When do we start looking ahead?

Who knows.

I was talking with a friend this week and I asked them what was happening with a distant plan they’d had in place pre-pandemic. “I can’t even think about what I’m having for dinner, let alone that far in the future,” was their response. 

It made me think about when is it OK to start making plans again? For the last few weeks, I’ve lived by the mantra of taking each day as it comes. It’s helping me get through this experience. As I try so hard to sit in this present moment, it’s taking all my energy to focus on getting through today; for better or worse there’s little room for anything else. 

But there has to come a time when we start to think about what happens next. By this point, it’s evident that the world as we know it will look very different. There’s no way we can experience collective trauma on a global scale and not come out the other end changed. And yet making plans right now is hard. A part of me doesn’t want to jinx anything – will the universe smite me for having the arrogance to think I can make a plan for Christmas 2020? Is it even worth thinking about a future that’s so uncertain? 

Yet, I know that on a practical level I need to start to at least think about what next? I’ve got as far as figuring out that I want to ask myself some hard questions, ranging from the practical to the philosophical. Will my business look the same in six months time to what it does now? Do I even want it to? What lessons have I learned in this period that I want to carry forward? What changes do I need to make in my working life?

When I’ll answer those questions, however, I’m not sure. What’s become clear to me over the last few weeks is that everyone is – and should be – going at their own pace. Today might be a good day for me, but a bad day for you. Tomorrow we may switch places. Progress isn’t linear at the best of times, notwithstanding pandemics. I’m not going to answer those questions today, but I’m starting to see a tomorrow in which I can. 

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