In the beginning of the worst economic crisis since World War Two, Europeans are questioning the political decisions that have brought them here.
They wonder whether their hopes for themselves, their children and their countries will ever be met. Maybe, they have begun thinking, expectations were too high to begin with.
The picture couldn't have been more different a decade ago.
Then, Europe's economies were booming and the euro that now binds 17 members of the European Union together was showing its benefits, especially for weaker countries that enjoyed decreased borrowing costs and reduced exchange rate risk.
It was a time when anything seemed possible.
As the boom has gone bust, governments have cut spending, sometimes drastically, fired public workers and raised taxes.
A year ago, Reuters spoke with five families - in Greece, Romania, Germany, Britain and Spain -- about how they were coping with the austerity measures. Since then, the measures have kicked in, the economic outlook has darkened and the very stability of the euro zone is under threat.
Here's how those families are coping now: