How Long is Now?
Procrastination. Here is a blunt truth: We don’t have time. There is no guarantee that you will get to do all the things you want. If anyone didn’t learn that in the last year, they had a different experience than mine, and that of everyone I know.
There is an interesting thing about wars, catastrophes, and…pandemics. When they finally end there is an explosion of creativity. People feel a weight lifted off their shoulders, the weight of survival. After WWI and the Spanish Flu pandemic, we got the Roaring Twenties. After WWII, the rise of the Beat Generation, Abstract Expressionism, the human rights movement, the sixties…And then here in America, the Vietnamese war that, in its own way brought us a whole new burst in the eighties.
There is a strong feeling that we are again on a creative cusp. It’s nearly here if we can stop the waves and give ourselves the ‘now’ we need to create. These moments can’t be measured, these times when we feel a new spring out there, renewal. I have the sense there is something about to happen and I want to be part of it.
If you got this far without a personal disaster, you likely are emerging from a year of deep inward travel, a year with times when we had to face our own fears and demons and move past them. This is the time to make that move.
He who hesitates is lost.
Creativity grows out of experience
We have seen adversity and hardship, two things many Westerners have little experience with in their day to day lives. Death on a massive scale, a fearsome illness that is weird and wide ranging in its effects and duration. Social and political upheaval.
We can see how this lack of hard experience has warped many who deny these hard things and pretend all is good and we can go back to playing. They even have their own leader who fiddled while Rome burned and fiddles still in a golden mansion. I do not think anything can be done with these spoiled children. We have to move past them.
These hard experiences have the effect of sharpening our appreciation of life, of honing us to a fine edge. To further beat on that metaphor, it is time to use that edge to cut through the materialistic past and build something new. We have not built anything new here in a long time.
Meanwhile, we see fantastical new cities grow out of deserts and on distant islands. These are humans building new things. Technology, bioscience, film, art, alternatives to destructive energy sources…amazing things.
As a person who spent the majority of my life thus far in the last century, I feel that was a time so far away from today that it seems like a distant dream, a different life. I don’t miss it. Having survived a pandemic, it only seems that this world now is my time, our time. We have to use it.
Some of us learned patience
I’m not quite sure how I will use this opportunity. I am going to let that find me, but I’m guessing it’s not far away. I’ve learned patience this past year, not always one of my strong points. It has always been my contention that patience is the principal benefit of mindfulness for Westerners.
We have been an impatient lot, always in a hurry. But that stopped for most of us last year. The world slowed and the constant awareness that an invisible killer was out there and could strike anywhere kept us in real time more than we were used to. The constant watching of the news and the daily data contributed to having a window on unfolding history.
People immersed themselves in creative distractions like sourdough baking or crafts, things we were limited to by the need to stay home and protect ourselves and others.
Now, with some of the threats lifting a bit, I want to immerse myself in something more meaningful. But I am patient these days, and in the meantime I’m here writing and trying to understand something very interesting. And watching for its emergence.