This was written April 23, 2020. As with the March 18, 2020 post Cheerfully Adjusting In A Coronavirus World, I have not updated it and so it reflects my thinking at that time. This is a deliberate choice for historical purposes.
I have been asking myself this question for the past few weeks: Are we already in the next Great Depression? I’m far past the point of discussing how we got here and whether or not we did or are doing the right thing. We’re here and we aren’t going back to what was before. The only thing we can do is:
- assess where we are now
- decide what we think is going to develop in the coming months
- plan accordingly.
Notice I said what we think is going to happen, not what we want to happen. I can wish for things to be a certain way all I want, but that may not be the reality I am forced to live with. My overall thought is that with the very real possibility that we are already in the next Great Depression, I think the wisest course of action is to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Is the Next Great Depression Already Here?
I asked in my most recent newsletter what you are struggling with right now. Even though I write about things that interest me here, I also write because I care about the people who read what I write. Whether you are someone who has been with me since 2005 or you just found my site today, you matter to me.
Any time I’ve had a significant concern about a situation over the past fifteen years, I’ve mentioned it. When I saw potential trouble coming in a few specific situations over the years, I spoke up because I care about the people who take the time to read, subscribe, and interact with me. I feel a moral and spiritual obligation to say something. You can do with that information whatever you choose. If you disagree with me, my feelings are not hurt. By sharing what I perceive, I have done my Christian duty to care for others. I cannot and do not expect everyone to agree with me. I do not profess to have any special revelation. I can only offer careful and measured insight in a kind way for other people to consider.
I’ve been wrestling for the past few weeks with what to do here. I know we are all tired of the coronavirus. We’re tired of being locked down. We miss our loved ones. We’re tired of wiping down our groceries. We’re tired of watching people argue over what to do. We miss trips to Michaels and Hobby Lobby. We’re tired of being anxious for those we care about. We want to think and talk about something different. A number of you specifically mentioned this very idea when you replied to my last newsletter.
The reality is I’m tired of it, too. We locked down our family a few weeks before any states did. By the time this all hit the mainstream, I had been researching and thinking about it daily for the better part of two months. I was already worn down by it before it even “officially” hit the national radar. I’ve had a brief period of time each week since the lockdown when I’ve felt sad, claustrophobic, and anxious.
I would love to go wander through Barnes & Noble, Lands End, and Hobby Lobby today. I try not to think about the fact that this isn’t going to happen for a long, long time because it makes me sad. When the thoughts break in I briefly consider them, push them aside, focus on something for which I’m thankful, and find something productive to do that engages my mind. But I would be lying if I said this isn’t wearing on me. It is.
But as much as I want things to be normal, I simply don’t think things are going to rapidly improve and go back to “normal” at all. I spoke at length about this in my last video in my forum. If you want to understand where I am coming from, I encourage you to watch this.
Preparing for the Next Great Depression
So what do you and I do next? The reality is I’ve been preparing all of us for this day for well over a year.
- If you’ve downloaded and taken the time to do everything in A Quiet Simple Life Series, you have the start of a solid foundation in your home and relationships.
- If you took advantage of all the content in A Quiet Simple Life Planner and Guidebook, then you’ve already developed routines and rhythms in your personal life and home that help keep calm in your home and relationships.
- If you followed the information I provided in the Coronavirus forum, then none of this took you by surprise. You had weeks to learn, research, think, and consider what to do.
So I honestly feel like I was preparing me and you for all of this without even knowing what was coming. I didn’t envision a pandemic when I started. I honestly was more concerned about other threats that I mentioned in other videos (although I did do one that touched on the threat of a world-wide medical situation). I simply felt compelled to do these things.
Now I feel compelled to ask you this question:
If you knew today that we were four weeks into the next Great Depression, what would you do right now? What would you do tomorrow? Next week? How would you switch gears to prepare yourself, your loved ones, and your home for what is now in the early stages of developing?
Or, in other words, six to twelve months from now what will you regret not doing sooner?
So what I’m trying to unpack is how do I encourage, help, and challenge you and me during this time because I really do think it is quite likely we are at the start of something bad. Do I know it for sure? Absolutely not and any person who thinks he or she can tell you what the next several months are going to look like is just making it up.
No one knows.
There is no roadmap for this. No history to look back on. There are so many conflicting opinions out there, but the only ones that make logical sense to me are the ones that paint a pretty bleak picture of the next several months to even years. I have yet to find a logical argument for things not being bad that doesn’t focus on “because it has to be this way” type things. (If you know of one, please share it in the comments.) Beyond that, no one (besides the Lord) has the slightest clue what is going to happen – especially with a presidential election that offers completely different paths for the future of our country. (Every time I even start to contemplate a particular outcome, I have to stop. I cannot even deal with that possible development right now.)
So that’s what I’m thinking about today and have been thinking about for some time.
The Loneliness of Prophets
At one point in my young adult life I felt drawn to the prophet Jeremiah. Years later I read a discussion in which someone assigned personality types to various people in the Bible and Jeremiah was considered an INFJ so it made sense to me.
Sometimes I get tired of being the person who sees trouble coming. I get tired of being the one who has to warn people. I don’t want to be seen as the fear monger, Debbie Downer, or the person always looking for trouble. I don’t even have to look for it. It just jumps out at me whether it is bad people or bad organizations or whatever. David can testify to this because he’s seen it happen many times. It’s just there.
