When is a recession no longer a recession?  Well, forget the official pundits and guess-masters who have picked some semi-arbitrary date in 2009, 2010, or 2011; this thing ends when you say it ends.  It ends when you feel more comfortable about your job, your mortgage, your spending vs. earnings, your kids' future.  When the bad news is not so bad because car sales or retail sales are off "just" 20% instead of 30%, that's not really a very reassuring sign of a comeback if it continues at the level for months and months, is it?

Everyone has to deal with this situation in his or her own way- by cutting back , by reassessing, by planning, by changing plans.  At the same time, the weight of this on many people's shoulders can become more than a nagging pain if they don't find some sane, stress-reduction outlet- an occasional night out, a weekend trip to a Neighbor Island, a good laugh with family and friends, a couple of days off to simply read on the beach )with sunscreen, of course).

So the question of when does this thing end is really an open-ended question with individual answers.  There is no single date or time that it all turns around.  And things won't be like they were for many people for a long time.  How we help each other along the way says a lot about Hawaii, its people, and its character; and it just might make the tough times and arduous climb back up more bearable.  Think about it...