What will be left when it’s all over.
A few months ago I ventured out of my house and out of my local area. Everything felt normal until I found myself veering to the edge of the pavement as I saw 2 old ladies sat on a bench in front of me. On another occasion, as I waited for the bus I put on my mask in preparation.
Right now the pandemic isn’t over but ‘normal life’ has started up again (even if there are still 101 restrictions in place). Most of us are leaving our houses much more than we were 7 months ago.
But once the pandemic is declared over, social distancing and wearing masks will stay with us even without the rules in place, even if just for a little while.
There will always be things that you need to do but don’t necessarily enjoy.
Often it’s these kinds of things that are good in the long run but in the moment, in the short run you’d rather not bother.
If it’s in a work environment you’ll most likely get it done because you have have to. However, when it comes to your own personal work or projects you might not have a monthly wage to motivate you to get things done.
And so you have to remind yourself of the benefits it will bring in the future.
But also remind yourself that if you don’t do it you’re more than likely to regret it later on when you’re unable to reap the rewards.
When starting something new, whilst it’s great to have a long term strategy, it is also important to focus on the present.
The last thing thing you want to do is get overwhelmed or distracted with where you want to be in a few years time.
The long term strategy gives you something to focus on and can help you figure out what you need to be doing day to day in order to achieve the bigger goal.
But what can end up happening is that you’re so focused on the little things you’re doing each day that you aren’t actually moving any closer to your goal.
And so it’s important to ensure that you regularly check in to keep things moving forward.
Most of us have some idea of where we’d like to be in 5, 10 maybe even 20 years time.
But sometimes the gap between now and then, is pretty hazy.
You know what you want but you’re not quite sure how you’ll get there.
And sometimes long-term plans change.
Maybe you happened to find something you care for more than what you’re currently trying to pursue. Maybe you realised that you don’t really want the thing you were working for. Or maybe you just feel like like doing something new.
For many people they actually end up having a better sense of direction when they change their plans. The gap becomes a little less hazy.
The reason for this is changing plans is a risk and they want it to be worth it.
This is one of the easiest ways to feel better about life.
Instead of gazing into the abyss of nothingness wondering what the future will hold, you can set yourself up with something to look forward to.
It could be a catch up with a friend in a few days time or a holiday a year from now. But it could also be you making time for a hobby you enjoy one evening after work.
I think the reason having something to look forward to can help us feel better is because it gives us some indication of how the future will be. Granted we can’t predict everything but if we can set one or even a few things in stone then suddenly the future isn’t so frightening.
It’s common to fear the unknown and so if you can in some way bring some sense of knowing or stability, it helps make things easier.
I think it’s fair to say that most people are enticed by new things. A new habit, a new opportunity even a new person. As much as we can fear the new there are many instances when it actually excites us.
Yet, in many cases instead of going towards the new thing, we look back.
We look back with this cosy feeling of nostalgia for what once was or what it’s time to move on from and all of a sudden we begin to hesitate.
That’s when the fear and ‘what ifs’ kicks in.
What if things don’t work out?
What if this new thing isn’t better than what I’ve left behind?
What if I have to start over again?
The what if questions we ask are rarely framed in a helpful way and only serve to amplify the fear.
The alternative to looking back is to focus on the possibilities that will come from embracing the new and learning to trust that you’ll be fine.
In challenging times it can be difficult to look to the future and think about all the possibilities. Your mind will be going round in circles and you’ll be asking yourself questions like:
How can I get there when there is all this stuff going on right now?
When you’re caught up in a challenging situation it can be hard to see past it, especially when you have no idea how you’ll overcome it.
But, if you start with believing you can figure things out and then try and work towards a solution, you might find that you’re more capable than you thought.
Nobody is living their life exactly as they would like right now. But in this space of uncertainty, limited in person interaction and staying inside you’ll get a pretty good idea of how you want to live your life.
Ask yourself: What do I miss?
What do I want to do with my day?
And give yourself time to daydream.
Lie down maybe even sit outside in the sun if possible and just daydream. Daydream about your job, how do you earn a living, what is your working life like.
Daydream about how you spend your free time, the people in your life, how you dress and any other bit of your life that’s on your mind.
Then come back to your reality and think about how different the daydream is to your current life.
It’s not bad if they greatly differ but it might serve as a reminder that you’re not living the life you truly want.
A major contributing factor to moving forward in life is being able to let things go.
It could be physical possessions, people or memories and experiences.
An easy example is if you tried something and it didn’t work out. If you can’t let go of the thing that didn’t work you may find that it underlies future situations when you try something new.
Suddenly you’ve become someone that believes that nothing will work out for you, you become closed off to new things and remain stagnant.
That may seem extreme but that’s the reality of life. You won’t realise how much that one situation affected you until you’re randomly pondering life one Sunday afternoon.
I don’t think there’s one specific way to let go, what works for one may not work for another so it’s important to figure it out for yourself.
There must be some explanation for why we do it.
When you don’t want to do something or you know it won’t be easy, putting it off feels good. There’s pleasure in indulging in the freedom of future deadlines, future work or future responsibilities.
But that doesn’t mean that you can avoid them forever. That pleasurable feeling of freedom and not doing what you “posed to do” can’t last. You see the thing is whether you do it now or later you still have to get it done.
Instead of indulging in procrastination pleasure followed by an intense stressful period, choose to indulge in productivity pleasure and give yourself as much time as you can in order to do things well.
Sure pressure creates diamonds but constantly putting yourself through stress when you don’t need to could result in insomnia, chest pain and diarrhoea.
You might be used to doing things one way but that’s no reason not to try something new.