Holidays often end up initiating a period of reflection for me. Not the holiday itself, but the feelings which arise on the return to ‘real life’. You know that sensation you get when you first walk into your home after time away, where everything feels somehow familiar and unfamiliar at the same time? Going back to normality is similar. It takes some time to adjust. Some people call it post holiday blues, but I don’t feel the same negative connotations, more a chance to review and refresh. The break is a way to see your everyday life with fresh eyes and decide if you like what you find.
Having just spent a week in Devon (my first week away since Dora Does’ inception!) I’m finding my own re-entry a little challenging this time if I’m honest. Not because I don’t love what I do, but because it’s really hard to keep going in the face of total uncertainty. I constantly question the path I choose, wondering if it’s ‘right’. When you’ve spent a lot of time with people who have more traditional day jobs or businesses, it does make you reflect on your own choices.
The day after my return I went to a birthday party of someone I have known since my teens and it was quite a reunion of sorts. Explaining to people I haven’t seen for 10 years or more what I do for a living (because that’s always the first question right? Job, Kids, Partner, House) made me realise how vague it all is. When you tell someone you’re a crochet designer, their response often translates as “Is that a thing?”.
It required a full explanation of how I got here because I am not defined by one thing (which I actually see has a huge positive, but challenging to the elevator pitch supporters). Yes I’m a crochet designer, but I also blog (Hi there!), do freelance work including tech editing, virtual assistant work and a bit of copywriting and anything else which fits my skill set and interests me. Other people’s opinion of my choices doesn’t bother me, but having to explain to people what you do makes you actually question it yourself.
Sometimes I wake up at 5 am and ask myself, “What the hell are you doing with your life?”.
Is all this crochet and blogging and freelancing actually going to work? Can I really do this? Should I go back to something safer? More reliable? Consistent?
All the questions!
Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that question. And sometimes, like on return from a break, I see the uncertainty I’m living with through fresh eyes and it is utterly terrifying. It’s this unsettled feeling which is what got me writing this post, because I feel it’s important to share the difficult periods and not just pretend I only ever have happy productive positive pixie like, fluffy thoughts. I find it useful to work things through step by step in this way – so thank you for indulging me. Hopefully you too will find something here which resonates or feels familiar.
I guess I’m just trying to do what inspires me and enjoy the ride. I don’t know where that will take me, I don’t know how I will get there and I don’t know how many wrong turns, or right turns I will make along the way. No one really knows these things, even when they think they do.
There’s the lightbulb!
Cue cliche of the week:
Life is what happens when you’re making other plans
What I do know is that I am exploring and discovering what I love, what I don’t like, what I will tolerate, what I won’t, what I want to try, what I don’t.
So once I get over the panic (thanks Yoga!), I realise that I’m actually okay with not having all the answers, my gut is actually pretty reliable (when I choose to listen to it!) so it makes just as much sense to follow that than to seek certainty.
Boy has it taken me a while to get to this point!
The great thing is that this doesn’t just apply to career choices. It’s absolutely okay to not have answers to just about anything in life (except where you left your keys).
During the 7 hour drive to Devon, I listened to a lot of podcasts and they have all blurred into one, but something that stuck with me was the advice to learn more and know less.
The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know. How little it is possible to know. That is rather liberating. It also comes with the benefit of being slower to judge others (because just maybe they are right?).
Why on earth should we all have a fully formed opinion on everything? Whether it’s Trump, Brexit, Gun Control, Abortion, Islam, The Pope, Social Media or whether adults should ever Floss or wear Crocs in public. The reality is that, for anyone other than the specialist, there’s too much information to really absorb all the details on any one of these topics.
We use confirmation bias to jump the gun and take a position we think aligns with our values. This is a totally reasonable thing to do but also leaves us incredibly susceptible to be easily swayed by the media we consume. Whether you’re left or right, the media is utterly generalist, by necessity. I’m not shouting fake news here, but the 24 hour news cycle requires outlets to be succinct on exceptionally complex issues. The death of nuance scares me more than global warming. I’ll spare you the main stream media debate, but you get what I mean right?
The way I see it, it’s more useful not to have a fixed opinion, to be on the fence, to change your mind and to… *dramatic gasp*… be wrong!
So in my new place of calm in the face of uncertainty in my life, I am going to aim to apply the same uncertainty to my opinions of other people and arising situations. To stop rushing to judgement, to think more and talk less, to be proud to respond with “I don’t know”
Big Blissfully Confused Love