Her comment reminded me of an earlier conversation, back in 2016, when we discussed how our desire to be free and autonomous was paired with the fear of being alone and detached from the community. Eventually, these conversations shaped themselves into a small exhibition, “Errors.” It represented autonomous elements as errors, because after liberation, those elements don't fit anywhere, even though they have the ability to attach themselves basically to anything.
Both of us had also experienced this in our own lives: Gayane, by adapting to her life in Europe, trying to find her place in the new city, new community, new job, and me, by adapting to a new life alone, without a life partner.
Since then, the ideas of void, pauses and silence became interesting for both of us. We were also amazed at how we, representatives of modern society, are afraid of those pauses, silence, and anything that may lead to self-confrontation. All of those fears can be clearly seen now, during the lockdown, how we keep on filling our time, watching beautiful TV shows non-stop, reading, tik-toking, searching for jobs, workshops, e-socializing, all the while not taking time to really reboot.
“Sure we won’t be the same, economically, socially, mentally. We will go back to ‘normal’ at some point, but the image created during the current times will stay in our collective mind. We will make decisions and build our lives differently around new norms.”
When Gayane said that to me during a recent phone call, she paused-- either for me to digest what she said or for her to understand how to continue it. During that pause, I focused on the phrase “new norms” and realized that while the idea brings a blurred sense of fear, it also represents possibilities. It all depends on our actions and current decisions. I understand, but sometimes I just feel the desire to have some guarantees about the future.
And the future must surprise us.
“Everybody wants to understand what's next. What is going to happen? I understand that this is our chance to rethink our lives, daily habits, co-dependencies, and connections with each other, our friends and families. Maybe that is also what we need to learn from this, to live in the moment, and learn to appreciate and be happy with what we have. ”