Every Day is Saturday

Finding Joy in the Here and Now

What If?

on October 1, 2013

What If

I’ve had some encouraging signs of late that my employment situation might be taking a turn for the better.  I’ve been contacted by a couple of friends who have offered me gigs, short ones, but paying gigs nonetheless, which is a huge improvement over what has been happening for months now, which is a whole lot of nothing.  Last week I completed my last contract of the year, and the client (instead of doing what I all but expected them to do which was tell me they didn’t need me anymore) might actually hire me to run the whole show next year instead of just the piece I’ve been doing for the last three.  I have also been added to a resource list for future technical director gigs through the audio visual company I’ve been using which is fantastic because I love that work and it would most likely mean some travel which, even though it wouldn’t be to any exotic locations, I would welcome because I miss going places terribly.  I’ve also been promised that my friend for whom I do copywriting work has a lot of stuff to keep me busy over the next couple of months.  So, all in all, things are looking up.

When I get a break in the weather like this it allows me to step back from myself and gain some perspective on where my head has been.  At times like these I play a game I call “What If?”  This is how it goes:

I start by asking myself a series of questions:

“What if I stopped worrying about how much I’m not working?”

“What if I stopped obsessing about how we’re going to pay the bills?”

“What if I stopped being angry that I can’t afford to buy new clothes/shoes/anything?”

You get the idea.

Next, I close my eyes and imagine what it would be like to stop worrying/obsessing/being angry about all of this stuff.  I empty my mind of the anxiety and pressure of my concerns.

I know what you’re thinking, and I think it, too:  Denial is more than just a river in Egypt.  This is not an attempt to deny the reality of my financial situation or my need to be employed or any of it.  What I am doing is giving myself permission, even if it’s just for a few minutes, to feel what it would be like to stop worrying.

And when I do, the result is amazing – I suddenly feel light, unburdened – and I find I have the capacity for joy.

I think we live in a complicated world that is full of noise, and motion, and pressure.  I get caught up in it, forgetting to stop and look around me.  All too often I allow my anxiety to overwhelm me and rob me of enjoying the many good things in my life.  The cycle is insidious, and I don’t realize how down I’ve actually become.

I want to break the cycle.  I want to get up every day and look at it as a gift to be enjoyed.  I want to stop focusing on what life owes me, and start focusing on what I can give.  I want kindness and compassion to be my first response.   I want my better nature to be in control.

I can do all of these things whether I have a job or not.  I don’t have to wait for my life circumstances to improve before I can be happy.  Life will always be a struggle – as our context changes we just get hit with new sets of problems.  The trick is to find that peace within you that can’t be shaken.  I’ve found that the beginning of that peace comes when I stop worrying.  After a while, the anxiety eases; this of course makes it easier to get things done, which lowers my anxiety, allowing me to get more done, etc., etc.

So the choice is between the vicious cycle or the virtuous one.  The first is hard to break; the second, easy to ignore.  But this is the real battle – the one that happens in my heart and mind every day.  I have found that the struggle to be fully alive and present is so much harder than figuring out how to earn a living.

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Thanks for reading my blog!  If you want to know more about me and my journey, check out my book “Everyday is Saturday” on Kindle.   The book is part diary, part memoir, and chronicles the first year after I was suddenly laid off from my dream job.  I think it has something to say to anyone who is struggling with change.

photo credit: Martin Gommel via photopin cc

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