There have been a handful of occasions in my life where I ask myself the title of this article. Chances are you’ve asked yourself this question too. Maybe not out loud, but you’ve at least thought it. I have been wanting to write this entry for a while, but didn’t know how to go about it at first. I think with everything that is going on with the Coronavirus in the world today that writing this couldn’t feel more appropriate since a lot of us I’m sure are asking ourselves and our government “now what?”
This phrase may be a good thing. The one time I frequently associate with this feeling is when I first moved out to college. My mom and girlfriend at the time, as well as some douchey frat boys who I’m sure were just trying to get their service hours in, spent all morning dropping off boxes and bags upstairs into my dorm. When it finally came time to say goodbye, I gave my hugs and walked up the never-ending staircase because the elevators were broken (one of many times throughout the semester) and dropped my last bag onto the floor.
I remember looking around my room, scanning over the cardboard boxes and scissors I would inevitably have to access and then looking out my window. I stared intensely out the halfway jammed window and slightly yellowed window into the distance of the roadways and full parking lot. I returned into consciousness and thinking those magic words “now what”. I had never lived away from my family or my hometown, at least from memory, in my life. I left behind my job that I had worked at for three years, all of my closest friends and family, and my significant other who I was with nearly every single day at the time. I knew nobody who lived out here and I felt completely lost.
At the very least I was optimistic and entranced with the idea of starting this new chapter in my life. Luckily this turned to my benefit, but that’s for another entry. Point is, thinking “now what” is something that in my eyes should be asked more frequently. Not knowing what to do or what to expect is something that should be treasured. It’s fun to not know what is going to happen next. That is what makes books and movies most interesting. The suspense and curiosity is what makes life more lively.
However, there are some cases where “now what” can be seen as a phrase of hopelessness. Two examples come to mind when I think of a bad case of this seemingly hopeless question. The first being a more relevant example and that is the COVID-19 pandemic and the other being Avengers Infinity War, which in my eyes is just as vital.
With Coronavirus being something that absolutely NO ONE expected to come out of this new decade a lot of us are caught with our pants down. Raise your hand if you have never been through something like this before. 1… 2… 3… see at least the three people that will actually read this haven’t seen something like this before. With Stay-at-home orders dates that seem to only extend every other week and a diagnosis rate that only rises by the minute a lot, if not all of us have no idea what is going to become of this. Will it end?! Will I get to enjoy a frozen strawberry lemonade from McDonalds outside this summer? Will I get to see David Ross manage the Chicago Cubs for the very first time? Will I ever find true love???
The answers to all of those questions (hopefully the last one too) is yes. As bad as it may seem right now, things will turn around. Having this time to ourselves inside (if you aren’t inside then stop reading this and read the news dumbass) is a blessing in disguise. Sure, we are all probably wondering “now what” by the hour, but so much good can come from this “now what” situation. I firmly believe that as soon as the coast is clear or at least safe enough, a lot of us will not take our outdoor privileges for granted anymore. So many times I would come home from school or work and just collapse. Collapse into my bed and into the world of social media and Netflix marathons. This clearly isn’t a healthy lifestyle, but being forced to stay inside really makes me want to be outside. Maybe it is just humans natural crave to want what we can’t have, but I seriously don’t ever just want to spend a whole day inside unless I have to anymore.
On a less serious note, when I saw Avengers Infinity War I also asked the question “now what?” *SPOILERS* When Thanos snaps and wipes out half of the world’s population and just disappears, leaving all the superheroes speechless and just ending the film minutes after. This was just shocking, the bad guy won, and it seemed hopeless for the characters and the audience. I truthfully didn’t know what was going to happen after that.
When it comes to entertainment media, this question isn’t nearly as threatening as in real life, but I feel as though there is a lot we can learn from these forms of entertainment. To ask ourselves these questions like “now what” or “what happens next” leads to creative thinking and critiquing of what is to come. This is obviously a good thing.
I guess the main point I am trying to get across is don’t lose hope and asking the what ifs and focus more on the present or the “NOW whats”. There is a lot that we can learn about ourselves and each other by questioning where life will take us next.