HomeOtherLooking Ahead to 2023: When All Suspensions Begin to Come Down

Looking Ahead to 2023: When All Suspensions Begin to Come Down

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With the liberalization of the policy in the last month of 2022, the three-year epidemic life has finally entered a new stage. It seems that all the suspended dust in the air has begun to fall back to the ground.

Looking back on the past three years of the epidemic, people have faced too much uncertainty, and worries and anxieties have spread in all aspects of life and work. At the beginning of the epidemic in 2020, we who had experienced SARS in 2003 did not realize that such days would last intermittently for three years.

In 2021, we began to adjust the expectation of the epidemic from temporary variables to normality. Everything is suspended in the atmosphere, whether it is the constantly mutating virus, economic cycle, geopolitics, or specific personal life and work. No one knows when the epidemic will pass, and doing what can be done is the most optimistic attitude at that time. Hope is not in sight yet, but the day goes on. As Mr. Yang Jiang said: “In the most difficult time, don’t keep thinking about the too distant future, just encourage yourself to get through today.”

2022 is the third year of the fight against the epidemic, and it is also the most deeply felt year for all Chinese people. This year is even a year with a little psychological trauma. PTSD has changed from a professional psychological vocabulary (post-traumatic stress disorder) to a popular Internet hot word. “A grain of dust falling on everyone’s head is like a mountain”, someone jokingly said that in 2022, a grain of dust of the era will eventually fall on each of us.

The days in the impression are rearranged and arranged according to the date of “doing nucleic acid”.

Several times, I was turned away by the company’s extremely responsible security guards after scanning the code. In the days that followed, when I was about to walk to the door and before I took out my phone, I would subconsciously check whether today’s health treasure was within the expiration date. Several times, because I suddenly thought that the nucleic acid test results would soon expire, I drove all over the street in the early morning after working overtime to find a 24-hour nucleic acid testing site. I have never seen Los Angeles at 4 am, but I know where there are open nucleic acid sites in Beijing in the early morning of 2022.

In Beijing in November, during the days when I was required to stay at home, as a liberal arts student, I realized the principle of the universe “relativity”. It turns out that time does have a “relative” attribute. In the days of control, I suddenly feel that time has been stretched and magnified. Looking at the vehicles flowing on the road outside the window, the people walking freely in the community and the passers-by on their bicycles, I felt a kind of sincere envy.

Not sure if I can walk out of the house, or if I can walk into the company as usual… This kind of problem that I didn’t think about in the past will become a daily routine in a fantasy drift in 2022.

Gray rhino, black swan… Words that always liked to be reported by the media have really come to life. They have become so specific, urgent and imminent, forming a unique imprint of uncertainty that belongs to our generation.

In 2022, we also like to use “going ashore” to express the desire of people caught in great uncertainty to obtain a stable and firm situation. On Zhihu, all kinds of “going ashore” posts are full of heated discussions. Civil servants go ashore, postgraduate entrance examinations go ashore, and then there are “small promotions” going ashore… Congratulations on going ashore seems to congratulate others to bid farewell to their past uncertainties , bid farewell to the hard days.

I think of the fable “The Sun and the Wind” that we all heard when we were young. The sun and the north wind bet on who can take off the coat of the passerby first, and finally the sun won. This story tells us that the harsher the environment, the more people will subconsciously hold on to what they hold.

In the same geographical space, the time goes back more than 30 years ago. In the early 1990s, when our fathers were still holding iron rice bowls and the unit was in charge of a person for a lifetime, it became popular to resign and “go to sea”. Thinking about it now, for the people at that time, it really took a lot of courage to give up the place where they lived and lived. Time passed, and thirty years later, when our generation began to settle down, “going ashore” became the main theme. Is our father’s generation more courageous, or is our generation more vulnerable and flustered?

In 2023, the first day of New Year’s Day, the reopened Lama Temple, people who came to pray for blessings and offer incense have been lined up several kilometers away, and had to move their feet slowly in the long queue to enter. The biting cold wind in Beijing during the three or nine days seemed to reflect the sincerity of the people, and more and more young people formed the majority of the blessings. It is said that in our age the young have learned to be more religious than their elders.

Whether it is a long stream of water or a turbulent move forward, the epidemic will eventually pass, and it will begin in 2023. Just as we don’t know whether the new crown epidemic has clear sequelae, there are still many uncertainties in the society after the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, we have to admit that no matter how we label uncertainty as “bad”, we cannot escape the “duality” in the laws of nature, and it will eventually be “good”. “Only when the old order collapses can life be filled with new pearls.” I wrote my first New Year’s message in the New Year’s circle of friends.

Although uncertainty brings us too much uneasiness and anxiety, it also brings new possibilities and new choices to people, and breeds new hope. In the intertwined contradiction of certainty and uncertainty, everything flows. Looking at it this way, “Going ashore” and “Going to the sea” may just belong to different chapters, and now we have just heard a symphony of ups and downs in its entirety.

Facing the reality, no matter how much we desire safety and stability, we cannot sail the big ship of life into the desert. We can only stay at sea and accept the ups and downs of this big ship in the waves, ups and downs.

I hope that in 2023, we can all start by accepting uncertainty, and calmly say to ourselves: “Accept uncertainty, it’s okay.”

(This article only represents the author’s personal opinion, edit email: zhen.zhu@ftchinese.com)

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