One feels good. One doesn’t.
Pretty sure you can figure that one out on your own.
I know, I know. It’s been a while.
I could sit here and tell you that I’ve been busy and yes, that was the case this summer but I have to admit for the past month time is a pretty poor excuse. The truth is, I’ve been feeling a little - okay fine, a lot - lost since I closed the studio doors on Thanksgiving. If you’re feeling bad for me, don’t. This is a normal and expected part of my year. It happens every fall, like clockwork, when the community that I put so much of my time and energy into suddenly disappears.
I’ll admit that there’s an initial sense of relief at having some time to myself and finally a weekend off but that quickly gives way to an eerie silence and a loud, anxious voice in my head asking over and over again: “What Now?”.
I would’ve thought this year would be easier. I’ve already experienced the challenges of moving to another country with a ‘self-created’ career. But it’s not. Even though I’ve come to expect this little identity crisis that hits when my role as a studio owner gives way to something a lot less structured, all the change still sends my poor little brain spiralling into doubt and I’ve come to accept that that’s okay.
There’s simply no denying that transitions of any type are tricky. They’re uncomfortable and they almost always come hand in hand with some confusion about where you’re headed, some anxiety about figuring that out quickly and some fear that if you don’t, you’ll be left behind.
Whether your entire life is changing or just one little piece of it - your work, your love, your health, your home - it can be tough when you can’t see the next step and aren’t quite sure where you’re headed.
But here’s the problem: transitions are never going to go away. Change, confusion and doubt are just as much a part of life as stability, clarity and confidence. And I’m pretty sure that not having all the answers often overrules knowing exactly what you want and where you’re headed.
That’s what keeps life interesting - cliche yes, but true. There’s no denying that it can also make life really, really frustrating. I’m not here to tell you how I magically found clarity and you can too. I’m not here to share the secret to never feeling confused again because that simply isn’t possible in my opinion. I’m writing to tell you (and me) that while we can’t avoid change, we can find ways to cope with the confusion that come along with it. We can gracefully navigate the transitions that come our way and leave us feeling kind of - or sometimes seriously - lost.
First of all, remember that it’s completely normally and absolutely okay to feel the way you’re feeling. It’s already hard enough to feel doubt, confusion, fear and anxiety about what’s next, do you really want to add feeling bad about it on to all that. You’ve been lost before and guess what? You somehow found your way. It’s not the first time and I’m also pretty sure (sorry) that it won’t be the last. Find comfort in the fact that you won’t be feeling this way forever. Things change, sometimes rapidly and sometimes slowly. You’ll see clearly again. For now hang in there.
Second step: keep moving - even if you have to slow down almost to a stop. Feeling confused makes it really easy to stay still. You aren’t sure where you’re headed so instead of taking a first step you just stay right where you are and wait for clarity to come. I do the same thing and I know from experience that finding inspiration doesn’t come when you sit around and wait for it. You have to do something, anything, even if it feels so incredibly small and insignificant. Take a first step. Notice how I’m not saying THE first step. You don’t have to get wrapped up in knowing the perfect first move, there’s probably a few first moves. Pick a step, go with it and remember that even the tiniest step forward is still a step forward. You don’t have to figure out where you’re going in gigantic leaps. Baby steps work too.
If doubt is a big part of where you are right now, take a moment to look at how far you’ve come and trust that when the timing is right, you’ll know exactly where you want to go.