The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to our daily life; hell it could even be said that daily life has been so significantly changed that we have a new routine that we should start considering daily life. I went back and forth on writing about the pandemic at all; there are enough perspectives, facts, and guides out there that one more opinon wouldn’t help, so whats the point? Maybe I was avoiding it to protect myself from the reality of my new situation; which I should start calling my life. Maybe I avoided it because I have already taken in so much about what is going on that going through it all again makes me want to scream ( I hate repeating myself ).
Either way its time to pack up those uneasy feelings and move on because, well, I’m moving. COVID-19 has brought a lot of changes to everyone’s life some more drastic than others. Coming back from a spectacular trip to Japan in January I saw my first glimpse of the pandemic. A flight before ours was called to the gate and asked to form a line in front of the check in desk. I saw the airline stewards with the poise and patience that Japan is known for, tell everyone of those passengers that they we’re not going to be going home to China.
I never knew watching that moment unfold that it was the beginning of something. I definitely didn’t assume that it would affect my life plans to the point that now they are unrecognizable. A plan I never saw coming was going back home to live with my parents. I have been on my own for years now and have dealt with multiple moves, multiple jobs, highs and lows that come with life and come out just fine on the other side.
I don’t see moving back as a negative in my life, it is just a move I need to make to better my situation and step toward a goal. I think that saying “moving back” feels negative because the word back is being said. Saying “I’m moving” feels fine, I’ve done it a numerous times already, this will be my third move in the last year. But the word back… it has a gravity to it in these times. (Feel free to picture me with a thousand mile stare out across the horizon after reading that last sentence)
I want to remind myself ( maybe you too ) that the word back isn’t a negative one, and its the omission of the word home that makes it feel negative. Back home, isn’t negative in anyway; even if your childhood home wasn’t great or your home town isn’t someplace you care for, home doesn’t always refer to those places. As cliche as it sounds home is where you claim it to be and is what you make it.
Times are hard, there is no doubt about it. Some of us have to take steps to ensure we have a chance at a future we want and some of those steps will feel as if they are backwards. But allow yourself to take that step back and give yourself the chance to look over where you are going from here. Without stepping back you can only see a portion of the bigger picture.
I started a blog like I do with every other passion in my life: with reckless abandon. If you asked my friends (anyone who actually reads this blog) about the projects I have done in the past, they would say that I am always starting something new. I start new projects all the time; but my passion for them fizzles out, and they are abandoned to be half-complete ideas. I don’t find anything wrong with this; in fact, I would encourage others to do the same. It’s not that I can’t complete a project–I am just willing to try anything that catches my interest to see if it can become a life’s work.
I joined a local writer’s group in my area (although I need to go to more meetings to really call myself a “member”), so most of my friends come from that group. Those I see and speak to most often are all accomplished writers, which is a huge boon to someone just starting out. They put up with an endless stream of story ideas that I talk about passionately and want to pursue, only to abandon them after a month. But no matter how many months of story ideas go by, they are always eager to hear my next idea.
This has taught me a few valuable lessons, all of which can be applied to daily life:
1. Any idea, no matter how unlikely, is worth exploring.
2. Just because you abandon the idea does not mean you have failed. It simply means you are continuing to search for your true passion.
3. All steps you take towards a goal are forward. Even the setbacks have something to teach you, and abandoning an idea all together does not mean you have given up on your goal as a whole.
No one in history ever set out to do something knowing with 100% certainty that it would work. Yet they still tried. Going against the odds is a remarkable human trait, a trait we take for granted. All projects, no matter how small, start off as unlikely to succeed, due to our lack of experience, knowledge and confidence. Yet we witness so many successes that started off this way. If you don’t explore the chance, you never know if it will be your next success.
Moving on from a potential passion does not mean you failed. You have simply come to the realization that it was not for you. You should be proud of that fact! You’re willing to step out of your normal routine and put a little bit of yourself on the line to pursue an idea. That’s no small task. You willingly opened yourself up to the possibility of defeat to broaden who you are as an individual. The best part of this practice is that it will become easier with time: you will build a tolerance to “failure” and strengthen your resolve toward your goals.
All steps show your forward progression, even the setbacks. That is a hard concept to apply to your daily mindset. One of my favorite quotes comes from a deplorable person (a topic for another time), Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I try to apply this quote to every project I start with a few modifications: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 pursuits that don’t work for me.”
So when you start a new project or explore an idea, remember that failure is not on the table if you look at it from a different perspective. You are instead taking the time to learn more about your interests and what your true passions are, no matter the outcome. Trying out your ideas is a form of self care and working on yourself. All knowledge you gain on who you are as a person is good knowledge to have–it allows you to make more informed decisions on what you need and what you need to avoid.
So go pursue a project, something you have your doubts about finishing or even getting past the planning stages. No matter the outcome, you will have learned something about yourself. I can guarantee that the next idea or passion you pick up, no matter the outcome, will be your life’s work: finding out who you are and what you need.