Lately, I’ve thought a lot about a line from a hymn we sang often in church when I was growing up: “Keep me safe till the storm passes by.”
Because I’m in the storm, battered by high winds, trying to outrun the tsunami aiming for me, buried under thirty inches of snow and trying to claw my way out. Translation: trying to do it all and getting nowhere fast.
And like a hurricane, this storm has a name: change.
As a writer with a day job, I’m searching for another one that will give me more time for my writing (working with an increasingly impatient and abusive public is constantly testing my patience and my commitment to being kinder). I’m struggling to reduce my sugar intake … it seems harder to do this time. Still sidelined from running with a foot injury, I’m trying to find another way to stay active.
In this storm, I’m surrounded by chaos. Even so, there is still reason to hope, to believe that the storm will soon be over.
Because I realize I’m at a crossroads and asking myself one question repeatedly: what is it that I really want?
I want to live in harmony with myself, free myself of others’ expectations, and simply be. Simply be. To write. To run. To love [my self and others]. To be the best version of myself and live a purpose-driven life.
When I ask myself what I really want, I understand that it doesn’t matter what ‘corporate’ job I’m in — my current one or another. While I give my best each day, the job is about the paycheque and will never give me the same satisfaction or joy that writing does.
But to change my life and my story, I have to start being uncomfortable. That means stop fearing the risk of failure, stop fearing success, stop freaking procrastinating. So, I’m preparing to start my own business. These days, people call it a side hustle. I’m calling it a pathway to freedom. Succeed or fail? Time will tell but, really, it doesn’t matter. Because as Yoda counselled: “Do or do not. There is no try.”
I have a compelling reason to reduce my sugar intake: there’s a history of diabetes in my family, on both sides. If I can’t do that for myself, the consequences could be dire. It means that, for a time — until I can get the cravings under control — I need to stop baking. No more cinnamon buns, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, pies. It would help, too, if I ate a few more salads.
In the absence of running, I initially started walking home from work until the injury even made that impossible. Until I can get back to running (stubbornly I try but the pain is still present), there are bodyweight exercises I can do. That means no more excuses, like I’m tired or there’s no time. Change is up to me alone.
No one said life would be easy. And the challenges before me — if I’m willing to step up and do the necessary work to change — can help me become who I dare to be.
Now is the time to change, to push my way through the storm. No putting change off until tomorrow … or nothing will ever change. Barack Obama said it poignantly: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the change we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we need.”