By Sahar Moussa

The global coronavirus pandemic threw us all straight into a panic, and more than a year and a half later, many have still not recovered. Millions have died, lost their loved ones, lost their jobs, their homes, and their livelihood. Others have been stranded in third countries or stuck in their homelands without work. Now we begin to see (insha’Allah) some light at the end of the tunnel. Now we begin to hope that we are nearing the end of this saga and that life may return to something akin to normal.

But even if we are able to resume work and life 100 percent, and even if we are able to travel freely and to gather in groups, life will not be back to normal for those who have lost everything. So how can we get past it? How can we start to envision the future?
For working adults, we spend most of our life in the office with colleagues. So the first thing we can do is be kinder and more supportive of each other. We can acknowledge those we have lost due to whatever circumstances and we can support and encourage those who remain. We can listen and grieve for the past year and a half. And when that is done, start talking about the future.

The future is what we make it and if we cannot envision it, if we cannot see beyond our current strained and difficult circumstances, we will never be able to build a better future. This can be done in myriad and simple ways. We can use vision boards or set goals – short, medium and long term. Someone who wants to go back to school and earn a degree might see themselves now, in their mid-twenties, as too old and lament how much time they’ve lost and how long it would take them to return to school and finish.

But time passes whether we pursue our goals and dreams or not, so isn’t it better to work for them? We can develop SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic and Time-bound – and work towards them. The future is unknowable and there will likely be many road blocks and detours and challenges. But only when one attempts to build something is there any chance of turning a wish into fulfillment.

For the foreseeable future, the majority of us will be in a constant fight to find a new normal, new jobs, new homes, a new reality that we can live with. This feels unfair and unjust, especially after these endless months of lockdown, curfews, closures and life constricted.

But as cliché as it sounds, when God closes a door, He opens another one. It is hard not to think of your family’s sense of security or not grieve about your losses or feel anxious about what the future holds – but we must not give up. We must find other ways to reinvent ourselves and our world; to be realistic, confident and positive that we can build a better future for ourselves and our children.