Stuck in this for Another Four Years

Is that thought uncomfortable?

And what if things are never to get better?

Unlikely? Unfair? Unthinkable?

Here’s a thought: Things getting worse don’t automatically hold a promise of getting better again ever. Not even speaking of getting better soon.

When the World War I broke out in the summer of 1914, the saying went it would be “Over by Christmas”. It took… a little longer.

What’s the point of painting such a bleak picture?

I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know for sure that we will be stuck in this for another four years. But we might – and it’s useful to entertain that possibility.

“(…) if you have high expectations of how smoothly life will glide forward every day, you will be routinely disappointed and therefore prone to anger. Lower those expectations, and the world becomes a less frustrating and therefore more delightful place.“

Seneca quoted in Derren Brown’s Happy

In addition, “letting go” the hope of things “soon back in normal” will allow you to better adapt to the abnormal. It might even make it outright enjoyable.

Yesterday I had a Zoom call with my friend Adrian. I was impressed by his microphone (mounted on a Rode PSA1 Boom Arm) and the quality of his picture (he was in the focus and his background was blurred like in a portrait photograph). I told him I was impressed. He said he thought it made sense to invest into a good mic and a gadget that would allow him use his mirror-less camera instead of a webcam, while we’re all in this online situation.

Makes sense. After all: Better camera and mic in your meetings make you look (and sound) better. While you may say that you don’t need all that, because you’re keeping your webcam off anyway – right now there is an increasing number of people like Adrian who are gearing up to impress from their home-office.

Maybe you don’t care about that – but why then were you earlier spending all that money on clothes, cosmetics, haircuts and <insert your favorite status-raising artifact/procedure>?

Every week I get involved in conversations on “where we’ll travel when we’ll be able to travel again”, “how nice it will be to do a face-to-face workshop in the office again” or “how amazing it will be to go for drinks after work again”.

The frustration that follows is inevitable and unnecessary.

If we start with “perhaps we’ll be stuck in this for another four years”, we can start talking about “what are the coolest skills one can pick up from YouTube”, “what board games are the most fun to play with your friends online” and “how to make the best macarons at home”.

Live today.

And if, by sudden twist, things do get back to normal as soon as tomorrow you’ll have all the good things of the old days PLUS you’ll be able to make your own macarons!

Photo by Atle Mo on Unsplash

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