Situation normal or….
Growing up, we were an Intellivision family (as opposed to Atari or ColecoVision). There were a few games I liked to play on the old Intellivision, but one in particular stands out: SNAFU.
SNAFU was a super basic game (I mean, it was the 80s) involving some very simple serpents trying to outnumber one another. If you want to get the full audio visual experience, check out this YouTube video of the game being played in all of its 8-bit glory.
I’ve been thinking about SNAFU all week. SNAFU, the old military acronym, stands for Situation Normal: All F*cked Up. Snafu, the noun, means a confused or chaotic state. To snafu, the verb, is to throw a situation into chaos.
Shouts into the void…
Who here is familiar with chaos?
Back to the SNAFU, the game. You start out to the sound of an electric hiss. You’ve got options, you’ve got possibilities. Then SNAP/POW/KABOOM, someone (maybe you), hits a wall. Now’s there’s a pulsating beat of music. Game on, until game over.
And just like that, many possibilities are eliminated. So you try again.
We are surrounded by possibilities. Some we fixate on, others we haven’t even imagined.
When something unexpected happens, we are thrown into chaos. Sometimes chaos is good. It might stimulate creativity or wake you up from a deep sleep (figuratively speaking). Chaos can inspire new possibilities.
Chaos can also wear us down. In this article on pandemic flux syndrome, I learned about something called surge capacity:
“Surge capacity is a collection of adaptive systems — mental and physical — that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations.”
— Ann Masten, Psychologist
Who here is tired of all the chaos?
Here’s the thing: chaos is here to stay. This is why I derive some comfort from the military acronym of SNAFU. You know the one: everything is f*cked, but that’s basically normal at this point.
Sometimes I freak myself out thinking about all of the possibilities, paths, and opportunities that are available to all of us, at all times.
We truly do not know what we do not know.
We may choose wrong on our journey, pick the wrong door, or go against our gut.
We may have to deal with change that is out of our control.
We may have to move through stages of grief as we move towards acceptance of a new situation.
It’s all learning.
If some unexpected chaos (who expects chaos?) has got you down, here are some questions you might want to noodle on:
🕹️ How am I different because of the change in my situation? How am I the same?
🕹️ What is now possible that I hadn’t considered before?
🕹️ What am I now ready to let go of?
🕹️ What am I ready to see now?
🕹️ What do I really WANT?
If you can work your way through these questions, you might be feel better about one of the harder questions: Where do I go from here?
We’re all out here playing the game of life. Game on, friends.
This was originally published in my weekly newsletter in October of 2021. If you want to read more stories like this, you can subscribe here: newsletter.rozduffy.com