But, again, if I see potential trouble coming and I don’t say something then I have failed the people I care about. And, yes, that includes all of the people who are online friends that I’ve (mostly) never met in real life.
Creating a Cozy Life in the Next Great Depression
So I’m trying to find the balance. I’m trying to find the balance in warning people and offering solutions to what I think may be unfolding.
- If we are in the midst of a protracted downturn, almost everyone who reads this site is going to be faced with the necessity of adapting. So how can I best use my research skills to bring encouragement and ideas?
- What kinds of videos should I make that will be both helpful and encouraging?
- How can I build up the faith of my sisters (and brothers) in Christ?
I’m not expecting anyone to answer these questions for me (although you are welcome to leave your opinion in the comments). I’m simply sharing out loud what’s been running through my mind for weeks.
I write about creating a cozy life of peace, understanding, joy, beauty, and faith. If we are now one month into the next Great Depression, we are all going to need these in abundance.
I know some people are thinking that if we buy into the idea that things are going to get worse and prepare in that direction, then we are contributing to making it happen. I understand the argument, but it doesn’t sway me. I’m not responsible for what 330,000,000 people do in the USA (in addition to everyone else around the world). I’m responsible for my home, my loved ones, and my circle of influence. I can only make the best choices for my home and life. It is, in fact, my God-given responsibility to do so.
Each person, in turn, must decide what that means for them. Some people will completely disagree with what I’ve written here and I’m fine with that. You are free to disagree and make completely different decisions if that is what you feel led to do. You may very well be right and I may be wrong. We will celebrate if I’m wrong and you are right!
But I do think that there will be an increased focus around here on simple living, saving money, making do, and such. That is where my brain is right now as I think about how to care for my own family. Relaxed homeschooling, gifted/2e parenting, only child parenting, Christian faith, home business and all the rest are also a big part of what I write and that won’t change.
So as I’ve wrestled with these thoughts while observing events around me it’s become clear that it’s time to do my best to cheerfully prepare for what seems to be developing right now. Thankfully I will be happy to be wrong and won’t be any worse off for things that I do in the meantime.
Do you think we are in the next Great Depression? I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments.
Mary Ann Sorensen
Oh my goodness, Sallie – I totally feel the same way you do!!!!!!! I, too, am compelled to write in my blog on Saturday my thoughts about all of this. And, yes, I do believe we are headed into the Depression era once again and the scary thing about it is – the people. We haven’t been a “make-do” society for a long time and the people won’t know how to appropriately handle it as we’ve already seen just going through this. And I, too, am afraid of the possible “completely different path” for our future when the election comes along (the Lord totally protected us from getting that particular path in the last election and we need to pray that He will do that again!). Another good book in the Bible about all of this is Habakkuk. Alistair Begg had a great sermon this last Sunday at his church (you can find it on YouTube – it’s titled “Singing in the Pain”). Thank you for posting your feelings and I look forward to reading what you have planned in future posts.
“Leaning, leaning, leaning on His everlasting arms.
Leaning, lea(r)ning, leaning on His everlasting arms.”
Trusting Him in everything, always, through plenty, through hunger, through war, through strife.
We are the generation that has received everything and now we could be faced with losing that “everything” and experiencing what so many in the world have experienced for generations. We don’t want to lose our comforts. I have experience deep, frightening pain in my life. I don’t want to go through that again but trusting Him for eternal peace must be my all-in-all.
Peace to you and your readers.
Thank you for your thoughts Sallie.
Sallie, I’ve been trying to formulate an answer to the question in your newsletter, and I really haven’t come up with anything. Mostly what I’m doing at this point is waiting for more and better data. I see the next few months and years as really being up in the air right now. (To us, not to God.) The biggest uncertainties are how soon things will open back up, and whether this pandemic is going to be a one-time event, or something that we will be dealing with for many years, along with its economic and social effects.
It makes perfect sense to me that Jeremiah would be an INFJ!
I have some hope for the future, even if this turns into the next Great Depression. Many people went through serious difficulties after the 2008 crash, and learned a lot about getting by.
Practically, what I have been doing is more focused decluttering. We were already planning on a move next year, but I’m thinking now that it may be a bigger move than we were expecting. So I am carefully considering our possessions and the purposes that they serve. Other than that, I’ve been trying to build up our pantry further and to avoid debt.
Thanks again for your sensible and practical thoughts on this subject. Whether or not we’re in the next Great Depression, the way forward seems much the same for me. My husband and I have always needed to be frugal in our living. We made the decision to move out of the major city where lived almost 20 years ago. We love the rural life because of its simplicity and because it requires a high degree of resourcefulness and the ability to think for one’s self. We live outside of a small college town, where we see such indoctrination and mind control that fully functioning adults cannot even recognize the proper way to cross a street, and will, in fact, walk right in front of a car. Personally, I wonder how they will survive. Maybe with less spendable income, they won’t be able to afford the alcohol they drink while driving around, and won’t need to deposit their empties in our front yard along with their fast food trash, neither of which they would be seen with in such a liberal, eco friendly place as the aforementioned small town. Personally, I hope the next six months take a layer of the pretentious and the artificial off of our lives. This current forced isolation has already begun to show us what’s really important in life.
I think we’re on a cusp, and how we respond in the next few months will reveal what happens.
In the end, I’m preparing slowly and steadily, but am unsure exactly how I want to prepare.