Hope for the best and prepare for the worst

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst

Bokang Moeko

Weak consumer spending… and this comes as a surprise!

With surging food inflation, stagnating or receding salaries, long-held fears of South African debt being downgraded into a junk status still preying heavily on our minds, anyone, is surprised that we are no longer consuming anywhere near what we were.

I have got to admit times are hard. For many, everything around us is dictating failure, a time to worry, an occasion to be discouraged and plenty of reasons to quit. Categorically speaking, inflation flouts the fundamental programming that makes us cling to life even in the face of disaster.

Inflation is boring. It limits what we can do, it limits who we are, it limits what we could become. In essence, it makes us hang on to a weaker-self, from deficiency of ability to recognise our present and exhilarating freedom.

I have nice friends; they are educated, don’t have narcotic habits. Their expectations are reasonable even modest: their clothes come from chain stores (but they are still aware that buying expensive clothes works out to be more economical in the end because they last for much longer); their cars are mainstream.

But they are broke. I am “Un-careerist” and my journey to success is certainly not a straight trajectory. We are all broke!

Recently, we decided to start a book club. It dawned on us that learning is needful hence we should cannonball into it. Before that we were typical millennials who knew everything – suffered from delusions of grandeur but were not getting anywhere in life. This is, then, so true – “A little learning is a dangerous thing.”

And, well, besides learning we are learning how to simplify our lives; focusing on our needs because we don’t believe that a downgrade really belongs in the misty pasts of SA.

Despite plans for redress and economic growth being championed, by the Minister of Finance, we are still pessimistic. Why can’t we be when SA is infamous for citizens who burn, literally, everything when things don’t go their way? Well, the government is also not doing much to allay our fears: it’s at war with itself… and that knocks loudly at the consciousness of every altruist.

South Africa’s economic turmoil is, like some say, self-inflicted and the unpredictable happen all the time – political noise can sour, by tomorrow, and the rand slides, speeding up SA’s plunge to junk status.

GDP measure, downgrades are driven mainly by slowing GDP, is arguably SA’s weakest metric. And with a deficit of R2 trillion and a debt that overshot the initial budget by R2.4 billion in 2015-2016 we can’t help but still leave room for disappointment.

Let’s hope for the best but prepare for the worst as well. Should SA’s debt be downgraded things won’t be easy at all. We’ll feel the pain, but more like a sweet torture, soreness-post-crazy-workout kind of pain if we start now to mentally prepare ourselves for what might come.

My friends and I continue reading, practising mindfulness and seeking God. We got our attention off of wants onto needs.

Simply put, we are ready for hard times. We are a family who are still determined to live as luminous as possible, to make a kind of poetry out of the everyday.

But above all, we know: ‘our’ Father will be our anchor through the storm. This might sound a cliché or, in our collective amnesia, has become a blasé. But to those who believe, it is life-giving!

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