I was one of the first people in my area to lose my job. Spring 2008. Had a steady job one morning, and by mid-afternoon the entire office was shut down. Ouch.
It was pretty traumatic at the time, but it's turned out to be a blessing, in many ways.
When I came home from work early that day, my Fidelio was an absolute mensch about it all. Kind, loving, and supportive in every way that counts. After some of the initial shock wore off, we sat down and took a hard look at our finances, and came to the conclusion that if we were careful with our resources, I didn't need to rush out and grab the first job I could find.
I’m still not working, at least not for a paycheck. And as the economy continues to soften, Fidelio's pension goes farther and farther. (He's retired military.) What we used to refer to as his "fixed income" we now think of as his "steady paycheck." We don’t spend what we used to, but we don’t do without anything we need, either. And because we’re smart with our money, we’ve been able to help some of our family and friends over some of the rough spots, too.
We spend our time differently now, because we have more time to spend. I live a little slower now, and breathe a little deeper. My sweetie and I take a walk together every evening now. Backyard BBQ and birdwatching has replaced dinner and a movie. Because we enjoy good wine, Fidelio has learned to make it. He took it up initially with an eye to saving money, but he’s made a hobby of it and thoroughly enjoys it. I’ve expanded my garden, which I’ve wanted to do for years but haven’t had the time. When there's an excess, I take it to the local food bank, sometimes the farmers' market.
The main thing I’ve learned in all this has been to quit looking out at the world to see if we have enough. Once I started looking at what's right here, turns out that we have plenty.