Let me be the first to say I have often enjoyed dwelling in the warmth of the comfortable.
Every sense of peace that has come to me in the form of a well-ironed routine, re-watchable movie, or unconditional friendship, I have continually clung onto dearly. To me, there’s always been something so alluring about the familiar. Although I will always celebrate finding these gems and cherishing them as such, I had to learn early on the inevitability of change. That life, without its constant shifting and newness, isn’t really life at all. And while we greet some transitions with a lightened heart or tears of relief, others can dissolve the once solid ground beneath us in a moment. Let me also be quick to admit that finding myself in this kind of uncertainty, the kind we know to take pieces of our lives with the tide, I have had to fight to see the good in.
Oddly enough, I’ve reaped benefits more than once from change that at first appeared so daunting. You would think by now I would know how this thing goes. But every left turn tends to feel a little different, doesn’t it? Each holds its own set of complications and ‘I don’t knows’ and hard to get out of bed mornings.
So, time and time again, I consciously relearn the beauty that does indeed come from those unpredictable seasons of life.
For me, this has been most difficult when I am without work, but is also often so present in our relationships, finances, health - fill in the blank. It’s time that feels slow and maybe without an end in sight. Of wondering who will make the first call of amends. Of when and if checks will arrive. Of simply having no idea where to start picking up these pieces we once knew as sturdy and whole. But more than anything, it is a time to harness. To endlessly grab every drop of goodness you can find. You’d be surprised how easy it is against that question mark of a backdrop.
Last summer I was let go from a job I loved, and it was the first time in awhile I met uncertainty apart from my control. And it confronted me with the fact that I lost sight of what I wanted to chase after. I had been wonderfully content. It’s lovely place to be, but one we have to be cautious to never let become synonymous with complacency. Though in the thick of it instability can leave us hopeless, we cannot give into staying there. We must rise above any thoughts that lend ourselves too much pity and others not enough grace. No, these are the times we shake things out, and underripe as we feel, find the part of ourselves that can dream again.
Did I practically realize my answer right away? Absolutely not. Actually, I rather impulsively took an international trip alone. Not to come back with a strategy, but simply to let myself be open and excited in the face of something new. Because it wasn’t a five year plan I found walking the South Bank in London, or a groundbreaking career change driving down the coast of Iceland. It was the confidence to explore, candidly. It was appreciating every facet of myself I let strangers see that had been left on the shelf too long.
I wonder, without these circumstances, would I have dared to dust off these parts of myself I wasn’t using otherwise?
Most of the time, giving ourselves permission is all we really need to move forward.
This message is a simple one. There is no three-point plan. It is solely the continual choice of hope. To not fight, but embrace everything at hand and push yourself to a better place than you left. So wholeheartedly seek what awakes you. Be unafraid to see where it goes. This doesn’t have to mean traveling outside the country (though I highly recommend it). It can be as effortless as picking back up your love to draw, or going for a walk with nothing in hand but your imagination. Anything that will reopen your mind to whatever you feel you’ve lost is worth its time - not just to create anything new, but your best yet.
Photos by: Andrea David