The news is getting intense, and there doesn't seem to be anyplace to run or hide. People who have jobs are anxious. People who are looking for jobs are staring down the reality of this economy every day. There is very little certainty, except for the time-honored triumvirate of inevitability that Marvin Gaye memorialized: Taxes, Death and Trouble.
But lest I be accused of a half-empty glass, I keep telling myself to step away from the abyss. There's really nothing to do but make things -- for beauty, for utility, for contemplation, for yourself, for someone else. You can make things, for example, while you watch the news for the knowledge that you're not alone, or to try to figure out what's ahead and how bad this really is. Or when you can't sleep at night.
It's a good time to have more than one project going at once. You want work that satisfies the gods and goddesses of beauty and art, that challenges you creatively and reminds you of your best creative self and artistic aspirations. And you need an option that's portable and doesn't ask much of you, that you can pick up when you feel nervous, or have to sit and wait, or when you just need to do something rhythmic and peaceful. A few years ago, I got rid of most of my yarn stash by knitting easy, basic wool hats, and I donated them all to the local shelter. There are terrific free patterns on Ravelry if you're inclined to do this kind of thing. This isn't limited to stitching; obviously, you can adapt it for whatever skill you have.
This is our silver lining; everyone's remembering how to cook, how to sew, how to use a hammer and nails -- or at least they're realizing that these might be valuable skills, especially if they've forgotten how to do anything but wield a credit card. And it's not competitive homemaking, a la Martha Stewart, but something a little less Type A and a lot more egalitarian, more forgiving and maybe more adventurous.
The age of consumption is over -- that's so, well, yesterday. We're in unmapped territory, and the age of creativity is here. If you've been leaning that way for a long time, you've got a head start.