As it becomes more and more obvious that things are not ‘going back to normal’ any time soon, all of us find ourselves dealing with uncertainty in one form or another.
Like many people I know, I received an email on Friday to say that the publishing company I had a big project lined up with is considering what projects to postpone or cancel (with the implication being it’s most of them).
As well as financial worries like this, we are having to deal with uncertainty about our health, and the health of our loved ones, and how life might change drastically in a variety of ways (good and bad) going forward.
Human beings generally HATE dealing with uncertainty. We want to believe that we have control over our own destinies. We ask each other interview questions like, ’Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?’ and plan holidays and other events a year or more in advance.
The truth is..
But the truth is, we never actually have any control over the future. A lot of the time we get lucky and things do pan out the way we envisaged them. But quite often they don’t. And ultimately that isn’t even always a bad thing.
Obviously I don’t think that losing someone to this awful virus is ever a good thing, but we do need to recognise that a lot of the time we can’t actually know the eventual outcome of what is happening. For example, I can think of plenty of times when I didn’t get a job, and it turned out to be a major positive.
So, given that we don’t know what will happen, good or bad, and can’t control it anyway, it is a peculiarly futile kind of self-torture to spend time worrying about it.
It’s not about being passive.
I’m not saying that you should be passive and do nothing. There are probably lots of things you can be doing now to maximise the chances of good outcomes for you and your family, but that’s very different from agonising over things that might well never happen.
So, make your plans, but, as much as possible, try and stay focused on the present, and on the pleasures that you can get out of life now, whatever they may be. For me, it’s spending more time with my kids, and deepening those relationships, fully savouring my daily walk in the woods and fields, sitting in the sun in my garden. I’m aware as never before just how lucky I am to have those simple pleasures.
What can you find to focus on instead of worrying about an unknown future?