Right now it feels like the future has been put on hold. The world has hit the pause button and no one is sure exactly how the show will run when we hit play again. But it isn’t only the unknowable future that is causing societal (and personal) anxiety, it is also the past. It’s hard not to continually question what we have done both as a society and as individuals. The what-if game is dangerous.
What if China had acted sooner to isolate the outbreak?
What is the U.S. hadn’t rejected the pandemic plans started by Bush and built up through Obama?
What if I didn’t make that slightly risky investment?
What if I really did put aside 6 months emergency money when things were going well?
Between the constant guessing about tomorrow and the never-ending second guessing about the past it’s easy to spin out of control. So maybe it’s better to forget about the past and the future for now and concentrate on what is right in front of me. For now, that’s all we really have.
“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.“
— Lao Tzu
For me this means setting up 3 non-negotiable goals each day. I know I am a better and more grounded person if I manage to read, write and run for at least 30 minutes every day. So in between teaching my classes online and continuing to work with job search clients and writing their resumes, I make reading, writing and running a priority.
This is my present. This is what I can do now to stay sane and productive. Tomorrow will be what it will be.