Why do so many people take so much time to worry about the future, yet spend a minimal amount of time to take a breath, look back and see how far they’ve come? Asking for a friend…Continue reading Celebrate your Wins
This is an article I wrote for the first edition of the Polyca Magazine, edited by a friend of mine, almost exactly a year ago. This is one of the first times that I’ve reread something and I laughed when I did, because obviously, in March 2020, I misinterpreted the situation entirely and I promise to refrain from making predictions from now on, you’ll see what I mean. Anyway, enjoy reading.
An act of futility? A drop in the ocean? Our attitude in the post-corona world will supersede the importance of the present containment measures in the future of our species. It’s time we became conscious.
Luxembourg, March 19th 2020. Enter: State of Emergency. Enter: National Lockdown
42 days later, we’re still waiting for good news, for numbers to drop, for a step back to normal. And we will go back to normal, no doubt about it. Some researchers claim it will affect life until 2022 at least. But I’ll take every bet that 12 months from now, Corona will again be associated with beer, not a pandemic.
Don’t get me wrong, people won’t forget about it, they won’t forget that they were quarantined for a few weeks – of course not. People never forget when they’re treated unfairly. They’ll probably even remember the number of days they spent in their houses without seeing friends and family and will gladly tell the story about how they met online to have drinks with friends before 4:00 PM (Can you imagine that! How silly!)
And they’ll remember cursing this invisible monstrosity that had pressed pause on their lives during one of the sunniest Aprils Luxembourg had ever seen. Thank you very much, climate change. We know you’re there. You don’t have to rub it in our faces when we’re not even allowed to enjoy destroying our planet.
They’ll remember the man who, presumably, ate a bat and brought about this virus. And where they had been when they heard the news of the lockdown. Such a sudden and unforeseeable measure.
Except it wasn’t. And that’s the point – it was not sudden at all. And if you think it was, you’re at least as responsible for the magnitude of the lockdown as the man who ate a bat. The government of Wuhan imposed a lockdown on January 23rd of this year – it took Europe almost two months to recognise that this virus does not care about borders.
We are now in a process of deconfinement, taking baby steps back to normal life, and yes, that is due to ours reacting accordingly. The problem was analysed and measures were taken. This, however, does not mean that we acted comme il faut.
Had we not turned our back to problem that was visible in other countries, had we not refused to ponder the possibility of being influenced by a virus transmitted through respiratory droplets (as we already knew weeks before the first case was reported in Luxembourg), maybe the consequences would have been milder. Who knows. But that was far, far away, therefore it couldn’t reach us, therefore not our problem. That is the mindset that brought us here. Not an unprecedented attitude either: When did we start caring about ISIS? When it started to affect Europe, no sooner. Same difference.
Maybe, just maybe, that is something we need to think about. As a species, that is. The future will hold many more problems, some of which are already affecting life on Earth for other species. Not so much for humans; the malefactor walks free for now. Ever heard of the Pinta Island Tortoise? The first species to go extinct because of the results of climate change in 1989. Many more would follow. What about the Australian bushfire season earlier this year, which destroyed an area of 186.000 square kilometers, burning roughly 1/5 of the continent’s forested area and killing an estimate of a billion animals? You don’t think that we might have contributed to its severity? Issues like these won’t be controlled by staying home, and they’ll not restrict themselves to the ‘vulnerable groups’.
Might that be the downfall of mankind? Will we kill ourselves by restricting our thoughts to the imminent future? By ignoring problems until they can’t be ignored any longer. By looking the other way, by closing doors and windows until the problem forces away in, having had time to become strong enough to become undefeatable. By being complacent and by hoping that the problems disappear if we turn a blind eye for long enough.
Or else, will we regard the circumstances as what they are? A warning to reconsider how we’re treating our home. A warning to remind ourselves how vulnerable and dependent we are. It might just have been the last one.
Disclaimer: I disagree with what I said about being as responsible as the guy who ate a bat if you think that the arrival of the virus and the measures taken to limit it were ‘sudden and unforeseeable’. I now believe that is the government’s fault, pandemics are not exactly unprecedented and people paid to serve their country ought to deal with that accordingly: act rather than react.
Should you forgive people who have wronged you?
