Spent today feeling bizarrely cheerful. For most of the weekend, I was really stressed about the whole stock market thing. For about ten years, I've had around $20,000 invested in the S&P 500. The number has never really gone up, the number has never really gone down. Oh, at one point it was $23, and at another it was $18...but basically, it's just been like a savings account. Clearly in the midst of this huge financial crisis, it's crazy to hang on to it. Right? Right?? But apparently sometime yesterday I decided that I didn't care, and that I was hanging on to it. Not because I thought it would financially reward me, but because it felt like the right thing to do. If every American pulls her money out of the market, the market collapses. That's depression. So we can't. Even if, as individuals, we'd be better off to pull our money out, as members of a collective society, it would be the wrong choice. Every individual who gains basically screws his or her neighbor. And you know, I don't want to be one of the bad guys. I just don't.
Every time I read an apocalyptic book, I know that I'd be one of the quickly dead. It makes them less fun than other books. But I would share my soup. If we were down to two bottles of water, I'd let my neighbors with the babies have mine. It's not that I'm suicidal--I'm not, not at all. And it's not that I'm crazy generous or all about sacrifice--I'm not spending my free time working in a soup kitchen or traveling to 3rd world countries to build wells. But as misanthropic as I am, I know that there does exist a life not worth living, and it's the one where you put yourself first at all moments. It's not for me. I figure that $20K is toast, and that six years from now, when R is ready for college, we're going to be all about the bargain options. But I decided today to choose that, and it's made me much more cheerful. Probably not so much if it turns out I made that choice so that some greedy Wall Street guys get to keep their billions, but I think I prefer not to think about that potential result. Let's not have a depression this week, k?