As we reach the end of a harrowing year, many are eager to put 2020 behind us. It is traditional for us to turn our attentions towards the future, and make resolutions, in pursuit of a better year ahead. What will your New Years Resolution be for 2021?

Perhaps you are familiar with the term “in pursuit of happiness,” which has taken a sharp dive, in 2020, and left many in pursuit of an undefined future. Like mice on a treadmill, we are racing towards a point in time, that we can never reach. We dream, speculate, imagine and conjure up the future, in our individual and collective minds. Some seek the counsel of fortune tellers, tarot readings, psychics, mediums, and religion to ease anxieties over the so called future. Money, Love, Health, Happiness, Dream Job?

The word future is referred to as, a period of time following the moment; in other words, it refers to what is still to come.

The future is rooted in the past, meaning that the present is the only moment we really have any interaction and engagement with, in the physical realm. The present is the only point in time we can engage with actively with all of our senses. 

In the present, you can determine, to some degree, what your future may hold in store, by how and what you do NOW, and even then there are no guarantees.

All of the anxieties we foster, worrying about future events, serve only to drain us physically, emotionally and mentally.

Take into consideration external factors, which we have no control over. Those life altering events, that can sweep across a nation of people, such as war, natural disasters, disease. Or a virus sweeping havoc around the globe, unravelling, and permanently altering the fabric of our reality, such as Covid-19 has done. The 2020 pandemic has ushered in extreme levels of uncertainty, blanketing over our vision of the future, abruptly landing us in the present, which demands that we shift our focus to the moment we are living in. 

2020, has turned up the dial on uncertainty, to unprecedented levels, at least for our generation, those of us living in the west, born after WWII. We are now faced with global uncertainty, which has been playing out like a Dystopian backdrop for an apocalyptic preview of the future. 

There have always been waves of fringe religious groups and cults who predict the end of the world. On September 23rd., 2017 the Apocalypse was supposed to begin. Some believed the Rapture would unfold and others that the planetary alignment pointed to a series of cataclysmic events.

We managed, somehow, to keep afloat, dodging terrorism, climate change, violence, natural disasters, Fukishima, ongoing unrest in the middle east, immigration problems, threat of nuclear war, the fall of the Twin Towers, USA’s demise with Trump in office and Brexit. What’s different about this pandemic? For all those born from the 1950’s on, it’s as close as we’ve ever been to experiencing a global disaster. There is no escape as the world waits in bated breath for a vaccine to pave the way back to normality.

Many people’s anxieties and uncertainties over the future are not so much about the end of the world or death. For many, the decline of Capitalism is the greatest threat, as it would usher in the end of the world, as we know it. 

Over four years ago, Janus Capital’s Bill Gross wrote “that capitalism, the global elite’s preferred economic model, risks burning itself out just as we know the sun will one day.”  He argues that our economy has expanded only on credit, or borrowed money, over the last 50 years give or take and the capacity for additional borrowing is drying up. In other words, the economy is exhausted.

The 2020 pandemic has just put a huge dent in the already depleted economy. Major airlines going under, unemployment rates skyrocketing, worldwide. As the pandemic brusquely drove us away from a fossil fuel driven economy, the ripple effect has been a game changer, and we haven’t even begun to see the fallout. So how do you see the future in such dark times?

While contemplating the end of the world or the end of Capitalism, we might also contemplate on the fact that change is imminent and often in order to have change something has to give or be given up. Sometimes, it’s a lover, a friend or a job.  For some it is their lives. People have died, in support of political and religious views that have shaped the world we live in, so we could enjoy better working conditions, freedom of speech, equality, voting rights and so on.

Some refer to “The New Normal,” when envisioning our post pandemic world. What will this new normal be like? Will tourism be a thing of the past? Will we all have a basic income? Perhaps we are asking ourselves the wrong questions at the moment, trying to predict the future.

The only way to move forward is to be engaged in our present. Live the moment and do our best with what we have or what remains of our lives before Covid. Only then are we contributing to our future. No point knowing the future, while ignoring what is actually happening right in front of us NOW, no matter how unsettling it may be. The very nature of life is rooted in change. None of us can avoid change. Don’t be afraid of reinventing yourself. We need to embrace change instead of fear, in order to create a bright, new future together.

Published by Maddalena Di Gregorio

“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in” Robert L. Stevenson

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