Ephemeral

Transposing emblem by Kamila Trojnar

Uncertainty is omnipresent. It permeates and even guides the majority of what we are and what kind of decisions we have to make every single day. Would you disagree? Let us then take a look at the reality of all of us in general as well as many of us in Poland. I would argue that uncertainty sticks its nose into every and any aspect of our lives. But there is a way to find a little bit of peace in this chaotic sea of forever uncertain ground.

First of all, uncertainty is what underlies the deepest layers of our professional work; whether you are an employee of a company owned by someone else or even more if you run a business on your own. Obviously, we run a company to make ends meet. Some of us will be more successful and others less so but in both cases we will see uncertainty peeping through any hole it can find to enter our business. We have a client today, but will they be with us tomorrow? We have liquidity today, but what if our store collapses tomorrow due to an earthquake? But did I say business life is more volatile? Perhaps I should have thought twice. You might think that with a permanent contract, which means you are employed for an indefinite period of time in Poland, you are safe and there is no reason to worry about where your money will come from tomorrow. Or is there? If you think about it from the perspective of the person you work for, his or her company is facing the same kind of uncertainties about the future as I mentioned before. If the company fails tomorrow, they will fire you the next day. You will have the three-month notice period, but where is your financial stability now?

Another area of uncertainty that does not stray far from our previous work-related concerns is our health. I think we would all seriously agree that no health equals no quality of life and often no work either, which leads to no money, and so on and so forth… Losing your health might not only mean you will no longer be capable of doing the same job you have done so far but you may also be suddenly deprived of the chance to enjoy doing all kinds of things you like. And health is such an apparently uncertain treasure. I am sure we all wonder more often than not how easy it is to damage our body or even cut the fragile thread of our lives. How can you ever be sure that the trip to the lake does not end on a tree trunk this time or whether going down the stairs on this particular day does not mean you are heading for disaster. You just never know.

Uncertainty surrounding both our jobs and our health frequently boils down to the unpredictability of our finances since money, in our modern world, is said to be a means to everything. We may argue about whether this is true or not but most of us will quickly agree that money definitely makes life easier and is capable of erasing a lot of uncertainty from our lives – thus giving us a fraction of peace. Unfortunately, the majority of us are not lucky enough to say: “I never have to worry about money,” and so we are all anxious about whether what we have today is going to last. Some of us go even further and ask ourselves if what we have today is not going to be wasted on some futile endeavors. And here we come to the topic of investment, perhaps more relevant than ever in our Polish political reality today. Everything seems unstable right now. Will I find justice in court? Will I be able to afford taxes and social security contributions? Will other market players survive so that we can all prosper instead of failing in a recession? Is it worth investing in Poland if you are not sure whether your rights are going to be respected? It is like trying to maneuver on quicksand.

These are all very important questions and the examination of them continues in our life as individuals and families. Many of us Poles often feel that there is no stability in our reality. Politicians will call it transformation and reform but a citizen will often say: testing and programs in schools change almost every year. The rules for running a business and calculating costs change so rapidly, you cannot even trust an accountant to follow them closely. When we started working, you promised that we would retire at that age but then you changed it. How can you strive for certainty in such a capricious environment? Is there anywhere we can look for stable ground? After all, there is nothing harder and more stressful then balancing your feet every step you take. No one can stay sane and go on like this forever, can they?

Well, last but not least, let us take a look at our relationships. Well it sure does sound like another deep sea of uncertainty. For some of us there is nothing less certain than our relationships, especially those of the romantic type. But is it really so? I would argue that we can make our relationships this single stable home where we can always come back for love, friendship, and support. In this forever whirling cyclone of chaos, you may stand in its eye, hugging the dearest people to you, and you will all survive the storm of uncertainty. You, together, may withstand its violence because every time one person’s foot slips, there is another person to grab their arm. And besides, if we leave the romantic relationships aside with all their unpredictable twists and turns, there are also the relationships with our children. Is there anything stronger and more unbreakable than a bond with your child? Whatever happens in life, this is one stable area where you can be certain you love and are loved back. Once again together against uncertainty! So if you feel tomorrow might bring a disaster, you will lose your sight, be fired, the government will suddenly decide there is no support for the blind any more, and even your spouse leaves you when you can no longer provide for them.… If you feel you can find no safe rock to place your foot on and feel certain of your choice, then turn to your people – to your dearest friends and the ones you love. It may seem they are sometimes far away but I am more than certain, they will be happy to throw some bigger rocks for you to safely land on.