A few days ago, I had a dream that was so vivid I awoke in the early hours of the morning convinced it would come true. It was Jamais vu if you will.
The premise of this make-believe scenario was your typical Saturday afternoon BBQ setting somewhere around a decade from now. Summer was looming and it was a child’s birthday. As the wives readied the gifts and salads in a race circuit of children, the men stood in a semi-circle in a stereotypical way, flipping burgers and sipping beer.
Like a classic scene from King of the Hill, the male’s conversations were short and full of whit (at least that’s my recollection). Then, a moment creeps up where the conversation naturally faded. Silence. My buddy sips his beer, gazes into the smoking BBQ and says…
Do you guys remember when the world was in lockdown that time? That shit was crazy eh?
A few huffs and a few of those oh yeah laughs you do when you recall something, I woke up.
I felt a sense of calm after having that dream. But for a few days, I couldn’t put my finger on why? I could feel myself becoming at peace with the three weeks of intensive self-isolation and social distancing.
After finally talking to my partner about it, she asks, “do you think maybe this is your subconscious trying to remind you everything will be OK?”
Of course, that was what it was! I’ve been practising stoicism for a while now but it seemed I’d let it slip. Work had been dragging me down. I’d had to refund all of our customers who we’d probably never see again. The media was constantly throwing a bombardment of updates and numbers.
I couldn’t escape from that dirty C-word that infected every screen I looked at.
I’d just started getting myself down, like a lot of us have.
Going back to a technique called Fear Setting, designed by the great Tim Ferriss, I used the dream I’d had as a foundation to set a more positive mindset.
Where Tim usually recommends thinking of the worst-case scenario and moving backwards, I used the best-case scenario and listed out the ways I would have got to that.
Breaking down that dream, I asked myself how much of it was probable in my very real, current situation?
First, I’m married and probably have kids.
If I keep my head together now, our relationship can focus on what truly matters during this crisis. This makes this vision a real probability. It comes down to reminding myself of a few things:
- I’m absolutely privileged to be going through this with my partner whereas some are alone.
- The small, niggly things are not worth getting choked up about.
- Our kids will probably want to ask us about this period and we need to be able to explain it credibly and positively.
- It’s OK to go for walks alone to get some space.
I have my friends there.
Yes, that’s very probable, even more so with the increased virtual meetings we’re doing and the plans we have for when we can all catch up again. The moment I realized the dream featured my buddies, I knew it would remain a good one and not take a dark turn.
Just like in real-life, your mates will always be there. They may change, but you’ll always have your tribe. It’s so easy to forget during this particular time that we can reach out to them to take the pressure away or even just laugh.
Laughing is so important today.
The confidence to laugh now will reflect on how we laugh about this in a decades time.
There is a house, garden, and BBQ.
This one is more difficult (not the BBQ part, that’s definitely going to happen).
Financially, I’ve been crippled by the C-Word and its effect on the economy. But it’s still not the worst thing I’ve been through. In fact, as my financial advisor says, “Ollie, money is always gained and lost. Sometimes more is gained, but some will always be lost. That’s why it’s important to remember that being wealthy is more important than being rich”.
My grandparents have been through 21 recessions (no seriously, 21). When I speak to them about 2020, they almost laugh. They’ve got no mortgage and an excellent retirement for a couple who live in a moving RV.
Even though the specific outcome of owning property is daunting for many, we need to ask ourselves, has someone less intelligent than I achieved this before?
Chances are, they have.
We were in lockdown…
And this dear reader is the crucial part. We were in lockdown. We were going through COVID-19, we were in this before and will probably go through it again. But dang we are resilient.
And this is what we need to keep reminding ourselves.
This crisis may get worse before it gets better and an endpoint seems impossible. But try to remember what we’ve been through. Those terrible periods that somehow we can now talk about around a BBQ.