broadsideblog

Recession-Stressed? Go Shooting, Fence In Your Driveway, Play Poker…

In business on September 3, 2009 at 8:39 am
Portrait of a boy wearing a mask holding a rifle

Image by Powerhouse Museum Collection via Flickr

Like many of us, I’m really sick of this recession! I lost my last full-time job in June 2006 and some of my wary, strapped freelance clients are paying 60 to 90 days late. Things were slow enough I recently took a six-day break, grateful to be able to stay with my Dad in Toronto, (free, the right price) just to feel human again.

Today’s New York Times business section has my story about how some Americans are managing their recession-related stress of lost/lowered income, disappearing clients, late payers, restricted access to credit. For many of us, it’s not a two or three-month sprint through a temporary rough patch, but a brutal, wearying year-long-plus marathon with no finish line anywhere in sight and tightening your belt means adding a new notch almost every month.

One female contractor in Connecticut heads to the shooting range and blasts off a few cathartic rounds. Another contractor, in suburban New York, who’s had to lay off half his employees, counts on the low-key, low-cost comfort of his longstanding poker game. I found a guy who happily admits he’s seen as a tad eccentric by his suburban North Carolina neighbors, who goes out and fences in his driveway. He’s not putting up a fence — but putting on a fencer’s metal mesh mask and publicly practicing the noble art of swordplay. As a former saber fencer, this makes perfect sense to me. It’s a lovely, elegant, time-tested way to burn off some angst.

If you, too, have been hit hard by this rotten, relentless recession, what are you doing to stay sane these days?

  1. Anybody lucky enough to have a par course within reach is home free. There may be a revival of sorts going on with this late-60s era lovely, fresh-air, not-so-tough fitness trail because the one that keeps me sane, in the park a half-mile or so from my home, has actually gotten new equipment in the last month. Tiny Asian girls approaching me on the balance beam last week: “Oh, new bolonce beam! New bolonce beam!” The par course is age-neutral.

  2. Parcours is great… we don’t have one anywhere nearby. Anything free, outdoors and social is top of my list. I also take jazz dance class, play softball most Saturdays until the snow flies and try to get into NYC once a week, regardless of cost, for a boost of fun and city energy. The challenge is finding ways to be social and have fun without it costing too much money.

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