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Do Nothing

August 10, 2011

I wanted to share some insights that Medora #3 – who the earth has been blessed with for 92 ½ years and still counting – shared with me back during the financial crisis of 2008.  That same advice is particularly relevant given what’s been going on recently with the financial markets.

Medora #3 was born in 1918 just as World War I was ending.  Her earliest childhood memories were of the Roaring Twenties and she came of age of during The Great Depression.  She’s lived through several overseas deployments of my grandfather during World War II, lived in Europe during the Marshal Plan, adjusted to the societal changes of the Civil Rights movement in the Deep South in the 1960s, cared for a chronically ill child and elderly parent, buried both parents and her husband before the age of sixty, buried her oldest child and helped raise grandchildren.  So, she’s lived through some of life’s major stressors and calamities. I guess if you live as long as she has, that’s expected.

I’ve always respected and regarded her insight and wisdom.  My aunt evenly jokingly refers to her as “Mrs. God” at times because she always seems to be right.  Not that she thinks she is right –there’s not a bit of arrogance or haughtiness about her – but rather because others recognize that she is.  It’s that gift of wisdom that she possesses that makes her my “go to” person for solving the dilemmas I face and have faced in my own life.

So, I called her one fall day in 2008 in a bit of a panic.  “What should we do?” I asked.  “About what?” she responded. “About everything going to hell-in-a-handbasket. About the prospects of another Great Depression. What should I do? Should I stock pile anything?  How should I prepare for my family?” Her one word response? “Nothing.” “What??” I exclaimed, “nothing?” “What you young people forget is that things change. It won’t always be like this. When I was a child during The Depression, most people still had jobs, people still lived life.  We helped those who needed it and just got up each morning and tended to our business. We didn’t panic,” she said. “It took awhile but things did get better – so you just have to be patient and get up every day and do what you’re supposed to do.”

Wow. Her simple insight very quickly calmed my fears as I realized that she was – once again – absolutely right.  So, even as we face another wild ride with the economy I recall that conversation with my grandmother in 2008 and I am at peace.

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