I believe that, while forgiving others can be both a gesture of your own greatness and stupidity (fool me once…), more thought should be attributed to the forgiveness of yourself. We all walk down our own path of life and sooner or later you are going to take decisions that will change your life for the better or the worse. Let’s focus on these decisions that’ll turn out to be bad. You’re going to look back one day and realize that what you did was wrong.
And you’ll realize that you can’t take back words you said, nor can you undo the things you did. You don’t get to press restart. Maybe you’ve hurt somebody. And you feel regret and you’d do anything to go back to that particular day. Because it’s all you think about and you want to show that what you did was a mistake, you want to show the world and yourself that this mistake is not who you are, prove that you’re not a bad person.
But as appealing as it is, that’s not how things work. You ruin your inner peace because you won’t stop thinking about that one mistake and you start judging yourself. Because you don’t let go of the past. Because you don’t forgive yourself. Because you do not accept that you’re flawed. You do not want to accept that mistakes are part of life.
But a mistake is a mistake and it will still be a mistake in 20 years. You can spend the rest of your life looking back at that moment, accusing yourself. Or you choose to forgive yourself and let the past be in the past. Let yourself be human. Because forgiving yourself does not mean that you ignore what you did. It does not mean that you choose to delete part of your past. It merely means you’re ready to accept imperfection.
Make the mistakes work for you, let them teach you to become a better you.
“The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” -Rafiki (The Lion King)
Invent yourself, CK
Some days it feels as though life wanted to bring us off track, get us down and make us feel bad. Those are the days when nothing seems to work, when we feel bad for no apparent reason and start to believe that we’re not living the life we want. Those are also the days when we overthink decisions we took in our past and regret things we said and did. We feel lost and left alone even in the most crowded places.
While we suffer a lot during these days, I believe they are necessary and make us grow as people. Nowadays we avoid thinking about our lives, looking back on what we saw and went through. Lots of people are not ready to come to terms with their past. Why? Because they are afraid of what they will see when they look back.
While it takes effort and courage to relive our past, it can lead to the acceptance of our life and peace of our thoughts. Trust your body, it wouldn’t make you think about something that didn’t make you richer in terms of comprehension of yourself and other people.
The bad days I’ve been talking about are reminders making us realize that we can’t close our eyes before our own life. On these days you have to remind yourself that while you might be able to push the snooze button, reality will always outrun you on the long term. There’s no running away from yourself.
Suffering in general means learning to accept situations and growing stronger as human beings. But there are different kinds of suffering- there are people who refuse to accept that something hurt them and most often these people have to go through more pain than people who simply accept that they have to suffer. Every cloud has a silver lining and good times are just around the corner.
People who try to overlook unsolved problems do everything to protect themselves from pain by distracting themselves, not allowing their thoughts to flow. In times of social media and the permanent possibility to reach other people it has become really easy not to think about yourself. But from an objective point of view, it only leads to the pain nesting itself into your everyday life, hurting you as soon you lay down your protective shield made of distractions.
You’re human, bad days will always come and the way you cope with them might decide on your entire future. Don’t forbid your brain to think.
How long can you be in your car without your radio on? – Glenn Beck
Do you ever feel like you’re missing out on something? Some days, life seems to be standing still while running past us at the same time. We’re waiting for that day when everything will turn out great and we’ll be happy. But having waited for that moment myself for quite some time, I’ve realized that we’re responsible for our own happiness. If you want something, go get it, it’s not going to come to you.
I don’t want to be one of these people who regret not having put enough effort into what they wanted when they were young. We are still young, we’ve still got the chance to turn our life into the life we want. We have to chase it with all we’ve got or we’ll end up unhappy. Now’s the moment to get what we want.
As we’re getting older, there are more and more responsibilities coming towards us, obstacles we have to overcome, problems we have to solve. Yet these are not supposed to stop us, that’s the universe’s way of testing our faith in ourselves and dreams. Don’t wait until you’ve reached that point in your life where your biggest dreams have to make space for responsibilities. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: life happens now.
Life can be hard, with school keeping us busy everyday and homework following ( I know this sounds like a first world problem and it probably is, I am very aware of the luck we have to be educated in one of the richest countries in Europe,but it’s a human trait to never be satisfied with what we have.) as well as daily tasks to finish, we risk to forget that there is more to life than this. What is our life worth if we don’t chase happiness?
