An Essay: Lessons From the Recession, Learned the Hard Way

Notice of termination - pink slip
Notice of termination - pink slip

The pain caused by the recession can't be minimized: millions of homes lost to foreclosure, 8 million jobs erased from the landscape, families displaced, lives disrupted.

But there are a few linings to the recessionary dark cloud that don't get discussed that much. There are people who have been dealt economic blows and have found the mechanisms -- and the strength -- to cope. A few have even thrived with the discovery that less can indeed be more.

Let's face it: Conspicuous consumption has been around for as long as the Joneses and our need to keep up with them. Bigger homes, newer cars, better labels on our jeans, vacations taken with such frequency that you'd think Tahiti was sinking away were all part of the code we lived by.