Saturday, February 28, 2009

Even More Evidence This Is The Best Recession EVER!*

What if instead of going to the movies and sitting in the dark for two hours, that people actually engaged in an activity that made them interact and have fun together? What if instead of buying your children expensive video games, that you actually purchased something that was cheaper and would give them memories for the rest of their lives?

What if the Recession actually brought couples and families closer together?

According to this article in The National Post, this is exactly what is happening. Without as much money to spend, adults and children are turning to each other (shock!) and playing more board games to fill the extra time. Most board games run under $20 and give you hours and hours of entertainment and quality time with your loved ones.

You tell me, is this such a horrible thing?

*Thanks to Jacob Glass for the idea for this blog post.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More Evidence This is the Best Recession EVER!

"Julie From Staten Island"

In the midst of cut-backs, scale-backs, and fall-backs, it's nice to know that there is still entertaining and fun affordable theater out there to be enjoyed.For only $20, I saw, "Julie From Staten Island," a fabulous play in Manhattan, featuring the multi-talented and enthusiastic Julio Vincent Gambuto. This is a wonderful show for anyone who ever been pulled by conflicting "shoulds" between their family, their adult peers, and their community. How does a young Italian gay One Life To Live fan from Staten Island navigate these different worlds? You'll have to come see the play to find out. I promise you will never see a C-Town store or Erika Slezak quite the same way again.

For more information, press here

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How to Have Your Best Recession EVER Tip #10

Make A Gratitude List Every Day

I have found this to be an essential tool whenever things are not going my way. If I'm feeling upset, angry, sad, or freaked out about the future, doing a gratitude list always helps to alter my mood. A gratitude list is simply taking stock of what you can recognize you are grateful for right now (because all we have is right now). There's no limit on how many things to list, I generally find that five or six in the morning sets me on the right course. My list may include:

I am grateful for my partner today
I am grateful I am still alive today
I am grateful for my apartment today
I am grateful my family is healthy today
I am grateful for my work today
I am grateful for the 13 people who read this blog every day

See how it goes? Making a gratitude list every day is like working out a muscle—the more often you do it, the better it makes you feel. I encourage any one reading this to share with me what you feel grateful for in the comments below. I guarantee if you do this several times every day, then you will definitely have your Best Recession EVER!

Monday, February 23, 2009

How to Have Your Best Recession EVER Tip #9

Recognize The Recession In Your Mind

Let's face it, most of the people able to read these words are not at dire risk of sleeping in a cardboard box tomorrow. But don't we all fear that is going to happen next week or next month if this Recession keeps up?

In this respect the Recession is not about money, as much as it is about the fear of losing control. Money has come to represent the illusion of having choices, power, options, security, and comfort. The good news is that you have the option to access any of these anytime you want, regardless of how much is in your bank account.

This is because wealth is primarily a mind state. You can be the richest person in the world, but live in emotional poverty. You may have yachts, vacations, homes in the Hamptons, but no one to love you while you sleep at night. Conversely, you may not have an extra dollar to spend this weekend, but can still achieve a plethora of peace and joy simply by changing your "shoulds" about what's happening, calling a friend, volunteering your time, or following any of the Best Recession EVER tips mentioned so far. Donald Trump would probably disagree with me on this, but I wouldn't want to trade places with him, would you?

It's true most of us are having to scale back and make different spending choices than we would have otherwise. But the suffering and agony from making choices is optional. So many people have lost more than 30% of their retirement, but still wake up grateful every day. I also know people who complain and constantly worry even during the best of economic times.

So what choice are you going to make? I guarantee that if you recognize the portion of this Recession that is completely psychological, and if you're willing to change your mind, then you will have your Best Recession EVER.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Alpha Inventions Rocks!

I wanted to thank the good folks at for providing an easy and efficient way to direct some traffic over here to this Should-less blog of mine. This is a wonderful service that can allow your blog page to be seen by hundreds of people who may not have seen it otherwise. Best of all, it is completely FREE, adding to my compiling evidence that this is truly the Best Recession EVER!

Friday, February 20, 2009

How to Have Your Best Recession EVER Tip #8

Going Out Of Business Sales

Yes, I know it's tragic and sad when a business ends. People lose jobs, it's a bad sign of the times, and such. BUT, when the store in question happens to be a Circuit City in Union Square, where the service has been particularly horrible for several years, I don't feel so bad.

