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Dealing with Change

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Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

When the world around us changes overnight, what do we do? I've been observing people online. Writers, this a perfect time now to do your research online because everyone is now online. Just saying.

There are several strategies we can use to deal with a sudden change. We can "just keep swimming". It works for some people, but I'm a firm believer in dealing with stuff, even the difficult ones. We can "find the silver lining", which is, for me, a variation on the just-keep-swimming strategy. It can help, but it can also put pressure on people to wear a positive mask and cover up their true emotions. Another variation of this is the "find a hobby" approach, where people now have a lot of free time, and their new hobby is, apparently, posting motivational quotes and challenging unsuspecting bystanders to get fit or get sober or start knitting. This is fine if you have no children. By the way, it's fine to have a hobby before you have children without quarantine. Just don't expect to have a hobby after kids. Not a time-consuming one anyway.

On the other side of the continuum, there's the "fuck it" strategy. In this strategy, we let go of limitations such as routines and social norms, and live like this is our last day on earth because it may well be. I get the need for that. I also understand that this crisis puts a mirror up to people's faces and forces them to take a long hard look at their lives. For many of us, work is what defines us. What do you do if you're not working? By the way, my second book is about precisely that, but it'll take so much more work.

I'm lucky enough to have been able to design my life the way I want to. On the one hand, it feels like bragging. But on the other hand, I've worked hard to get here. I've worked hard to accept that not working is ok. I've worked hard to accept that being an artist is ok. BUT, and here's the important part, it's ok for me. It works for me. It may not work for everyone. If you take up knitting because your online peeps say it's the best, it may not be what you need. I keep coming back to this: there's no one-size-fits-all solution. There's no manual, no eight easy steps. Each of us needs to find what works for us. Individually.

I think it's important to take time to grieve. We all lost something over the last month and a half. We lost our previous way of life. We can take time and grieve for it like we would losing a loved one. Which, by the way, many of us did. It's ok to feel sad, to feel anxious, to feel like the world has ended. We don't have to be productive all the time. We don't have to be positive all the time. Grieving is a personal process that takes time. But, as someone who has grieved, I can say this: everything changes, all the time. This sadness, this desperation? It'll pass, too. Humans are incredibly adaptive. Trust your ancestors. They have given you the capability to learn how to live with the new normal. Whatever that may be.


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