Hermann Hesse once said, there’s magic in every beginning. The thrill of embarking on a journey, when everything seems possible and the unknown is a welcoming friend. But often – too often! – the magic only lasts for the first few steps of the journey. Instead of staying present in the joyful moment, we become distracted by our goal. Worries set in – will we make it? What if we don’t? And what will it feel like once we get there?
A little trip to the past: one hundred and seven years ago, my grandmother was born. She was six months old when World War I started; four years later the Spanish flu began and when she was fifteen, the stock market crashed. She met my grandfather when she was twenty. After having survived a world war, a pandemic and a great depression, they must have thought, ‘at last, everything will be fine’. I’m sure they had no idea what was about to come: a second world war – my grandfather off fighting in Russia, my grandmother fleeing bombs at home. ‘Everything will be fine’ turned into ‘this nightmare never ends’.
I think we are in a similar situation today. Most people are tired of masks and lockdowns and daily death numbers. We want to get back to how things were before. But, apart from the fact that we can never go back, when looking ahead it quickly becomes clear that a problem-free life isn’t very realistic.
More Corona mutants are likely and so the virus will probably stay with us for quite a bit longer. That’s crisis number one. Next: in most countries, a political crisis is unfolding. More and more frustrated people are voting extreme leaders, left and right, who keep playing power games with finite resources and infinite greed. Then there’s the economy – I don’t know when and how, but at some point the whole financial system will simply collapse under the weight of ever-increasing zeros and unsustainable growth models. And speaking of unsustainability, of course there’s the climate crisis too. How much more pollution can this planet take? How much more is it willing to tolerate?
In short: miserable days ahead! Now what?
Here’s what my grandparents did: Right in the middle of World War II, they decided to get married. When my grandfather came home for a little holiday from Stalingrad, they promised each other eternal love. I never talked to them about it, but I imagine when they said I do, in that moment, there was no destructive war. Instead, there were two happy people.
2020 might be the year people of the future will remember as the The Great Beginning. The time when things started to go seriously wrong, when a meltdown of the system was triggered, one big crisis following the other until everything crashed. Right now, we might be experiencing the beginning of the end – unless we turn the tide and become the kind and wise people we are capable of becoming. In that case, perhaps the current start of the crisis era will be remembered as the birth of a better world.
We don’t know what will happen. Most likely not all of it will be fun, but for today, it doesn’t matter. What matters today is that we have absolutely every reason to continue celebrating life. To say THANK YOU for being here and to embrace the sea of possibilities surrounding us. Every single day we get the chance for a new beginning: a new career, a new love, a new home or a new dream. Planting little seeds and following big passions, turning the page and starting a new chapter.
The storm has begun. It’s wild and violent and threatening, but there are beautiful waves too. We could ride them and dive into moments of happiness. Starting today.