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Futures aren’t found in harbours

  • Posted on November 29, 2014 at 11:24 pm

For a number of weeks I have been going along to a weekly evening workshop entitled ‘Future You’. My motivation is the need to do more than put up with where I am. Its focus isn’t entirely employment-oriented, so whilst that’s what I wanted it for initially, I can use its techniques for other things. I speak of two last pieces in my jigsaw: employment where I can maximise my gifts and abilities, and finding someone I can share my life with (as open-ended as that). The rest of my picture feels complete, or at least malleable and growing.

This next year needs to be a year of change, and I feel that I have at least found my starting blocks with what I have achieved this past year. Underlying my missing jigsaw pieces (or the piece that is missing and the piece that doesn’t fit) is the idea in common of giving as much of myself as I can to connect with my world in an authentic way. If you happen to be reading this and know where I am, work, or who I know, yes, I am saying I need change, not that I am unhappy with the way that I work, or the way that I relate to others.

The Future You series is about happiness, in this sense: of meeting my values, understanding my needs, finding my dreams and living as completely as possible. As things are, my happiness quotient surges and falls to an unknown tidal pull. This week I have risen on emotionally moving moments and completely collapsed on griefs and uncertainties. My ship feels unanchorable sometimes. Was the moon in the wrong phase, or the planets out of alignment? Or is it just Christmas bringing home the isolation I feel at this time? To find myself in silent tears at the end of the day, and waking with them, isn’t something I expected. I feel a new horizon is coming into sight on winds of change. It isn’t just a cliché, I really am hoping for a fresh wind out of this year’s safe harbour.

What stops me just doing something brilliant, is simply that I have no idea what this future me is. In fact, logically speaking, my future me is always some way ahead of now. My future me is what I shall become, but setting my sails with some intention requires a little more than happy accident, and I do have fears. I am afraid of speaking out: ah, so I’m no longer committed to my employer? No; it’s just that I am not discovering myself or doing all that I could do in my working hours. 300 miles a week, 11 hours in a car, needs a good reason, and a better one than just to pay my mortgage. It’s the same with relationships. My heart really aches for affection and to be loved, but to say this is tantamount to being desperate – and we all know that you don’t find love by saying you’re looking for it. Just be happy, even though you aren’t happy not to be loved and have someone to love. Just be happy in your job, in case opportunities may be withdrawn because you’re not happy.

By going to this series of workshops, I am quietly making resolutions. I don’t think I shall have a Christmas this year, but my gift to myself can be generosity to my own needs, in starting to work out what practical things I need to do. I won’t be making new year’s resolutions either; by then I shall have resolved that I have a future that will be different.

There is nothing about this future me that is not of my own making, any more than that was true this past year. 2014 was not done to me. I did 2014! Some decisions will simply have to be made, and more ties may need to be severed that I have hung onto for too long. I have to be happy to be sailing, not happy to be where I am.

I have used the ship analogy along my journey through transition, including crossing the turbulent reef, losing crew, and arriving in calm waters with tattered sails and a broken mast. Since then I have new friends and feel thoroughly repaired and seaworthy again. Maybe the lesson I have needed to remind myself of, is that the first step to change and to being in the right place is to pull up your anchor.

Goodness, I should know!