There’s a lot of talk about the future at the moment – it’s only natural, given the crisis that the world is currently struggling with – we’re all desperate for an end to come and to be able to enjoy better times.
I’ve often pondered on how all this seems to have dropped on us from out of the blue; although, I’d suggest my thinking is erroneous. I’ve read that many scientists predicted we would be facing a pandemic of the kind we are now in the midst of and indeed, they made plans regarding vaccine research and production.
Unfortunately, I didn’t share their foresight – if anything was likely to happen to us, I’d have thought of wars, natural disasters, even a meteor strike, but a global viral pandemic wasn’t on my list of doom – I really didn’t see this one coming.
All this has led me to contemplate about how I tend to look at the future.
Before Covid, I had a perception that I had a fair idea about the future – I made plans (I know, man plans and God laughs); but I’d also come up with some contingencies. Like a lot of us, I took time to envisage what would be coming along in the weeks, months and years ahead, enjoying a sense of comfort that I knew what was likely to be.
Suddenly, being plunged into this crisis, I’ve immediately felt that all my well thought out predictions, have gone out of the window. That false sense of security that I’d enjoyed; thinking I knew what was awaiting me – was just that – a false sense of security; because, in reality, it’s not possible to guarantee anything in the future.
Now that might sound a tad pessimistic and of course the last year or so hasn’t done too much to boost my optimism; but what it has done, has made me be more realistic.
Maybe, if we felt life to be mundane – stuck in a rut even – then you’d’ve said that perhaps it seemed predictable, but the penny has finally dropped with me, that none of us can ever really know what lies ahead (as much as we’d like to!)
The gloomy headlines of – ‘the future is very unpredictable’ (due to the pandemic) – are just stating the obvious and the pandemic hasn’t changed that – it was always so.
Of course, there are different viewpoints on this – some people are fatalists, believing that our futures are pre-ordained and try as we might, we can’t change the inevitable. Others think that the future is entirely in our own hands and that every action we undertake, everything we do and say can shape what lies ahead.
For me, I tend of follow a blending of the two philosophies: I believe that our futures are laid out to an extent, but I also believe we come to “crossroads” at various points in our lives and we have the choice to go one way or another and the path we choose will shape our destiny.
Now, I’m a planner – I like to make plans and find contingencies – it gives me a sense of assurance and certainty; and yes, I will still plan, but maybe a little less vehemently than before; maybe I will be able to be more accepting of waiting to see what comes along and trying to be optimistic about the possibilities.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to do our best to prepare for eventualities – going back to those scientists who predicted a pandemic, their forethought has been an enormous benefit to us all. So yes, thinking about the possibilities of what lies ahead and making provision for the risks we can identify is both sensible and recommended eg it’s a good idea of make a backup of your files once in a while just in case your IT kit decides to take a nosedive!
Indeed, risk management, should be a worthy and vital part of our lives – planning for the possible scenarios – a just in case approach. We can learn from the past and from our previous mistakes – try to avoid getting things wrong again if at all possible.
Rather than worrying about the “uncertainty ahead”, I’d suggest it’s healthier for us to strive for a better future: let’s learn from all of this to help us to carry forward our aspirations. Let’s hope that some of the positive changes we’ve seen now will endure eg a reduction in emissions to help with climate change. Let’s hope that the hardships we’ve endured will make us more open to kindness, thoughtfulness and compassion. Let’s hope that continued scientific and technical advances will help to benefit everyone and everything and further mankind’s knowledge and understanding for good.
Are these simply dreams or can we make them realities?
There are many things for us to learn from all of this; some are painful, some are tragic, some are uncomfortable, but some are full of enlightenment, determination and brightness.
Let’s hold onto our dreams and do our best to try to make it a better future (even if what lies ahead always will be a mystery).