Aftermath by Navina Anand

We as humans don’t take cognizance of subtle changes. We are the proverbial frog in a pot of water that is being slowly boiled. Anything that doesn’t hit us like a catastrophe, we can ignore, swipe aside, overlook or even accept as ‘normal’. We want to believe that nothing is wrong. We like ‘status quo’. An abusive relationship, a soul sucking job, climate change… we prefer the status quo. We live and die in it most of the time. If something moves too slowly, we don’t acknowledge it happening. We are happy to be absorbed into the cacophony of everyday life. The multiple noises vying for our attention keep us busy dealing with existence. Existentialism be damned.  And then when catastrophe hits, there is a stunned silence. And there is space.

Space is everything. When you clear your cluttered desk, it creates the space for you to focus on your task. When you clear your kitchen counter, it creates the space for you to think of a new recipe. When you create space in your mind, through meditation, it gives you clarity of thought. The aftermath is usually a stunned silence . When you sit, shaken, in reflective silence of what went so wrong.  When you rehash the carnage inside your head wondering where you should have taken a different turn ? In that space of silence, you will have to decide what is the way forward.

But this year… as we all head to the end of 2020 … a year that has wiped out most of our plans, derailed many dreams , crushed a few lives … or we could be in the numbers that were left largely unscathed… End of the year is a good time to pause… create that space to think about our lives, take stock … did we have any grand plans when we started this year … which drowned in the noise of the everyday? Did we want to do more charity which we forgot in the Netflix binge? Did we want to make a contribution of our time for the betterment of the less privileged which we forgot in the paranoia of self-preservation? Did we want to learn something? Do something? Even feel something?

Many of us think it is stupid to make New Year Resolutions. Dumb stuff which anyway gets forgotten by Mid-January. Go to the gym. Start that Intermittent fasting diet. Make a ‘plan’ for something. But if you set aside that cynic in you, the cynic that is our self-preservation at its best, the cynic that prevents us from hoping for a new beginning after multiple failures , the cynic that rolls his eyes that what is so great about January vis a vis December. But there is. There can at least be a space you can create for the right intentions. There is a space you can create for clarity of thought. Take a day to sit back and maybe write down what happened in 2020 and what would you like to do differently in 2021. Like my professor of communication said 20 years ago, let not your 20 years of experience be one year’s experience 20 times over.

 In the aftermath of 2020, what are you going to do differently in 2021?

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