At times like these, when the world is in turmoil, Brexit and Trump being just two of the many things happening right now, there is a human tendency to batten down the hatches, pull our head in like a tortoise in danger and wait until it’s normal again before we come back out and get on with really living life.
Trouble is, that the old ‘normal’ is no longer - this is the new normal - for now. It is understandable that we think this way - our survival instinct is for us to protect and preserve what we feel is the status quo and to only push forward or take risks at the best optimal time. But, what is an optimal time?
In the old days it was when things were stable and predictable and it looked as safe as possible. However, as far as I can see for the foreseeable future we are going to be living in a world that is going through huge change. Political, economical, social change. And so we have a choice. Pull our heads back in our shell and live as safely as possible and maybe not realise any of those dreams, or be bold and live them in spite of what is happening.
There is something to be said for grasping the opportunity of change when change is in the air. You can ride the energy of change, and right now it is high. We may or may not like what is going on in the world but it is a sign that people are beginning to stand up and say that they want change. That upwelling of feeling and action can be a strong impetus for us to look at our lives and ask, what bits am I not happy with? What areas of my life need a new normal?
I’ve spoken to quite a few people recently who were holding back on life until it got back to normal. There were those who wanted to move out of the city into the country and change their lifestyle but had decided to wait until the housing market got back to normal. How long a delay is that going to be on that dream? There were others who wanted to change jobs but felt that it was all too volatile - how many more years will they stick in a job they loath? And there were others who wanted to start a business but had gotten scared by all the economical ups and downs - again another great idea squandered.
And the truth is that in all these cases and plenty of others, what is happening is that our mind is using the chaotic times we live in as an excuse to not make change. And this is normal, we all have a part of us that sabotages change. Not for any good reason mind you, although the reasons it will come up with will be very convincing. No, it sabotages change because it thinks it is trying to keep us safe.
But, and it is a really important but, there is no such thing as safe. The only way to feel safe is to take action and feel empowered and know that we can deal with anything that comes our way. Safety is actually an inner concept built through confidence. And we only feel confident when we go out and do things and ‘survive’ the doing of them. The old saying ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is so true at this time.
What could happen if you embraced this time of change and did it anyway? You might create a completely new lifestyle in spite of what is happening in the outside world. You might land an amazing job, even one beyond your best dreams because you were brave enough to go for it. Or the business you started could be actually exactly what is needed at this time and so you ride the wave of change in a positive way. Or even if none of these happen you will know that you went for it, lived life to the full, met the challenges and didn’t let fear stop you living fully. And that is a life well lived.
My favourite quote is this:
“Life is NOT a journey to the grave with the goal of arriving safely in a prettily preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a shower of gravel and party shards, thoroughly used, utterly exhausted, and loudly proclaiming: “Fuck me, that was BRILLIANT!”
Brexit, Trump - well they are just part of the backdrop of your life, don’t let them stop you going out and living your life fully. Don’t be part of the millions who are waiting for normal service to be resumed - this is normal - let’s live it rather than get through it. Let’s stick our heads our from our shell, let’s plan to skid in sideways.
photo credit https://unsplash.com/@rayhennessy
Jessica McGregor Johnson is an international Guide & mentor, who offers individual 'Get Unstuck in Two Days' retreats in the South of Spain for people who want to get their life back on track.
She is also a speaker and author of The Right T-Shirt, Write Your Own Rules and Live the Life You Want and Remembering Perfection – Everyday Inspiration for Living Your Spiritually. She works internationally with people who are at a crossroads in their life. They are materially successful but not fulfilled and want to identify what will give their life meaning and purpose.