As news updates and official advisories continue to evolve, it might feel overwhelming to look beyond the now and consider planning for the next phases of the crisis and of your life. With so much information and a lot of it vague and confusing, it can make it hard to know where to start. So if you want to get on in planning your life and prepare for your future, what can you do?
Look back at the history
While it is difficult to determine what will happen in the future as Coronavirus has caused unprecedented times, the only thing we can do is to look at what happened in the past when there were similar pandemics. Whatever it is you want to do in the future, you can see if you can find out what happened in the past. Did the economy suffer? What were the benefits? No one can predict the future, but you can learn from previous global crises and the impact they had. What is definite is that we will learn from this pandemic. It has highlighted the flaws in the healthcare systems all over the world; it has meant that we have seen problems with governments and leaders and shown us what we could have been doing better to prepare and prevent any future pandemics. Looking back, there are likely to be more lessons that we should have learned from already, and while we missed those, it is important that we don’t miss anymore. Look back at how the world recovered in the past and take lessons from that. Prepare for your future by looking at the past.
Consider a range of possible futures.
There are a number of different ways that things could change once the risk of COVID-19 has reduced, so it’s important that you think about a range of possible futures for now. It might be that you put off university for another year, and there are many positives of this; for example, at least you won’t need to worry about making FAFSA mistakes. But it also means that you will have more time, time to save money and time to really think about what it is that you want. Perhaps you weren’t on the right course, so not being able to continue as planned will be a blessing in disguise. You may find that you are made redundant from your job as the company you work for won’t survive. While this is very worrying for everyone right now, it’s important to know that it won’t be forever. The world will simply take time to adjust, but what will come out of this will be different. As restaurants have started delivering more food, people have had family parties on Zoom; perhaps these things will stay, and if so, there will be new businesses opening up new ways of working, and new opportunities to grab. Prepare for your future by thinking about new jobs or opportunities.
Avoid the temptation to try and predict the future.
It’s important that you don’t try to predict what will happen and work off that. If you do, it is likely that you will end up feeling disappointed as nothing ever works out exactly as you think it will, and that is what makes life interesting. Be prepared for different things, but otherwise, try to relax and go with the flow. Right now, there’s not a lot you can do, so take control of what you can. If you’re in lockdown with your family and it’s driving you mad, change your way of thinking and make the most of it instead. You probably won’t get the opportunity to spend so much time with your family again, so appreciate it, value it, and make some memories. This could turn out to be such a special time, and not only that but what happens now could make a huge difference in how the future looks for you.
Don’t expect to revert back to ‘normal.’
You cannot expect to revert back to your usual life as you know it. However, there will be a point at which life will begin to adjust to a new normal, whatever that may be. Things are going to change, and that is something we can be sure of. Whether it’s a change to how we shop for clothes, a change in how we visit the doctor, a change in how we eat at restaurants, life will be different. You might not like it at first, and that’s understandable, however, as long as you don’t expect everything to go back to the way it was, you will limit your disappointment.
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how important people are to us. When looking to the future, think about the people in your life and ask for their thoughts and opinions. Also, consider how the future will change for them. If you have children, how is this affecting them, and how will it affect their future? It might be that you’re looking at your parents and how things will change for them. Think about how life will change for everyone and not just yourself and appreciate that. We are all in this together. However, everyone is on their own journey and experiencing something different. But one of the only things we can control right now is our relationships without friends and family, so make sure you nurture and appreciate them.
Take the time you have been given to look back at what you were doing before this all started, were you happy? If not, why not? While the whole pandemic has been tragic and many lives have been lost, it’s important to make the best of a bad situation, and the lockdown has given people a chance to reset and reflect. Use your time wisely now with what works for you. It could be that for you, this means making the most of time to rest and sleep; for others, it is the opportunity to exercise and to get fit, and for others, it’s a time to learn a new language or start sewing. Whatever ‘wisely’ means for you, this is the way to use your time.
Think about your purpose
Is it still the same as it was? Perhaps this pandemic has made you realize that you want to do more to help people, perhaps you’re now considering a career in healthcare or charity work. Perhaps you wanted to move away from your family and friends, and this situation has made you think twice about doing this. Perhaps you had grand plans to travel, but since the pandemic, you might be feeling uneasy about this, or you might have considered the effects that this will have on the environment, so have changed your mind. It is normal for your priorities and perspectives to change in times of crisis, so give it some thought. What was once important to you may not be now, and it is okay to change your mind. Prepare for your future by going back to school.
The new normal
In the new landscape which will emerge after the COVID crisis, you need to make sure that if you are going back to what you had before, it is the right option. It may have prompted you to revisit what you were doing and what course you were on. Whether it’s a new normal for your job, your business, or your family, things will change one way or another, and while it may take time, there will be a new normal, and we will adjust sooner than you think. This new normal may even be better than the old normal; it will certainly be safer and healthier for everyone.