It is 2020, and I am about to lose control
A tale of dealing with uncertainty
We are almost at the end of January. This is the right time to start abandoning new year resolutions.
The thing is, I did not have any this year. No goals, no reflection about what happened last year or lessons learnt.
In 2020 it seems a bit ridiculous to try to operate on my usual doing mindset.
Because of very special personal circumstances, there is only one thing I know for sure: it will be a year full of changes. I am not wheeling around yet, but I know I will. It has started and it is making me a bit dizzy. It is a new energy, and it is moving, slow but unstoppable.
Actually, there is a second thing I know: change never comes by itself. When something changes, I need to change something else to accommodate these new circumstances. It is cause and effect, perfectly logical.
Oh, and a third one: I have to wait and see what those changes are like. Mostly because other people are involved, and we all know that when there are more people in the mix, it is impossible to predict the final product.
It is what is often called personal transformation.
It has to be experienced. I simply cannot know what is at the other end, regardless of preparation, reading, reflection, comment or analysis.
Sometimes life throws at you a year like this. More often than not, changes are for the best, and there is reason for excitement and multiple possibilities. There is just some uncertainty along the way. I can’t do anything right now. I have to sit it out till the horizon is clearer.
And it is killing me.
We live in a world of instant gratification. Of instant knowing. Of problem solving.
We think that we can exert some sort of control over our circumstances. We can move to a new house, we can start or finish relationships, change jobs.
This is true on a normal year.
On a year like this, it hits me that I have no control. I have to surrender, wait, experience. This Year, though, I have no control. I have to wait, experience.
Not something that came comes naturally for me, ever.
I can only be active to a certain extent. I am used to “doing”. I feel I need to be receptive — and I am not used to it.
When was the last time I had to cancel plans because I did not have the energy? When was the last time I woke up late, and did not accomplish anything on a weekend? When was the last time my will power was not enough? When was the last time I did not have short and middle-term goals? When is the last time I humbly reached out to others for help, advice, companionship? When is the last time I got bored? I mean really bored, even in the middle of activity, when there is a lot to do but what is to be done are tasks that were interesting a short while ago, but not anymore.
When is the last time I did not judge myself for not wanting to be productive? When is the last time I spent time just being?
When was the last time I even asked myself any of these questions? It has been a while and it is not surprising, because trying to answer them results in low level stress, low level anxiety.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a crisis, but I am getting subtle messages from my body, my sympathetic nervous system is doing its job just fine. I wake up in the middle of the night and it takes me a while to go back to sleep. Or I wake up too early and I cannot close my eyes again.
Different sets of concerns cross my mind in a cyclical fashion, taking the limelight in turns.
I find myself being triggered by things that I thought I had overcome a long long time ago.
What to do when you find yourself in uncharted territory?
I schedule reality checks with wonderful people in my life who tell me that the chances of these concerns materialising are extremely low. And that even if they do, a whole world of solutions, not visible to the naked eye just now, would appear. And that it is in my best interest not to think too far ahead, for my own sanity.
I am so fortunate to have this type of people in my life.
It is very helpful to bring specific concerns to the back of my mind. For a little while, until another one takes centre stage. And so the cycle continues.
I have learnt to make use of tried and tested techniques That is the benefit of being on the other side of experience: I know what to do.
I focus on my breath, I sit with my emotions, I observe and label all of these, knowing that they are just fleeting and deceptive, and that they shall pass.
It is not without resistance, but I decided to give myself a break, just for now. I let myself slob, cry or be angry, eat large amounts of popcorn or greasy food, accept that I will not have much to show at the end of the day. Postpone any judgement. Be OK with whatever is happening, just for now.
How hard I am on myself, though. Dare I say, how hard are we on ourselves, women.
It is not all the time, by the way. There is nothing black and white about my emotional landscape at the moment, which is most disconcerting. I have moments when I just feel happy and open and confident. Light like a feather. I know deep down that truly, everything will not be just fine. It will be wonderful.
When nothing else does the job, I write.
So here I am, doing my evaluation of 2019 just now: I look back for a moment and see how much I have learnt so far, how well equipped I am for, well, whatever happens.
I look towards 2020 and I see how much I have yet to learn, starting this year, even if I have no idea in what shape or form.
I am in the middle of my life, living it to the fullest. Even if it looks like I am just existing at the moment, it is quite the opposite.
Nothing is what it seems, and life is about to commence.