Alternate Title: Managing Your Expectations
Alternate Title 2: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans for tomorrow.
It’s almost lame to add another entry with COVID-19 in the subject line, isn’t it? This is all so much bigger than the Novel Corona Virus, if you can imagine something bigger than hundreds of thousands of people dying worldwide. Within that context alone it’s pretty horrifying, but thats only a part of it. It’s like whatever machine that runs the usual set of simulations started to glitch and then went belly up altogether without an opportunity to reboot and set up The Matrix again. All the code disappeared and the real Universe bent over and showed her ass, and then shook it at us for good measure. It seems so unreal but at the same time if we just did the math it’s like there was a long, complicated equation with only one final answer and this is it.
COVID-19 was the one final glitch that started running it’s own viral code and took down everything. It left us with all the inescapable facts about ourselves that were just impossible to ignore. They were impossible not to react to. The ensuing slip over the edge into chaos was inevitable, and everything we’ve witnessed in the street violence in the last few nights is only the smallest hint of just how bad it could be. All that talk in the first few weeks and all the silliness of how we’re all in this together just went to hell. We’re not all in this together. We’ve never all been in anything together. Its pretty fucking clear that no matter what hardship comes down the pike, whether disease or economic hardship or whatever, will always impact some people a lot worse than it does others, and it’s always been that way. We are clearly structured around inequality and inequitable distribution of resources, and hence the ability to dream of better.
Way to fuck up a funny meme, MacGregor!
This is not the 2020 I expected while sitting snuggled up comfortably in The Simulation on New Years Eve. That was a moment where it seemed the world slipped away and The Simulation seemed reasonable. I was prepared to let down my guard and actually settle into it and reap some of the benefits of The Simulation. I was ready to escape into that bigger, albeit imagined, picture. It could have been a lovely evening of just sitting in the exact moment, but then there was projection into expectations. Around expectations comes unnecessary anxiety, etc. This isn’t all about me though. It’s just about forgetting that there is many a slip between a cup and a lip. This year, this 2020, got very real and the world, which includes my life, became very, very real.
That’s not really a bad thing when viewed from the perspective of the long game. Pain, as The Crocodiles that guide are fond of saying, is the touchstone of all growth. This is all happening because it needed to happen. Change will come. It may not be enough change but good will come through the hardship. That is of course only if we take active measures to spend more time rebuilding things than we spend in building a collective, rose-colored glasses memory of these events. We need to be faithful to the truth, which is going to be nearly impossible, and exist in the painful memories collective and individual of how we felt during these days and weeks and months in 2020, and maybe beyond. None of this is ending overnight.
Speaking as an individual and only as an individual, I only found value through all this spectacle and anxiety when I heeded the words of a friend who reminded me that this time is what I’ve been crying for forever. It was a reminder that this could be the last time in any of our lives where we had this amount of time for reflection and betterment in any degree. We have, in the absence of the distraction of The Simulation which can be so oppressive, all this time to sit in our authentic selves while the world around us is authentic as we’re ever going to be allowed to see it. That’s an opportunity for learning, and improvement and growth. Find your figurative mirror and take a good, hard look at yourself while there’s a chance.
Personally speaking again, there is so much I’m deeply saddened by. At the same time, I’ve rarely felt so grounded and that is despite that any of this could be remotely thought of as joyful. Hell, I’m on the last quarter of life and being shut in for half a year has a lot more significance at 58 than it does at 28. Believe me, that thought has crossed my mind more than once. It’s terrifying! During these months though there’s been an opportunity, which I’ve undertaken, to clear more debris from the road of my inner travels than I did between the ages of 28 and 48. It’s been a spiritual jumpstart. It’s been incredible. I know what I have to do to be the best version of the authentic me that I’ve worked so hard to exhume over the last ten years.
There’s been time to analyze dreams and that by no means is only aspirations. Aspirations are different than dreams. There was one a couple nights ago that had me waking in a near panic attack, short of breath and frightened. Here’s the thing though; there was also clarity about my absolute worst fears. Sure I had been fairly sure of what exactly the monster was that has lurked under my bed my entire life, but with this dream came certainty. That certainty may not have come to me had 2020 turned out the way I was nearly praying for on New Years Eve. You may not consider a dream like this desirable but for me it was the best ever. No pain, no gain. I’m thankful, if only for this, that 2020 turned out the way it did.
Regarding the meme above: Not a single damn thing on there would surprise me at this moment. It would take a lot more than that to shake me at this point. I’m not speaking for the rest of you but The Simulation has not served me. It doesn’t look to me that it served more than a handful of people so well. Nobody needs me to add a list of the horrifying events we’ve watched unfold around us in the last few months. They’ve always been there anyway on some scale. We just weren’t looking at them. Now though the task is to find some kind of joy while addressing what we know is all around us.