I do not accept that going to bed everyday thinking about having to stand up early or about responsibilities that have to be fulfilled is all there is to life. There’s got to be more. But without a little faith in ourselves and the courage to generate happiness ourselves we’ll end up surviving instead of actually living. Happiness is somewhere within us and it’s our duty to find it.
Invent yourself, CK
Happiness depends upon ourselves. – Aristotle
Expensive coats, image and gossip. Welcome to Luxembourg city.
That’s all we care about isn’t it? As long as we wear the clothes everyone else wears and behave the way they do, we don’t have to fear that people will start hating on us. We’re afraid of being left out and not be part of society.
You know what’s the outcome of trying to be the same as everyone else? We forget who we are. Our individuality, if not stimulated, is wiped out. We believe that being the way everybody else is or imitating the so-called ‘famous people’ will make us happy. But it won’t. Disillusion will be the outcome either way. Even if we convince ourselves that imitation is the key to happiness, it’s not. Of course it is easier to be a part of the group, but eventually we will only be happy if we choose to be who we are, even if this means that we have to separate ourselves from the group.
This insecurity is the main reason for gossip. Talking behind people’s back is a really common thing in Luxembourg. We are so used to it that we have come to accept it, we’ve become the prey of an addicting pastime. In the 5 last years, I’ve seen quite a few friendships and relationships being destroyed by rumors. The downside of living in such a small country is that everyone knows everyone and can tell you lots about them without even knowing them personally.
We are so afraid of being different to the mass that we condemn everybody who differs from us. We don’t support individuality. Because this might mean that other people would follow, it’d become a trend and we’d have to change our attitude. We start rumors and do everything to make this person feel bad, to make them get back into their place, where they belong and do not attract more attention than we do.
Gossiping can often be an act of jealousy. You don’t like someone? Don’t talk about them. You shouldn’t worry about the life of someone who is not part of your life, should you? And gossiping about friends is just sad. Gossiping does not make you a better person.
I’m not saying that I’ve never talked behind people’s back and I’m not trying to put myself on top of anybody, I’m just trying to describe the way I have experienced our society so far. Some people are so desperate to be recognized but instead of doing something of any worth, they try to make themselves look better by pulling others down. But this can’t be the path to a healthy lifestyle. Be true to yourself and
Invent yourself, CK
The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them – Will Rogers
William Shakespeare, The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet
We are all trying to invent ourselves, to find out who we really are and be happy with who we are. Being an adolescent is a full-time job; as soon as you think that you’ve finally found out who you are, your brain feels bored and makes you reconsider your lifestyle.
You can never be sure about whether you’ll stick to what you said or did. Your opinion changes as often as the hair color of any middle-aged woman, meaning about every second week. (I would know,trust me)
The more convinced you are that you’ve finally found what makes you truly happy, the more likely it’s not. How often have you listened to a song of an until then unknown artist and thought that it would be your lifetime-song? I guess we all remember Donald Trump by Mac Miller. Haven’t heard this song since Rock-a-field 2012. My taste in music has since then changed at least 10 times,going from Dubstep to HipHop to Rap to the more commercial songs and back every 2 months.
But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Change is important and builds character. This is also why our surroundings do not stay the same. Where we tend to think that we did something wrong when looking back and realize we lost people we thought would stay a lifetime, we should accept the fact that we change; and so do other people.
A great percentage of our discomfort is based on other people, on so called friends we trust and think we can depend on as well as on people we consider enemies .I’m sure that most of you have had friends, whom you don’t even talk to anymore, whom you don’t even greet when you see them. But who’s to blame? Is there even someone to blame or is it just part of growing up? We tend to forget that although we shouldn’t, we rely on other people. This is why our happiness as well as our sadness does not only depend on the way we think. I mean you can still try and be positive about everything that happens but from time to time, there is this abyss we fall in and think we can never get out of. And really often it’s linked to enemies, friends or lovers.
We’ll figure it all out, and we’ll find out who we really are. Trust the universe, it will work out.
This is why I’m starting this blog. I’m gonna try to free myself by writing and I invite you to follow me on this journey.
Invent yourself, CK
This above all: to thine own self be true