When stores close they will typically have going out of business sales. This is the time to do your shopping, for they are going to be a lot more likely to have can't miss bargains and even allow for some haggling. Heck, my partner just got a stack of recordable CD's for 30% off.
So go ahead, find out which businesses are in trouble and take advantage. If you become skilled at doing this, then you will have your Best Recession EVER!

Monday, February 16, 2009

How to Have Your Best Recession EVER Tip #7

How would giving to others make sense at this time? In a world where we are seeing more and more scarcity, with less and less resources, why would you want to do something to help anyone else get more? Because

giving to others feels good.

Now I'm not necessarily talking about money here, though that's nice to do if you can. But there are plenty of other ways to help. You can: Volunteer your time; Donate old clothes or toys; Give someone a seat on the subway or bus; Let someone go in front of you in line; Smile at someone on the street; Help an elderly person in your neighborhood run an errand; Offer to give someone a ride if you drive; Call a friend you haven't heard from for awhile; Say 'thank you' to someone who has made a difference in your life.

Remember, most of coping with the Recession has to do with your thoughts. Part of the Recession is financial, but a larger part is psychological. We have no control over the Recession itself, but we do have control over how we react to the Recession.

The typical mindset of someone in a Recession goes something like, "I'm losing things, I'm scared of losing more, therefore I must protect everything." The mindset of someone who is thriving can say, "I have abundance around me. I may not have the money to offer, but I still have the ability to make a difference in my world and have much to give."

In what ways can you give now? I mentioned some above, but I would love to read comments from others about how you can display generosity and compassion in these troubled times. I guarantee that if you push yourself to help others, even just a little, then you will have your Best Recession EVER.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How to Have Your Best Recession EVER Tip #6: Resisting Valentine's Shoulds

Let's face it, this day exists for ONE reason only:

To make you afraid enough to buy things you don't really need.

If that makes sense, class dismissed.

But if you're still holding onto any of the myths and "shoulds" around Valentine's Day, then please read on. Because Valentine's Day is one of the most cruel and blatant forms of baloney placed on consumers. The idea behind all the ads for flowers, jewelry, candy, and everything else for sale is: "Buy this product or you will be alone and no one will love you."

Keep in mind, none of us have to be victims of this manipulation, ever. Now, in the midst of our worse economic climate in 70 years, it is essential that all of us get smarter about how we are receiving messages from the advertisers, and how we challenge them. We can always choose to believe fearful messages, or resist them. But how?

If you're not in a relationship:
Congratulations! You are independent, courageous, and not a victim of fear-mongering which tells you 10x a day that your value is based on having a partner. Please don't allow the corporate advertisers to convince you that there is anything wrong, abnormal, or less-than about you because you're single. Remember, they will try, and try a lot.

If you're in a relationship:
COMMUNICATE! Now more than ever it is essential you and your partner work together as a team to cope with setbacks from the Recession. This means possibly having an uncomfortable conversation about money, values, and coping with economic changes. Please, do not allow the corporate advertisers to convince you to spend money you don't have and then go into credit card debt in order to prove a point. They will try to make you feel like you are a bad lover, thrifty, unromantic, or less-than if you don't spend a lot of money. And they will try a lot.

All of this requires you to challenge some long held beliefs, take some new actions, and actually talk to your loved ones about your concerns. But I promise you that if you try this you will end up having your Best Recession EVER!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another Great Piece About Phelps

Apparently I'm not the only one annoyed with the scapegoating and misplaced blame. Press here to read a wonderful commentary about Michael Phelps, Fruit Loops, and Elizabeth Hasselback.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bonging Shoulds

This may be the Best Recession Ever but when it comes to applying puritanical anachronistic standards to public figures, there is a resurgence of blame to go around. It is important to point out that the media reaction to Michael Phelps indulgence of smoking weed illustrates the very worst societal "shoulds" have to offer.

To be clear, I'm not promoting smoking pot. What I find offensive are the "shoulds" that have followed: He shouldn't have done it, an olympic athlete shouldn't use drugs, he should be a "role model." Because of these "shoulds" Mr. Phelps has now lost his deal with Kellogg's cereal, and has been the subject of humiliating and cruel news reports.

It never ceases to amaze me how society scapegoats the very elements of which it is most afraid. Michael Phelps became a symbol of what WASPS hold sacred in this country: youth, purity, strength, a Disneyfied sense of "goodness." Now that he has been revealed to be just a normal fun-loving flawed 23-year-old he has become a source of fear. He threatens what many Americans hold as "sacred." The message he conveys is, "If I don't have to be perfect then you don't have to be perfect either."

