Everything is different now.
It certainly seems that way, right?
There’s a deadly virus sweeping the world.
Each day, more people are subject to stay-at-home orders. Schools and stores are closed. Yoga studios, gyms, and fitness centers are shuttered. Even houses of worship are closed.
Every day brings news of more people infected and more people dying.
Nobody knows what will happen, or how or when this will end.
In the meantime, there is fear: fear for your health, for the health of those you love. Fear about your future.
You had plans. Now those plans are disrupted.
Everything is uncertain.
Nobody knows what’s going to happen.
On the most fundamental level, nothing has changed.
Nobody has ever known what will happen, because nobody who is alive in the present lives in the future. Predictions, even from experts, are just guesses. Maybe educated guesses, but still just a guess.
Nobody knows what will happen. That is true today and it was true last month and it will be true next month.
Even the tightest plans are, at best, optimistic dreams. They don’t consider all the things that could disrupt them.
Nobody plans to get sick or injured. for a terrorist attack or a hurricane or a pandemic to interfere with their plans. It’s not because these things can’t happen, or aren’t foreseeable, but because we don’t expect them to happen.
Our nervous systems crave certainty. The nervous system needs a narrative — a story — to cling to, especially in times of upheaval and disruption. It wants to know what’s going to happen so it can feel safe.
We tell a story that doesn’t contemplate what could go wrong because we need that certainty to get through life.
If anything has changed, it is only that you are now more aware of the uncertainty of life.
Uncertainty is the only certainty.
That’s the same as it ever was.
PS: If the title of this now has you itching for the Talking Heads Song, here it is.