You know, it's hard to tell sometimes if the media is enjoying the flurry of bad news that has engulfed us, if it has grown tired of reporting on it, or if they are really holding back on telling us the really bad stuff. Sitting in front of any news channel for thirty minutes is guaranteed to give anyone a panic attack. Everything seems so out of control, certainly out of the control of the Average Joe. After months of seeing such a bleak scene, many are seeing rainclouds on every horizon.

But today I had an idea not about rainclouds, but about umbrellas. You see, life in this universe of ours isn't easy. We can't control the vast majority of things happening around us. The one constant of life on earth is that rainclouds will come. And, sorry to say, we will be mostly helpless to stop their approach.

At this moment in history (to borrow President Obama's favorite adverbial phrase), people are feeling the rain. For the first time in a long time, Americans are starting to remember what rainclouds look like. Our first instinct is to say, "I don't like this. I want to go back to chilling in the sunlight in my pool chair." We want to run and hide and mourn the loss of said pool chair. We have an overwhelming urge to kick reason and innovativeness out the door and to just scream bloody murder for the entire world to hear.

But that is where umbrellas come in. You can't stop the rain from coming, but you can buy an umbrella and open it. Just because most things are out of our control, that doesn't mean everything is. We can do a lot to control the things immediately around us. We can learn to be frugal (look it up in Wikipedia). We can learn to organize our lives and cut our waste. We can learn to put away more than a little something for a rainy day.

If there is one that is sure, it is that rainclouds pass. Don't bother freaking out. It's a waste of time, air, and usually resources. Trust in your ability to solve problems. You will be pleasantly surprised at who you've become when the clouds clear.

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