I am sure anyone reading this has their own unfair share of questions regarding this. Especially with the journey (individual and collective) through this pandemic years.
It definitely has taken a toll on our psyche and mental health and this journey seems to be more of an odyssey than a marathon and definitely is not a sprint.
So how do we confront uncertainty constructively? How do we navigate the unknown with its obstacles and intricacies coupled with a total lack of expectation and our need to be in control? How do we hold it all together in that vast labyrinth we call our minds when everything and the world as we know it seem to be falling or at least undergoing constant redefinition? What really is happiness? And how important is it?
I cannot honestly say I have an answer to any of the questions. I do not even think that we can circumscribe any of the answers into a particular set of eventualities or even permutations because life and the interplay of life and reality has never been a zero-sum game.
This begs the question what can we do? .
Happiness at best has always been contextual, it is not directly proportional to the amount of wealth, resources or time we have at our disposal. There is interplay of so many things: our culture, where we are from, personality, quality of our relationships, genetic makeup that is outside the scope of this conversation or write up. So one thing we can be clear about is that to a large extent we are the barometers of our own happiness.
The toll of our loss during these difficult times is almost biblical. Lost jobs, relationships, our way of life, altered relationship dynamics, solitary confinement on a national/international scale, death and the fact that we can not accurately even forecast a time when we can say this is over. There is also an array of new problems emanating from solving our current set of problems. It sounds grim, but it may not be such a bad thing depending how we approach and deal with it. .
If a person lives long enough, life seems to be a long list of things we lost that we wanted to keep. This pandemic has made that a painful reality for many of us but has also afforded us the opportunity to take stock of roads and opportunities not taken but most of all highlights what we hold most near and dear to us even though a lot of us have lost things on that very short list.
We can all agree that been able to pay bills and keep a job while allowing us to take of ourselves and financial commitments does not make the cut on many peoples list. While our primary relationships and the quality of those relationships, finding our purpose, preserving our planet and a more utilitarian life for most if not all of us will make it to the majority of our lists.
How much time do we delegate to making our lists possible in our everyday? Do we give more to our jobs than our relationships? Are we ethical in our choices? Are we being open, transparent and authentic in whom we are? Are we taking risks or playing it safe? What is the definition of safe or the new normal in these times? .
It only seems I have raised more questions than answers but perhaps the only enduring answers we will find are together... .
If I am to do any signposting .
I would say: It is okay to question our expectations, our identity and everything as we know it and redefines it in a way that makes creating a world and even a self that we want possible. This would entail making a lot of mistakes, learning and treading unbeaten paths. The delusion of a fail-safe world does not exist. .
We should focus on building healthy and enduring relationships and leaving toxic, co-dependent ones. These times have shown that the quality of our support systems translate to better quality of life, resilience, outcomes and brings us closer to that elusive Shangri-La of happiness. We are also more likely to find out and align ourselves to our purpose whatever that is in this journey with others. It helps us look at life with a less ME centric" view and a more egalitarian approach with an eye for the greater good of the collective. Which means we spend less time in our heads with our fears, insecurities and demons? We can also hear our truths echoed back in different voices, get new vantage points, consolidate advantages, share in our struggles and de-emphasize our loneliness
The truth is we are always stronger together and this does not negate who we are or our sense of self.
We should take more risks. I am all for calculated risks but risks have a lot to teach us if we do not look at them only through the lens of positive outcomes and our expectations. They help us develop better problem solving capacity, we grow new strengths and skills and hone already established ones and we have a more balanced approach to adversity and uncertainty just like training any muscle.
We should slow down and be more intentional in our choices and take more responsibility for our health and wellbeing. We live in a world where speed is king and we are always looking for options and hence engender our consumerist approach to everything. Sometimes less is more, speed is not always efficiency. Slowdown, it gives clarity, reduces hive behaviour, recharges your batteries and increases the quality of your life. It is an important part of self-love; get to know yourself.
that iss who you spend the most time with. Meditation and mindfulness are helpful in this regard. We should make healthier lifestyle choices, sleep well, laugh a lot, explore the outdoors (there is a world out there waiting to meet you) and love ethically, responsibly, with reciprocity and healthy boundaries. It is like riding a bicycle the will be a few wobbles and falls but you are in for one hell of a ride. We are all trying to do and be better living the life we love. It won is not always be on the terms we decide or we want but we are still here and it is okay that it will not be okay all the time but we should always make time count. If we do this we may find that elusive siren called happiness while navigating the uncertain seas of our reality while trying to touch the horizons of our dreams. The beauty is in the journey not the euphoria of the destination and everything we are waiting for is waiting for us. We have come so far, there is still some more to go.