You, You and
By Giles Mountford
There is a significant risk that, when times as challenging as these present themselves to us, we get overwhelmed. There’s simply too much to take on board, too much happening, too much that ‘might’ happen.
I checked my phone before writing this article – my usage was up 13% from the week before. Given that I’ve developed a tic that involves repeatedly typing ‘coronavirus update’ I’m amazed there is that much time remaining in my week where I’m not already staring at my phone. I suspect it was because January 2021 decided to up the ante on 2020 and stoke the cinders of sedition and insurrection in the USA. Hot on the heels of that, the sides of the gaping chasm between the ‘have’ and ‘have-nots’ stretches further apart thanks to a global vaccine post-code lottery. What happens when the rich are flying around the world waving ‘COVID Clear’ passports whilst the rest of the world looks on from an interminable queue for medical assistance? As if there wasn’t enough of a shit storm whirling around most people’s heads.
One of the first things any of us need to do is stop the head spin and get a sense of perspective. I’m not talking global perspective here – there is untold upheaval, struggle and uncertainty everywhere we look. And of course it can feel overwhelming. It’s about getting perspective of self – the reality of our own day to day challenges and how we can best manage ourselves through them.
If you’re struggling to achieve the distancing that enables you get the perspective you need, try this little exercise.
Imagine an unspecified day in the future (you get to be as optimistic/pessimistic as you like), when the pandemic is slowly slipping from your nightmares and whatever passes for your ‘normal’ is re-established. You’re sitting alone at home, relaxing and then, by some miracle of time travel (hey – anything can happen these days right?), an eight-year-old version of you appears.
Remember being eight? When pretty much everything was in front of you and anything seemed possible? Well, after you’ve got your head around the fact that all the laws of science and nature have just been exploded by this visitor from the past and you’re getting used to the idea of talking to yourself, the younger you drops another bomb: this time in the form of a question. They ask you, ‘what did you do during the Coronavirus pandemic?’
How proud are you going to be of your answer?
Will you be sharing stories about how you got better, learned new things and helped others or are you going to fudge, make excuses and try to hide the fact that you’ve still got a mountain of unused loo roll in your garage? How proud are you going to be of your answer?
I’m not saying the current situation is anything other than ridiculously challenging, but that is not to say that we can’t: with some effort, imagination and consideration make the best of it for ourselves and those around us.
It’s the choices we make and the way we behave that defines us. Always has been, always will be.
If you’re struggling for what to do next just write down the answer you’d like to give to the eight-year-old you.
And then do something about making it happen.