Can't we move past this already? We already have a president who freely admits to marijuana use in his past. Isn't it time for a different dialogue? What if instead of finger pointing and blame we turn it around and ask, "What am I afraid of?" What if instead of scapegoating we take responsibility for our own lives and let others live their own. Perhaps by doing this we can actually have a real discussion about the problematic use of drugs and focus on helping each other create more meaningful and satisfying lives. I'm in, are you?

Friday, February 6, 2009

How to Have Your Best Recession EVER Tip #5

Having trouble sleeping? Finding your mind consumed with fears about how terrible everything is going to be? Doubting that you're going to be able to make it through all this?

Then I have one very important tip for you:

Shut off the news. Now.

They are here to scare you, not to inform you. If I believed the news then I'd be convinced I'm about to lose all my savings.
And if that doesn't happen then I'll lose my home.
And if that doesn't happen then I'll die from the latest flu strain / trendy disease.
And if that doesn't happen then I'll get killed by a terrorist.
And if that doesn't happen then I'll be injured by the random violence of angry teenagers.
And if that doesn't happen, then there's always global warming.

When ever I turn on the news, the basic just of the message I get is, "Things are horrible...and they're only going to get worse." Then conveniently enough, I see advertisements for medications to treat indigestion, migraines, cholesterol, depression, and, insomnia.

See what's happening? There is a billion dollar industry behind making you as afraid as possible so you'll need the products the corporations are paying millions of dollars to advertise. If you MUST satisfy your thirst for news, then I suggest going to a larger newspaper or website such as the New York or L.A. Times. Or, if you're actually wanting constructive advice on how to handle the Recession, try checking out Suze Orman's show or her website.

You don't have to live your life afraid every day. You can choose to shut off the news, ignore the messages of doom and death, and apply reasonable scrutiny toward the information being directed at you. By doing this I guarantee you will have your Best Recession EVER!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

More Evidence This is the Best Recession EVER!

Even without money, you still have access to a wealth of information and media entertainment here on the internet. You could watch clips on YouTube, catch up on older shows at, or even read fascinating blogs about soap characters at

Of course, this is a shameless plug for my own work, but whether you are a soap opera fan, sports fanatic, movie buff, or even passionate about stamp collecting, there is a blog and a community out there. You can learn new information, be entertained for hours, meet people from all over the world, all for FREE. This serves as even more evidence that this is the Best Recession EVER!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How to Have Your Best Recession EVER Tip #4

Recognize That Good Outcomes Come From Bad Events

Take a look at your partner or best friend. Then ask yourself: If everything went the way you planned, would that person be with you now? If you had gotten every job you wanted, lived everywhere you wanted, and spent all the money you wanted, would this person be in your life now?

In my case, I can say definitely no. Meeting my partner was the result of MANY tragic things that happened in my life, the least of which was getting evicted and not being able to afford to live in San Francisco. Writing my book was the result of not being able to find work when I moved to New York. Everything that is wonderful in my life now is the end result of not getting what I wanted at some point.

The Recession can teach all of us how to adjust and thrive in the midst of disappointment and inconvenience. We can learn and grow from these events, or we can play victim and suffer. We cannot control the Recession, but we can control how we react to the Recession. If you choose to use this time as an opportunity instead of tragedy, then you will have your Best Recession EVER!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How to Have Your Best Recession EVER Tip #3

Tip #3 Talk About Money

Now I know many of us were raised not to discuss such "private" matters with others. We were told we "shouldn't" discuss money issues with friends, acquaintances, strangers, whomever. I'm here to say that this is one of the WORST things we can do during a recession.

Part of what makes money challenging to manage is the shame of not having it. This shame may lead one to agree to go out to a dinner they can't afford, go to an event with friends that doesn't fit into their budget, get placed in a situation where they are asked to spend money they don't really have.

It doesn't have to be like this. One of the most liberating and empowering things you can say to a friend is,

"I'm sorry, I can't go out, I'm on a budget and can't afford that."

What feeling comes up for you when you read that? Dread? Fear? Excitement? No matter what feeling it is, you still have the right to say no and protect you dwindling funds. When you stand up for yourself, it will make it easier for others to do the same. If you practice this more often, you'll be guaranteed to feel more in control, and have your BEST RECESSION EVER!