By Stephen Holland
Gautama Buddha once said, ““the past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There’s only one moment for you to live, and that is the present moment”.
People have always tended to either live in a rose-tinted recollection of an Ill remembered past, or with an over-exaggeration estimation on the possibilities of the future. Never has this been truer than under the gaze of Covid-19. With nothing to do but ponder over memories from the before times, or to dream of the day someday soon when things will have gone back to normal. The question I wish to investigate today is, have people lost hope in the future thanks to this virus?
My answer to this question would be: No.
We have not lost hope in the future, but I think we may put too much hope in it. Every conversation I have is about what we will do in future, how great things will be when we can, or remembering back to when we used to be able to do this or that.
But we are alive today and whether we like it or not the days keep coming as they are dealt. It is with great difficulty that I try not to focus so wholly and completely on the future. The future is coming no matter what, and I am really looking forward to doing all the things that I have missed out on this last year. But we also need to make peace with the present. Even if the days are not as full of events and excitement as we once hoped, that does not mean that this is all wasted time.
Many people reading this are students. I have seen so many think pieces about all the things that students have lost out on. The social experiences, the friendships, the memories to last a lifetime. But you are all still pushing forward towards your degree, you are all still accomplishing something of value each day, you are all developing and growing as people under very difficult circumstances.
When I hear this idea that people are giving up on the future because of the pandemic, I cannot help but dismiss it. People get jaded, people get fed up, people may get overwhelmed, and have days where hopelessness takes over. But I do not think people have given up and in times of great struggle I believe that is when the resilience of the human heart is at its most noticeable.
The cold miserable winter has finally come to end. Spring is here, flowers are blooming, and the sun is beginning to shine. Now as we see the finish line ahead of us, I would like to try and take a step back, take a deep breath, and live in the present moment. To look around and see all the great things that people are doing right now. The students who have managed to study online with so little guidance. The frontline workers who kept this country from falling into utter chaos. The scientists who have managed to develop a vaccine quicker than we have ever seen in history. Without so many people taking stock of the situation, living in the present, and figuring what can be done to fix things now; we would not have this future to look forward to in the first place.
Time is transient, it does not really exist. All we have, and all we have ever really had, is the present moment. Living in one moment and then seamlessly moving into the next. Do not lose hope in the future because the future is coming regardless. But if you can hold onto some hope in the present, no matter your situation, then change will come. There is an old saying, that when things are bad remember: It will not always be this way. When things are good also remember it will not always be this way. This too shall pass.