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When will this be over?

The one thing 2020 gave to all of us was an excuse to ask the question "when will this be over?" Whether in regard to a personal challenge or one of the many that presented themselves on the larger national and global stage, we all had plenty to choose from.

Thought it may be hard to believe, we are only 10 days into 2021. Ten days - that's it. Between cybersecurity attacks, attacks on democracy, lingering election issues and perhaps most significantly, a pandemic that still has many people not taking it very seriously, many of us are wondering when things can end and start to get back to normal.

Except they won't. They can't.

Even in death, things are never over. Rather, they transition - maybe get diluted so that we get more and more used to a life that evolves and gets redefined with each passing day.

On numerous occasions, I have thought to myself that once I just transcend the challenge currently being experienced and "get on the other side of it", everything will start to make sense and work out again. The problem is that there is no other side. Not unlike relationship problems or government challenges that didn't just manifest one day, there simply is no "problem border wall" or speed bump where one side is problem-free and the other side nothing but smooth sailing.

No. Rather, we live in a fluid river where what starts upstream will inevitably impact downstream. Where we stand in that river might change the perspective but we're still in the river.

So, perhaps the question isn't "when will this be over?" so much as it should be "when will I be able to begin to understand how to accept not knowing?" This is where the well-known "Circle of Concern" by Steven Covey comes into play.

We must work diligently to challenge ourselves (and our thoughts) to focus on what we can control and influence. The concerns we have that fall outside of this create both anxiety and a false notion that there may be something for us to do immediately.

Today, the only thing I can really control with the unrest, the climate change, the state of racial and economic inequality, is my own thoughts. I can influence these things with how I choose to engage in dialogues, speak with my kids, friends and colleagues and financially support organizations (and companies) whose policies and values are aligned with my own. That's a start and it's not bad. I have no idea how to even begin to address the litany of concerns outside of that, many systemic, or not yet, at least.

In this way, I can stop feeling helpless and waiting for some external force to let me know when it will all end. Instead, I can answer "when will I begin to accept?" and even "when will I be able to be part of the change?" The answer to both of these is the same - right now.

I hope your circle of concern is small.

Until next time,


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