Walking out into uncertainty — step one

Do you like to plan or are you someone who favors spontaneity and last minute decisions? If you’d rather have things mapped out, we have at least one thing in common — we would rather step away from chaos and the thousands of options potentially available to us. Sometimes though the only choice we have is to walk into the opposite direction — into uncertainty.

For the last 5 years I spent most of my time in a slab of steel and glass near Heathrow, London. My responsibilities changed, as well as people I worked with. The routine stayed mostly the same — get up and ready, commute to the office, plow through the daily tasks, pack and commute home. Dinner, perhaps a movie or a book and sleep. Predictable, orderly, reassuring. Maybe a bit dull, somewhat unsatisfying. Quite ordinary. Likely to change.

On 8th August I walked into that same office to leave my corporate laptop, empty my locker and start something new. Something less certain, hopefully a step towards more fulfilling life. I had no plans, only a couple of mooring points over the next few months. A ticket to a music festival, a wish to travel and a certainty that one needed time and space to be able to think and return to oneself. One of my friends had jokingly suggested Eat, Pray, Love as the next book to have on the reading list.

While not having a plan is often frowned upon, at times only this approach gives you enough head-space and time to talk to yourself. The anchor points in between lend reassurance and direction to your thoughts and journeys. Especially if you get stuck every time when you don’t really know what to do. More so, if you’re neurotic.

I decided that I would go to a music festival, travel the surrounding region and then figure out what to do next. And while I admit that not each and every moment of the first two weeks of my new life were amazing, there were times when I felt elated and certainly happier than in the last year. It was a solo journey punctuated by exchanges with strangers. And finally I felt I could start sorting through my own head and get back to a less robotic place. Perhaps even a place where I do not freeze every time an uncertain situation crops up and has to be dealt with somehow. It’s still a long way to embracing uncertainty, but every little helps.

A month into unscheduled life some schedule has crept in, as well as some clarity into otherwise murky waters of the brain. Time away from everyday duties has reminded me of dreams that I had put aside, and while I’m not ready to step up and start building them, I have realized that they are still there, alive and ready to be taken on. So is the willingness to learn, including actually enrolling in courses and starting to read Odyssey and Iliad. At the end of the day, even if the next step is not the right one, at least I will have tried and failed instead of not trying at all.

Here’s to a first step then — if you feel you have been moon-walking through the last couple years, growling at your partner even when nothing is really wrong, burying yourself if a project that no longer holds meaning for you perhaps the time has come to take a bit of a break. It’s worth planning the financial side of it though so that you can have the time you need for yourself. And don’t wait too long to take that step — sometimes a bit of time away can be all that is needed. Or perhaps it will take quite a while, but the step towards yourself is a good one to take. Hit the road — the scenery and discussions with yourself are worthwhile, I promise. Do you like to plan or are you someone who favors spontaneity and last minute decisions? If you’d rather have things mapped out, we have at least one thing in common — we would rather step away from chaos and the thousands of options potentially available to us. Sometimes though the only choice we have is to walk into the opposite direction — into uncertainty.

For the last 5 years I spent most of my time in a slab of steel and glass near Heathrow, London. My responsibilities changed, as well as people I worked with. The routine stayed mostly the same — get up and ready, commute to the office, plow through the daily tasks, pack and commute home. Dinner, perhaps a movie or a book and sleep. Predictable, orderly, reassuring. Maybe a bit dull, somewhat unsatisfying. Quite ordinary. Likely to change.

On 8th August I walked into that same office to leave my corporate laptop, empty my locker and start something new. Something less certain, hopefully a step towards more fulfilling life. I had no plans, only a couple of mooring points over the next few months. A ticket to a music festival, a wish to travel and a certainty that one needed time and space to be able to think and return to oneself. One of my friends had jokingly suggested Eat, Pray, Love as the next book to have on the reading list.

While not having a plan is often frowned upon, at times only this approach gives you enough head-space and time to talk to yourself. The anchor points in between lend reassurance and direction to your thoughts and journeys. Especially if you get stuck every time when you don’t really know what to do. More so, if you’re neurotic.

I decided that I would go to a music festival, travel the surrounding region and then figure out what to do next. And while I admit that not each and every moment of the first two weeks of my new life were amazing, there were times when I felt elated and certainly happier than in the last year. It was a solo journey punctuated by exchanges with strangers. And finally I felt I could start sorting through my own head and get back to a less robotic place. Perhaps even a place where I do not freeze every time an uncertain situation crops up and has to be dealt with somehow. It’s still a long way to embracing uncertainty, but every little helps.

A month into unscheduled life some schedule has crept in, as well as some clarity into otherwise murky waters of the brain. Time away from everyday duties has reminded me of dreams that I had put aside, and while I’m not ready to step up and start building them, I have realized that they are still there, alive and ready to be taken on. So is the willingness to learn, including actually enrolling in courses and starting to read Odyssey and Iliad. At the end of the day, even if the next step is not the right one, at least I will have tried and failed instead of not trying at all.

Here’s to a first step then — if you feel you have been moon-walking through the last couple years, growling at your partner even when nothing is really wrong, burying yourself if a project that no longer holds meaning for you perhaps the time has come to take a bit of a break. It’s worth planning the financial side of it though so that you can have the time you need for yourself. And don’t wait too long to take that step — sometimes a bit of time away can be all that is needed. Or perhaps it will take quite a while, but the step towards yourself is a good one to take. Hit the road — the scenery and discussions with yourself are worthwhile, I promise.