The more unpredictable life becomes the more we seem to rely on predictions. This is a time of so many unknowns. The things we felt rooted by seem to have evaporated before us. Meals with friends, trips to new places, hugs even, have all just disappeared. Life is unpredictable: We find ourselves scanning news articles and in earnest conversation with others about what the latest estimates are, for when this strange era will end. We cling to vaccine dispersal predictions. We shy away from further virus mutation predictions.
I have two friends who have written nonfiction books that, despite having contracts and agreements in place, will now not be published. The world has changed at such a rate that, without a massive re-write, they are no longer relevant. Yet they are in manuscript form and were only just written.
We are changing faster than the speed of culture. The culture-keepers, the futurists and the innovators are struggling to keep up. Those self-appointed ones whose job it is to predict what lies ahead are finding the view foggy at best.
Go easy on yourself if you, too, are struggling to wrap your head and heart around everything. We are in a time of great flux and great struggle. There, I said it. You can say it, too. Speak the words out loud. Release them into the air. Like a sigh of acceptance, we can admit “this is hard,” and we did not predict our lives would look like this, right here, right now.
After we sigh, we take stock.
What do we have that we love? What do we have that we want to invest our time and energy into? What beauty do we notice that we haven’t seen before? What change can we create, large or small, that helps someone else? What are the knowns that help us navigate the unknowns? What have we lost on the outside, that we can now find instead, on the inside?
Our circle is small, but our willpower is mighty. Do not underestimate the power of checking in on someone who is perhaps not such a close friend, of buying from a local business, of donating to a new cause, of taking an extra-long walk in nature.
Do not underestimate yourself and all that lies within you. That feeling of love, and being loved, that you might miss receiving from others can be replicated ad infinitum when you stumble upon that ever-flowing, fountain of self-love inside.
Do not underestimate that we are living in a time that, though fraught with tragedy, we may look back on with some degree of gratitude for the lessons it has taught us. Count not what it has taken from you, but what it has brought to you. Because the beauty of what’s inherently unpredictable is that you are never fully prepared to be holding on happily to the gift in the mess.
Etienne White lives where the land meets the sky on a farm in Iowa County where she raises grass-fed, Old English Babydoll sheep, as well as pastured chickens, a happy farm dog, a wily barn cat and her two spirited children. She works at the intersection of marketing and sustainability, leading efforts to create mass consumer behavior change, for the greater good of both people and planet.