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The Pandemic Is Ending, And The Optimized, Ever-Distant Future Is Probably Coming Back

In out of the darkness of the pandemic, you can feel the future coming back, in the relative calculations of people’s lives.

The all-encompassing nature of the pandemic subtracted the future for at least a year. And not just in the literal way, in which weddings got displaced and the holidays went a little hazy and you never really knew when you might return to school or the office. The pandemic also paused a certain idea of the future.

Specifically: The pandemic discouraged thinking of the present as an under-construction version of a golden, optimized future, where the economy would finally click into place, the disruptions would level out, and we’d move forward on firm ground. The future-free year: Nobody knew exactly when the dire situation would end or how, so there couldn’t quite be the reasonable expectation of what would come next, in which x and y choices, sacrifices, and calculations