Wartime Diary Notes — the privilege of long-term planning, adaptation and what really matters  

* Written in April 2022, during the russian invasion of Ukraine. 

What if you ‘switch off’ the long-term planning? 

For me it was down for about a month because of the need to make decisions right now without any chance to know what comes next. In fact even short term planning was limited, because the other day you would not even say about one hour of perspective. 

Usually my mind draws various scenarios from the ‘now’ position towards possible future outcomes, like snowflake rays emanating from the center and intersecting with many lines. When the war started, my family and I, being absolutely non-military, had to react. And this approach quickly proved unsuitable – again and again my brain had to reproject without pause as circumstances kept changing until I was completely exhausted. 

This is when gratitude comes. The ability to make long-term plans is a privilege in itself. Be grateful every day you have it.

How quickly can you adapt?

Even if you think you are ready, it takes time to adapt. And the reason is that you hardly accurately imagine the future and there is always a chance for a surprise. The more unpleasant surprises in a short period of time, the more depressive blows during the adaptation, which means that your mental health is being tested to the limit. If you pass the test, you adapt, otherwise you may find yourself depressed, for example. It is important to realistically calculate the time needed to adapt and build your forecasts accordingly in order to last longer. 

To adapt means to be able to function normally in new conditions. I was able to adapt by resetting my expectations, because my initial expectations were far too optimistic.

Lesson learned. Adaptation takes time and it’s best to keep that in mind. 

About the soft skills 

During these days, as a volunteer, I met a lot of new people, really a lot, from all over the world who came to Ukraine to help, and Ukrainians from different parts of Ukraine. What I found out…

Soft skills and human relationships are something immensely important at whatever time comes.

Human lives depend on the ability of different people to understand each other, not to mention the success of a business. 

About the principles 

I am lucky to be mostly surrounded by people who “in matters of principle, stand like a rock”. But in difficult times, it can be tempting to “adjust” to new conditions in ways that screw up your own standards and allow behavior that you wouldn’t have otherwise. 

This is not the way. When it’s over, it will always be you, knowing everything you’ve ever done, forever. 

It’s about being consistent with yourself at all times you go through. 

Another aspect of this is when temporarily unpleasant conditions can cause you to simply “forget” to take care of yourself, such as taking your usual medications, taking care of your sleep state, and so on. You may think that this is OK due to the temporary nature of the inconvenience, so you can just wait. But the thing is, you never know how long you have to wait. And the longer you ignore your own needs, taking care of others or doing “more important things,” the worse the condition you will find yourself in later.  

Take care of your health when you can. Good sleep, hygiene, vitamins, water and food are not luxuries, your body needs them to function properly. So don’t miss a day unless you absolutely have to. 

About what matters 

When you are not sure about tomorrow, you appreciate what you have already experienced. And it’s not about the things you bought, like an apartment or a car, etc. It’s what you actually enjoyed in your life. 

“Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow is but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day.”**

Kālidāsa, The complete works of Kalidasa

Enjoy the simple things you have and do more of what YOU enjoy, be grateful and live life today, even if today seems to be not the best version of itself.