You create your life, and you can recreate it, too. In times of economic downturn and uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to look deep inside yourself to fathom the sort of life you really want to lead and the talents and passions that can make that possible.
I’m stunned over the lapse of time since I laid words upon these pages. The result of an escalating unsettling created by our shifting world in 2021 and these first months of 2022. At times, it left me discombobulated, restless, and incapable of anything other than shallow breathing while pushing myself to get through the day. Stymied the creative process and questioned this writer’s journey.
Anxiety bloomed not solely borne from COVID’s morbidity, boarder closures, crippling restrictions, isolation, product shortages, and inflated prices. Social and political conflict, plagues, drought, fires, floods, and a mounting possibility of WWIII created an emotional paralysis. The entire world – my world – was imploding! How does anyone survive during such times of profound uncertainty?
The first positive steps to reclaiming my life began with a long walk in early November – 135 km along the Southwestern Australian coastline. Next, I decorated the house and celebrated Christmas, acutely aware of my children and grandchildren’s absence. Ignored the uncertainty darkening my soul. The New Year arrived with my neighbour/Aussie sister, Tess, at my side. Those simple acts of engaging in normal and positive activities shifted a degree of my angst.
In February, I revisited Ken Robinson’s words. When I internalized that I’m the instrument of change in my life, anxiety’s cords loosened, enabled the drawing of deep breaths, oxygenating my brain, heart, and soul. Drove home the necessity to evaluate and redefine my priorities, the vision of my life. So, I scrutinized needs and wants. Resolved to tie up loose ends, complete tasks shoved beneath the bed of life, to draw loved ones within arm’s reach closer.
In a nervous corner of my soul, I considered how my writing and life fit. As I questioned whether it was a priority or a fanciful waste of time and effort, my eyes rested on a stack of unread novels. Steven King’s advice, to excel at writing one must study other writer’s works, echoed in my head.
How does one find the time when life’s demands whittle away the hours and leaves little room for either reading or writing?
Audible solved the problem. Twenty-five books in three months. I explored Joy Ellis, Tim Winton, Trent Dalton, Erica Ferencik, Dervla McTiernan, Anthony Doer, V.E. Schwab, Alice Feeney, Craig Silvey, Judy Leigh, and the first three books of Diana Gabaldon’s epic Outlander series. The fourth tome is ready to go. All accomplished while sorting and purging the contents of cupboards, closets, and sheds; while gardening, driving to-and-fro, cleaning, shopping, doing laundry, preparing meals, and breathing. Most amazing was how critical my ear became to the author’s style and skill at storytelling. I learned while accomplishing a task. I laughed, cried, empathized, despised, and was amazed. Opened my mind to new perspectives. All proved a source of inspiration.
As for my writing? It knocks loudly. Begs for expression. April begins the dissection of a novel in need of ruthless revision. Nourishing the starved passion began by slating two hours each morning, Monday thru Friday, on my wall calendar. My writing time. My happy time.
How have these worldly troubles affected you and your passion(s)? Has it ignited the need to realign or reassess what’s important in your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for listening. Cheers.
4 thoughts on “Surviving Uncertainty”
You are on point about how this last 2 years and heading into year 3 of world turmoil has caused people, myself included, to re evaluate our lives. Myself and my family have decided that getting back to nature was what we needed. Camping, hiking and canoeing were the outlets we chose. Not the car camping we used to do, but the cary what you need into the backcountry kind. As for the living part. Self sufficiency is the name of the game. Last year we raised and grew 80% of our food. It was such a relief as we watched the prices in the stores rise every month and the shelves more and more empty.
Re discovery of self, skills and sticktoitiveness is the current theme for this upcoming year.
Now more than ever we need to seek knowledge and support each other. With each person who challenges themselves, one more person believes they can do the same. We draw courage and strength from each other. Thank you for showing your courage.
Thanks Roxanne – Well done on your re-evaluation and the foray into self-sufficiency. Love the term sticktoitiveness. That’s the key, isn’t it? Beneath our quaking surface there is great strength and more resilience than we imagined. It take great courage to persevere through difficult changes. Thanks for sharing.
I can relate to so much of what you said here. For instance, I’m constantly trying to encourage myself to write or decide not to bother writing after pondering if the process is a priority or a silly little hobby. The quandary has escalated some in the last two years too.
Anxiety is often close at hand when I feel like I’m caught in a fog of indecision. Some days I’m convinced I need to go easy on myself and lessen expectations. Life is too stressful right now… I’m doing the best I can in this situation kind of self talk. Other times, if I’m truthful, I know I am using all the horrific world events as an excuse to opt out of pushing myself or getting anything done.
Good for you for getting ‘back in he game’. Immersion into story is an excellent strategy. Taking time to read has ‘unstuck’ my creative juices more than once. Mindless things help for me as well – walking outside with no particular destination or plan. Jigsaw puzzles, puttering with plants and soil… Inspiring people like you help too, Stephanie. We all need each other so much in times like these. Thanks for showing us how the journey is going for you.
Hello Bev – Hugs of understanding and support to you from me. My emotional complicity offers no words of cheery advice. Rather a few thoughts to consider. I’ve read sections of your work in progress. Never doubt its significance. The story is unique, creative, and worth finishing. It possesses tremendous value. I’d hate to think it left unfinished but understand the heavy weight of your hands, heart and mind. Whether our writing is a hobby of self-expression and the release of the wonderful stories conjured in our head or a story destined for greater readership, they should be finished. One chapter at a time. Despite the way life sucks the motivation out of us. They deserves a final The End, because you’ve breathed so much life into it thus far. In some ways it is an heirloom for your children and grandchildren to cherish. A wonderful gift from and about you.
You are so right about us all needing each other. By leaning on one another for support or a new perspective we regain our strength and determination. Thanks for sharing, Bev. And your own words of encouragement and support.
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