It is reputed to be an ancient Chinese curse, but apparently, like so many “facts” we take a face value, it isn’t. But “May you live in interesting times” continues to be a curse non-the-less. After all, what most of us really want is peace and stability, what we would like to call normality.
Well, I think I can safely say that, for better or worse, we have all been living in interesting times for the past year, and continue to do so. Any idea of “normal” has become something of a pipe dream as our lives have been turned over and assaulted from all sides. Personally, I am in a bit of a quandary over all this “interesting times” stuff. Yes, I do like my routines and stability. It is good to have some idea of where your life is going and what you can expect from day today. But I also crave change. Change is good, even when it often isn’t. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but as I see it, every change brings with it opportunities. Now, the change itself may be initially perceived as bad, but in most cases, one can find something good, maybe a foundation on which to build something positive.
Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to live my life through songs. I can find a title or line to suit almost every occasion. Right now I am hearing the line “Life’s what you make it” from the 1980s band Talk Talk. While the lyrics themselves lack clarity or any actual meaning, that one line expresses a sentiment I can concur with.
I work with people who see change as something to be feared. As soon as you say something is being upgraded or replaced, their world seems to fall into a flat spin. It is a fear of change that holds so many of us back. Don’t get me wrong, I have never advocated change for its own sake. Changing things just for the sake of it is never a good idea. It’s a mistake that many politicians make They feel they have to been seen to be doing something, so plough headfirst into making unnecessary changes just to justify their existence. We have all seen this too many times. Systems that are working just fine, thank you very much, cast aside on a whim to be replaced by something not fit for purpose.
But politicians aren’t the only ones who make silly decisions. We can all do that. The trick is to work with them, not against them, and find ways to mitigate the impact of new ideas and find ways to make them work for you.
I work in IT and we see changes almost every day. It is a minefield and almost impossible to keep up with. Sometimes we see things that don’t make sense or seem to be going backwards, but overall, it is the one area where constant striving for better and more efficient systems have brought changes that have benefit almost all of us. I am not one of those who embrace every new idea. I need to be convinced that it will benefit the users I support. They don’t always agree with me and I think some of them would be happy if we went back to Windows XP. But change is inevitable and should be embraced. It is coming whether we like it or not, so it’s better to work with it rather than against it.
During the past year, we have seen so much change in the ways people work, socialise and live that it is becoming increasingly difficult to remember our pre-covid lives. There is little chance of things going back to exactly what they were. With so many of us embracing the technologies that have kept us together and allowed us to work throughout this tumultuous year, some permanent changes are inevitable.
We have been living through interesting times and think we will continue to do so for a while yet.
Interesting times may well be a curse to some, but to many of us, they can be a blessing in disguise.