I think we can all agree that the economy basically sucks, but instead of looking around and asking “Where am I going and what am I doing in this hand basket?”, I have been oddly noticing small changes occurring around me and have been feeling strangely hopeful.

For my own part, I hadn’t really noticed a rise in groceries until my favorite yogurt shot up .20 in the course of a week. I am devoured by school at the moment, and I have been neglecting to shop. So when I come home very late in the evening and am too tired to shop, I poke around in the cupboards and pull together something from whatever is present. This has led me to have finally finished off numerous boxes of pasta, unknown number boxes of rice, and four boxes of couscous. According to my father, he has been forcing my mother to cut the grocery bill and do the same. Of course, she has 32 boxes of cake mix to get through (I know this because I counted last time I was home to prove a point), so that should take a while. Add to that the canned fruits and veggies, the frozen pints of creamer that were on sale, the frozen bread and who the hell knows what else, and Mom shouldn’t need to shop for a year.

A woman whom I regularly encounter at the store has been scaling back as well. Normally, she has at least 8 large bags of chips, and 6 six-packs of soda hanging off the cart-every week-yikes! I’ve noticed those are gone now and can guess that that is probably not a bad thing. I’m sure her dentist would agree.

I’ve heard countless stories of people driving less and I myself am riding my bike to school, the store, or the gym when the weather is decent. In fact, I’ve noticed more bikes at the racks as people kvetch more and more about the price of gas. When I do drive to school I notice there’s actually spaces available because I see more students walking.

New home sales are down. There is a glut of new homes on the market and not a lot of new home construction. All I can say for that is it is about damn time. I was at the point that if I saw one more field, patch of woods, or sliver of grass torn up and planted with a ugly planned community or building-and for no other reason than that the builder could– well, let’s just say I’m sure the grass, field, or woods are feeling mighty grateful for the reprieve.

So let’s see: eating less, exercising more, driving less, and preserving green space…and this in a society with nearly 30% obesity…

I’m not trying to make light of the situation. I understand that is affecting people’s livelihoods, retirement savings, and homes, but just think about this: if you perform a new act for a certain period of time, it becomes habit forming.

The economy will eventually return to some semblance of normal, but I like to think of this time as a case of “forced sanity”, where we all have to do some things we should have been doing all along: eating less, exercising more, driving less, and preserving the green.

Here’s hoping we all get through it in the meantime.

Last blog entry for a while, of course, I’ve been a bad blogger for a few weeks now, but between papers and final exams, this next week is going to be ugly…