Over the last week, I have chatted with several friends and clients about their lack of plans for the forthcoming months and how strange that feels. We are all so used to having things to look forward to in our diaries (sometimes too many things if we are honest with ourselves) that having this current expanse of “clear” time ahead does not fill us with joy.
Obviously, we are back doing some of the things we did pre-lockdown – exercise, small social gatherings, meet ups with friends, albeit socially distanced. Some have taken advantage of the “eat out to help out” scheme.
BUT………….. it’s different!
We organise things with the caveat of “obviously things might need to change if………..” or “let’s put this in the diary and hope that we can do it by then.”
I am a person who really struggles with the feeling that they are hemmed in. I have a need to be able to travel, to visit different places, to experience different things and I am really grateful that my husband has a job that sometimes offers me the opportunities to do this. I have friends dotted around the world and have been spoiled in the past with my job and lifestyle that has enabled me to go and visit them. So what happens when this is curtailed?
Last week my sense of hope was seriously in danger of diminishing. I felt terribly overwhelmed with all the apparent limitations that were thrust upon me (I hasten to add quite rightly so.) I felt desperate to be able to arrange a trip to see my best friend in Australia, I wanted to plan it, put it in the diary, know categorically that I was going to see her. I wanted to be able to jump on a plane and go and see my husband, just for a night or two and all the people that I have come to know and love that work with him. Even the thought of going shopping with another of my dear friends seemed unattractive and unnecessary rather than a nice way to spend an afternoon – who wants to wander around a shop in a mask unable to try anything on or queue for an excessive amount of time to even go in?
Several clients have mentioned to me that they too have this sense of overwhelming anxiety due to the lack of control they feel they have over their future. People who plan, they are finding it particularly difficult to look ahead and feel hopeful. We all want a bit of normal again.
So where do we find hope?
We all need to look a little bit harder at the moment and maybe it’s that we don’t look quite so far ahead? After all, how can we possibly know what’s going to happen in the next few months let alone next year?
For me, one of the ways I can get perspective and back and to feeling hopeful is to be more present. I have said to myself that for the next 10-12 months, I am going to concentrate on what I can affect right now. I’m going to give myself a break from making plans. I’m going to look for hope closer to home and in smaller packages.
I’m going to enjoy where I live. I’m going to walk more, get outside as much as I can. I’m going to write a list (we all love a list) of books that I want to read this winter. I’m going to do some self development work for my business over the next 3 months. I’m going to plan a different Christmas, something really lovely at home for me and my husband. Basically, I’m going to concentrate on what things I can add to my life between now and the end of the year that will enrich it rather than focus on all the things I currently cannot do.
Next year is a whole other story and that is ok! I will deal with next year next year and it will all be different again.
I refuse to lose hopefulness out of my life when there are so many things to be hopeful for even if we can’t see them right now, they are there.