Certainty, I certainly miss you

Whether it concerns a global pandemic, the economy, or your finances, health, and relationships, much of what lies ahead in life remains uncertain. Yet, as human beings, we crave security. While we may not wish to acknowledge it, uncertainty is a natural and unavoidable part of life.



By Shilpa Bhasin Mehra

Published: Sun 30 Jan 2022, 8:11 PM

One thing I surely miss these days is certainty. How plans were made for meetings, travel, conferences or time out with friends to the smallest detail, and everyone just followed them. From the pickup time to the lunch to the coffee break. If someone didn’t show up, it was very strange and at times worrisome (must be an emergency).

Fast forward to these days, the certainty has changed to let’s see, fingers crossed, or hope so. And it’s no one's fault. Someone has met a person or works with a person who has tested positive for Covid. So, everyone in contact is grounded. All the meticulous planning goes down the drain. I wonder whether one should plan anything these days. But we are so programmed to function with a timetable and a plan, that we feel out of focus without that. So, what is the solution? I have been thinking about this a lot these days, because a lot of my plans have gone haywire because of the uncertain times we are living in.

Every experience (however tough) teaches us a lesson. The lesson here I feel is of adapting and quickly moving on. There is little point in cribbing about what hasn’t materialised because it is no one fault. From a free bird, our status seems to have changed to caged with many restrictions and safety measures that must be followed. That’s when having a plan B or C can be very useful. Also keeping an open mind that things may go this way or that, so we aren’t too disappointed.

In every kind of fitness regime, one notices the importance of flexibility. To avoid injury, we must stretch our muscles and make them flexible. What we need to do these days, in addition to stretching our body, is to stretch our mind muscles and make them flexible, so that the rigidity of the muscles doesn’t make sensible thinking difficult. Suppleness of the mind muscles is so needed to adapt to the ever-changing times. The answer is yes and it’s no after a few minutes or a could be after another few minutes. So, what does one do to cope up with situations that are behaving like an ECG? Adapt, adapt, and adapt with a lot of deep breathing to calm the physical and mental muscles.

I have noticed how understanding people has become in the ever-changing situations. No one is feeling bad if you can’t attend a function — a simple "not feeling well" WhatsApp message is enough, no details are required. Earlier, we took a Panadol and attended programmes that we had committed so that the host would not feel bad. One positive (if I may use the word) is that we are no longer faced with that pressure. Imagine a wedding being cancelled because the bride tested positive. Where is the scope of anyone feeling bad? These times have taught us that we can make plans, but be ready to make them again and again, until they materialise.

I remember the days when bosses spoke with full authority and certainty about work and its execution. Now fluidity is the key word. But what is admirable is how work is still going on and going well. The transition from physical to virtual happened because there was simply no choice. Some struggled and some were quicker to learn the virtual methods of working, but eventually all were on board. I am reminded of the old saying that nothing in this world is certain, except death and taxes. But we humans tend to be egoistic and feel we can control everything. Covid has truly humbled us this way. We know realise that nothing is certain and if we wake up tomorrow morning, we should say Thank you God for another day.

No matter how much one strives to eliminate doubt and volatility from one’s life, the truth is we already accept a lot of uncertainty every day. Each time you cross a street, get behind the wheel of a car, or eat takeout or restaurant food you’re accepting a level of uncertainty. You’re trusting that the traffic will stop, you won’t have an accident, and everything you’re eating is safe.

Uncertainty is all around us, never more so than today. Whether it concerns a global pandemic, the economy, or your finances, health, and relationships, much of what lies ahead in life remains uncertain. Yet, as human beings, we crave security. While we may not wish to acknowledge it, uncertainty is a natural and unavoidable part of life. Very little about our lives is certain, and while we have control over many things, we can’t control everything that happens to us. As the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated, life can change very quickly and very unpredictably. One day things may be just fine, the next you’ve suddenly become sick, lost your job, or find yourself struggling to put food on the table or provide for your family.

While many things remain outside our control, our mindset is key to coping with difficult circumstances and confidently facing the unknown. To end this topic on a humorous note, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

Shilpa Bhasin Mehra is a legal consultant based in Dubai and the founder of SBM Consultancy, formerly Legal Connect.


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