What’s Next?

January 11, 2014

Sometimes life kicks you hard. Long periods of inactivity hold the light up. You see that you’re not growing, learning or taking any risks. Life is standing still.

I’ve felt like this many times in my adult life. Stuck in a bind. Not knowing what’s next.

The uncertainty is the most terrifying thing of all. We all want security. The idea that there’s somebody (or something) to catch us if we fall.

But life isn’t like that. It’s a cold hard mistress if you let it. A buxom beauty if you don’t.

Standing on that precipice, is it really your fault you can’t see any way out?

The only way to turn is toward new territory. Get out. Meet somebody new. Offer to help them out.

Recently I started working with a corporate psychologist. I don’t know exactly what I can do to help him grow and develop his business. Or even if I can help.

The only thing I know to be true, right here in this moment, is that all action leads somewhere. If this goes to shit then it’s not all that bad. I gave it time and effort. Attempted to generate ideas and offer suggestions on how to take things further.

That’s the only part of the bargain I can keep up. To ring fence my time and offer it as a gift. Invest my powers of research – and my unbridled passion for reading, and hope that the ass-in-chair time leads somewhere.

I said hope. Not expect.

That’s the issue with being immature in mind. You expect everything to lead somewhere. Can’t see the point if the direction isn’t obvious.

The truth is apparent though. Everything eventually leads somewhere. Marcus Aurelius and the stoics knew that. The most creative, happy people in your lives also know it too.

Time given up in the hope of helping another is never time wasted. You learn, they learn, the whole, immediate world stands to prosper.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

You still have to try.

You still have to drag yourself out of bed and throw yourself into the day.

In the lead-up to Christmas I wasn’t able to get out of bed much. I barely left the attic room in my mum’s house for about two weeks.

I couldn’t see the point. Life had no lustre. There was nothing calling or impelling me to get dressed, go downstairs and step outside the front door.

I became blinded by overwhelm. Too comfortable in the knowledge that I could eat, could earn more, could go do a whole bunch of things if I let myself.

I tried to blame other things for this stasis. The fact I’d already grown and run my own business. The fact that already I’d travelled all over the world.

It was those things I blamed for my inaction. Those things I blamed for being meaningless, pointless and all the rest I believed to be the case.

“What’s now left for me in life?”, I spent so many countless hours wondering.

Wondering but not moving.

Not pulling back the bed sheets.

Yesterday I found out a guy who I used to talk to about this stuff isn’t feeling all that well.

At least I assumed that. Being told he had no access to communication.

He was a confidante of sorts. Someone who knew that feeling of hopelessness. Of trying so hard to be happy but, unlike many people, had a great deal of trouble sticking at it.

I liked him a lot. Enjoyed our discussions. Saw a lot of wisdom in his insight.

Now I guess I won’t be able to see him for a while.  Which is a shame. Because I won’t have an opportunity to thank him.

Thank him for helping me feel better. For simply being there to listen. Non-judgementally and with kindness in his heart.

Outlets like that are an asset to the world. Friends just like therapists. Friends just like family.

I’ll miss the thoughts he shared with me. The vulnerability he was confident enough to exude.

He knew what was next.

That it was life.

And that it had nothing that could really scare you.

As long as you appreciated that going in.

I guess that’s the biggest thing to remember when thinking about what’s next in your life.

The fact that the fear of where it might lead can be so overwhelmingly big. So scary. So alienating.

And that sometimes those things, opportunities (and even people) we hope for just unexpectedly disappear.

Because of that I often find myself clinging to many old modes of being.

Of keeping one toe dipped into the travel writing thing because I’m too gutless to admit I’ve outgrown it.

Too gutless to admit my life has changed. Too gutless to write about how life is now that I’m back here, back home in England.

Life as an unsuccessful fucking loser.

A 28-year-old with no girlfriend, house or family to call his own.

A guy with few friends, starting over.

Maybe I’m being overly dramatic. But maybe I am all those things.

What I’m trying to say is that if the latter is true then I get that it’s okay.

I can allow myself to think about what others believe about me (even though I know they’re too busy thinking about themselves) because it allows me to catch myself.

To catch myself and then help myself. To allow myself to make the decision to no longer attempt to try to hide all this shit I think makes me look weak to other people.

To attempt to hide the fact that I haven’t a fucking clue about what’s around the corner or what my life will look like a year from now.

Or to admit that I don’t have a plan.

Or to be honest and say I don’t know whether I can help my friends, my family or the business people I reach out to.

That’s life. You’ve got to deal with it.

Those that get it move on fast.

It’s taking me a while.

So now as to what’s next?

All I can aim at is an an attempt. An objective. A reason to get out of bed in the morning.

The opportunity to take a shot at a few things.

And to mess them all the hell up regardless.

Recognising what Susan Jeffers says; “what lies ahead are simply two paths – A and B – both of which are right!”, I think I feel a lot better.

A, B, C or fucking D. Any which way forward or back is a step in the right direction.

What’s next is more of the journey.