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December 21, 2021

''Waiting for Godot'' or Our tendency to live in the future


Better days are coming! But, in the meantime, what happens with the ones already here?

Whether we admit it or not, humans love dreaming…when we are awake. We spend endless hours imagining our future. Not a distant future with flying cars, trips to Mars and robot-servants, but our close and personal future, in which life is always easier and more ideal. We mentally teleport to a reality in which we have achieved our goals, from the most trivial (“they finally asked me out”) to the most important ones (trips, families, discoveries, inventions, careers, autographs, degrees, prizes) and we have finally been freed from everything that was holding us back. This is τhe infamous, adored daydreaming. Yes, I know your thoughts before going to bed, because- let’s admit it- I have similar ones.

However, is that bad? Of course not! Hope constitutes an integral part of our existence. It is our driving force, our mental “oxygen”, and if we lose it... we are screwed. In a nutshell, we are anticipating a “brighter” tomorrow in order to endure a “darker” today, promising ourselves an upgraded version of us. And the truth is that we need that, we need to see the end of the tunnel, we need to look forward to better things. So, then, where’s the problem?

The problem is that, sometimes, while chasing the future, we neglect the present. Unconsciously we rest assured thinking of these auspicious “whens”: when the week is over, when this exam period is over, when I am able to leave this job, when this year’s summer arrives, and the next one and the one after that… We are essentially found in an endless situation of waiting for better conditions, which feels like we are the protagonists in our own version of Waiting for Godot.

But Godot doesn’t come, time goes by, and the present becomes the past. We are only looking forward to “what is to come” (or what we are hoping is coming) and as a result we treat what is really happening as a boring, dull level that we have to pass because the next one could be more interesting. We easily fall victims to the perfect future trap, because the present doesn’t satisfy us and we are looking for a lifeline. However, we often forget (or choose to forget) that tomorrow’s foundations are built today.

This little omission happens because it is easier than immediately taking harsh decisions, as well as more comfortable than taking steps towards the unknown. We define the result in our minds and if we don’t like it, we start over, but we are well aware that reality is never this simple. On the contrary, it is often tiring, even scary, so it always looks like the scale is tipping towards possible failures rather than guaranteed successes.

So, what’s the solution? Do we have to limit our imagination? No, not our imagination! I don’t think it is necessary or even possible! We shouldn’t be afraid of dreaming because we can get carried away. Likewise, we shouldn’t be afraid of change, because it might not live up to our flawless dreams. They should motivate us, not hold us back. In the end, regardless of our countless ideal scenarios, the future remains unpredictable, but what we can change- each in their own way and pace- is the present… for the time being.

Better days are coming! But, until then, the present ones might not be that bad, right?

Note: Waiting for Godot (1949) is a play by Samuel Beckett

Translated by Panagiota Katsaveli, Reviewed by Kyriaki Arnaouti

Photography by Sotiris Stamatiou


Author
Alexandra Sklavou

Alexandra was born in Athens two years before the change of the millennium, but now lives in Thessaloniki as a student of the Aristotle University. She likes reading books, travelling, drinking countless cups of tea, and talking a bit, (or a lot), more than average. She is a perfectionist, a somewhat know-it-all, but she is full of optimism and has plenty of words of consolation. She hates waking up late because she claims to be "losing half a day" and is the right person to host a unique surprise party.


Translators
Panagiota Katsaveli (she/her)

Born and raised in Kilkis, but her imagination has convinced her that she has lived in many countries around the world. Spends most of her free time watching TV shows, while adopting the personality and behavior of her favorite characters. The combination of perfectionism and laziness that characterize her will eventually be her destruction. Chocolate, wine, coffee and pizza is what she is made of.

Kiriaki Arnaouti (she/they)

Born a Drama queen, both literally and figuratively. Her mind is constantly switching back and forth between Greek, English and Spanish but her heart is set on two things only; iced coffee and books. Her Sagittarius nature convinces her that she’s the funniest person alive, but that’s for you to discover!

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