Chrono Trigger’s Campfire Scene

Recovering the Time We’ve Lost

The end of the pandemic is in sight. It isn’t here yet, but we can see it. A question on the minds of millions around the world is, “how do I recover what I lost in 2020 and 2021?”

We’ve all lost something. For some, usually the wealthy, it was trips to a favorite restaurant, vacations, and other frivolities. For others it was their livelihood, their education, their relationship, parenthood, and, in too many awful cases, the lives of their friends and family. Death has been in the air for millions these last two years.

But one thing we all have lost and can’t get back is time. We can’t recover these last two years. What could have been in the year 2020 and 2021 is no more. We had to put life on hold: careers, children, marriages, seeing the world, laughter and fun with friends and family, learning and growth in school — all delayed.

Even if you couldn’t see yourself doing much different in these last two years it was still a lost opportunity — lost chances to meet new people, lost chances to make changes in your life, and lost chances to do something different.

This should be the ultimate lesson to us all. Life is short and we have to make due with the time that’s given to us. This isn’t the first time people have lost years of their lives because of events far greater than themselves. It’s not the first time people have found themselves at the end of a world changing catastrophe picking up the pieces to make up for what they lost through no fault of their own.

Many who went through World War 2 lost years of their lives. Imagine a soldier who lost five years of their youth to war. It’s no wonder that generation returned focused on making up for lost time. The baby boom followed quickly after as they rushed to start families, careers, and build lives for themselves.

Those years, and all they lost left them more mature and clear eyed about life. They were wiser for what they had gone through.

This pandemic has seen some incredible stupidity. Conspiracy theories ran rampant and continue to fester. No one wins from these except the scam artists on YouTube and social media who make money on it because they will never be capable of getting rich honestly and they don’t care about you or anyone else.

But despite the stupidity we are all, I suspect, a little wiser. We’ve seen that life and our way of life is more precarious than we thought. We know now that the things we love can be taken away from us without warning and so it is right to hold onto them and enjoy this one life we have on earth.

Life is too short to wait. It’s too short to work an awful job, too short to put off your dreams and your future and family and friends. Life is too short to shout at people online and get angry over silly things that you won’t care about thirty years from now.

I know, we’re all exhausted. How are we supposed to summon the energy to make up for two years at this point? It’s going to be tough for many of us. For some it will be easy and I’m sure you’ll see them showing how easy it is for them on social media. If you can draw inspiration from their example then go for it. There is nothing wrong with that. But for many it will make them feel worse. Don’t let it get you down.

Depending on your age you have now made it through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and a global pandemic that has killed millions. You’re a lot tougher than you think, and you have the example of millions from previous generations showing you that it is possible to recover.

When the time comes, take a few deep breaths, and step into the post pandemic world. Sometimes the best cure for exhaustion is, ironically, taking action. Right now we are sentenced to an existence where it’s hard to take any action, but when this ends you will be able to do something about how you feel and where you are in life.

“A change is as good as a rest.”

Winston Churchill

It doesn’t need to be some big life changing leap into the unknown. You don’t have to quit your job and go travelling or try starting the next big tech company, although maybe that is exactly what some need. Even little actions are good — an update to the resume here, a course to update your skills there, a new look for yourself for dating, telling yourself “no” every time you feel like getting into a fight online. Any action, no matter how big or small, that helps you become a better version of yourself is a welcome change.

I don’t want to pretend this is some one-neat-trick-to-change-your-life kind of post though. For some taking action to better their lives will come easily and they’ll see opportunities everywhere. For others it will be hard — very hard, and they will look and find few opportunities. But no matter who you are and where you are in life the basics are still the same: to make your life better you have to take action.

Many of us lost the chance to take action in 2020 and 2021. But you won’t be prevented from taking action forever. We all need you to take action and make your life better, and you need me and everyone else to do the same. The more of us who take action and succeed and make up for what was lost, the better we all will be. We did lose time, and the flow of time is cruel, but you can come out of this wiser and ready to make the best of the years to come.

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Noah Mullins

Noah Mullins

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Musings on life, history, and humanity; and speculative fiction