‘So, you had to re-invent your life again’, he said, analysing why I did not write that specific article. First, hesitating, then confident. ‘You must be used to it. As a traveller you are used to insecurity, having to adapt continuously to the changing situations.’
He is right, I should be used to it. Frankly, I am ok. I cried many hours, and have been upset for many moments. Not because of the change, but because I was closing such a precious and beautiful chapter. As I told the accountant: I was not upset about the money, and the loss of a job, I will find a new job and a new way to make money; but it was about this job, this particular team, setting and venue.
Clear Vision, Unclear Path
I’ve been job hopping all the time, worked in various sectors, various needs, various tasks. I loved it. I learned in each situation something, some skills, some people, some knowledge; I lived in different countries; did not make many plans, but let the journey create the path towards my goal. I used to wake up, thinking ‘where shall I go today, what shall I do today, which part of my research will I strive toward today?’ Still, what I imagined in the morning was often not what it turned out to be in the evening.
Yet, I always had a clear vision of where I wanted to go to, what I wanted to reach in the short term and long term. And I learned one thing: it is not about what you do, but about why. It is not about the justification or legitimation you give to others, your employer, your friends, your colleagues, your family; but to yourself.
As long as you can wake up every morning, knowing why you wake up, why you head to work, why you do nothing, why you go for that walk, why you stay at home; it does not really matter what you do, but it will make you feel fulfilled, and in peace with yourself.
As long as you know why you do something, you will feel fulfilled and in peace.
I use this abstract approach of life, because when you are making plans, life makes plan for you as well. We are part of a bigger whole, hence we don’t have the complete power of dictating what we want or not.
I am writing this in a town that two years ago was severely hit by a cyclone (as you can read in some blogs of mine), that swept away large parts of town, economy and life. Yet, the town surrendered. It might not look precisely as how it looked before, some businesses might have not come back, as well as some people; yet, it is here. Different, but alive.
At the moment of writing, the monster Cyclone Harold is hitting the island of Vanuatu in the Pacific, causing tremendous damage. Vanuatu was preparing for COVID-19 to hit land, yet Harold hit them first. Some months ago they did not see COVID-19, nor Harold coming, yet, today they are coping with both. They will be knocked off their feet, but they will eventually stand up again. Not all, not alone, but they have no choice other than finding a way to get up again.
Go Down, Get up After
When an event knocks you down, don’t resist. You might not have the choice. Some things happen, whether you like it or not. Rather, go down, accept it, and find a way to get up again and continue after; not life as you knew it, but life as it will be from now on. Be resilient.
You will need courage, faith, and energy. Therefore, you will need others to help you, and others will need your help. You might have to lean on others to get up again, and others might have to lean on you. Until you are able to walk your own way again. Maybe not the way as you knew it; maybe not even walking as you knew it; but life continues. Different, but it does.
Life continues, not as you know it, but as you will get to know it.
Hold on to
Especially, when a range of events knock you down over and over again; when fatigue and demotivation kick in; and you wonder ‘Why?’ ‘Why would I even bother getting up again?’ That is the moment you need others and a clear vision to hold on to.
That is the moment people globally get on their balconies and applaud for the health care workers who are on the frontline of Covid-19. That is the moment when you make the phone call to a friend or family member in need, in loneliness, or in tough times. That is the moment you send flowers to someone, ‘just because’. That is the moment you step up because you know the other lacks the energy to step to you.
When you are tiered, wounded, laying on the floor of your life, watching the unreachable stars of the universe, wondering if luck will ever return to you. Then, know it is ok, to take as much time as you need; being in that position; feeling through your emotions; calming down your heart beat and wounded soul; gathering energy to get up again; clearing up the vision of what once was and what once will be.
The Illusion of Certainty
People did always question and even criticise my ability to cope with the insecurities of my existence as a travelling journalist. No economic, social, cultural, and political securities; a continuous change of scenery, setting, culture, country, surroundings and people around me. No day would look the same, and the day I took into my dreams looked completely different than the one I had imagined in the morning.
Wasn’t I afraid? Yes, I was. Wasn’t I lonely? Yes, I was. Wasn’t I tiered? Yes, I was. I have experienced it all; yet, I did not resist. I had no choice. I let it knock me down, but get up again. I knew they were part of the path I had chosen, yet they did not determined the path. I knew why I was walking the path, and why I would get up again. I knew why I made certain decisions, and certain sacrifices, even though they did not make sense to others.
The feelings inherent to life might be covered but not removed by the illusion of certainty.
Moreover, these feelings are not exclusive for my way of life. They are inherent to all our lives. Yet, living in certain countries, used to a certain level of well-being, economic, political, and social stability have caused people to think they have the power about anything in their life. Yet, this is merely the illusion of certainty.
Game to Play
Humans try to eradicate as much incertitude in life as possible; which helps surviving and living. It helps to focus on the things that do matter, it helps to prevent decision fatigue, and to reduce anxiety. The more securities around you, the more secure you might feel about yourself.
Yet, life is but a game. Sometimes you are at play, and sometimes life is. Sometimes you throw the dice, sometimes life does. It is not always in your power to dictate the numbers of the dice, but it is up to you to make the best of it. It is up to you to play the game.
If you have a clear vision of what you want in life, which might be rather an abstract goal than a specific one. If you have a clear vision where you stand for, and what really matters to you; you’ll be able to find a winning combination in every dice thrown to you.
If you know where you stand for, you can find a winning combination in every game.
Everything can change overnight, as we are all experiencing now. COVID-19 has thrown the dice, it is up to you to play the game. Get your values, and vision clear; count on others and make others be able to count on you when fatigue and demotivation kick in; don’t resist, be resilient.
Walk in the arena, play the game. It might not be your game, but it is up to you play it. If you know where you stand for, you can find a winning combination in every game.
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read
- how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness,
- how you can contribute to this battle,
- how gratitude lights up the dark,
- how united we will stand strong
- on the most util strategy in awake of a crisis
- how I got blown of my feet as well, but caught by many caring hands,
- how being calm can get us through the storm.
- about Love in Times of Corona
- how to discover your own talents
- why we need stories to hold on to
- how you can be creative and innovative.
- how to spend your mot valuable assets in times of Corona.
- how to listen to the sound of silence.
- How breate taking Corona really is.
- discover the other freedoms Corona has shown us,
- about the new-born freedom Corona gave us.
- about another way to exceed your personal bubble.
- about the position of nature in this entire story
- about nature bouncing back
- about the crucial choice between resilience and resistance
Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark times.