and have been for some time. How long has this been going on? We were discussing how “off center” things have become, and what was a good model for a saner scenario. As there don’t appear to be any countries who qualify for model behavior and attitude today, we had to go back in time. Probably back to the mid 1980s.

Who remembers that?!? Well, actually, we do. And things were pretty reasonable in the mid 80s. Most people had a decent education, a good job, a nice house, a car with a few miles on it, useful stuff. They had worn the clothes in their closets. They cooked in their kitchens and ate meals together. Friends gave friends kids clothes when they were out grown. People actually had savings accounts, and retirement funds of some sort. All the children WERE average and that was ok. Imagine that…

Household expenses included housing 30%, food 30%, cars and transportation 10%, vacation 3%, savings/retirement 5%. No credit card debit. No $900/month car payments. No student loan repayments (still outstanding 10 years after graduation). No flipping spec houses. No school teachers with their life savings in high flying tech stocks. No stock tips from housekeepers. With this kind of personal stability, there is energy left over for random acts of kindness, creativity and civility.

Nobody goes there anymore. “Anger” is the new recycling – I’m not making this up, it was the subject of a recent newsletter article. Returning to the “centered” place is a long way off in the future. But, I’m optimistic. There are a lot of good, reasonable people who will have to step forward. It is just beginning to happen in some isolated outposts. The trip back is going to be interesting.

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