I like to follow a set path, with structure and a defined endpoint. I like knowing what the next step is going to be. I like being able to look at a project and know how it’s going to finish.
My life – and the life of my family – has been turned upside down in the last six (almost seven) months. My partner got a great job in Winnipeg, two hours from our home in Brandon, so we decided to put our house on the market and planned to move as soon as it sold. What we didn’t count on was an incredibly long winter and a slow real estate market … it’s now late June and our house is still for sale and we haven’t moved.
So, my partner works in Winnipeg from Monday to Friday and drives back to Brandon on Friday evening to spend the weekend at ‘home’. We’re lucky that his parents live closer to Winnipeg so he can stay with them, as well as our daughter. She’s 4 and this whole situation has probably been the hardest on her – she’s in a great daycare in the town his parents live in, so at least there’s that; but she’s also away from home (and me) most of the week as well.
The last six months have been a life of starts and stops. We don’t know what the next step is, where we’re going to live once the house sells, if it ever sells. I recently got a job I really enjoy, but I don’t want to get too attached to it because I may have to leave it soon.
And then there’s my business. Aside from the whole house-selling adventure/disaster, it’s the most unclear portion of my life. I don’t know what’s going to happen to it once we move, or even what’s happening to it right now, as we wait to sell the house and move on. I tried keeping things running as smoothly as I could for as long as possible, but not knowing what’s going to happen with our home made it difficult to make any concrete decisions. Investing any serious time and energy into a major project seemed kind of pointless … silly, I know, but it was a choice between setting aside time for working on things like overhauling my business’s brand or just waiting for things to settle down a bit. And I took the easy way out, I guess.
I want my business to be a success … at least that’s what I tell myself. I can see an endpoint to all the planning and researching and reading that I do, it’s the middle part – the unknown – that makes it harder to get things rolling in the beginning. So, do I keep plugging along and try to stay focused on the end point, working through the middle bit, as ugly and difficult as it may be, or do I just throw in the towel? The answer to that question does lie in the unknown, the solution is finding out which one is the least challenging to deal with and get past.
I used to be someone who lived life without a care in the world. Then I grew up. I got a real job and left school and had legit responsibilities. I can’t believe I lived my life for so long with so many unknowns – mostly knowing where I was going to find money to pay bills and rent *after* going out with friends every night of the week. Now that I’m a real adult, it terrifies me to think that could happen again (except the partying all the time … I like sleep much more now). I need to know what the next step is going to be, even if it’s just a simple action, not a concrete one.
I don’t know if it’s maturity or having lived a bit of a life and seeing what consequences there are to some decisions, but I think having a fear of the unknown isn’t such a bad thing. At least, not all the time. It’s letting that fear of the unknown take over your life and control every single aspect of it, that’s when you’ve got problems. But letting it help you question things and guide your steps is not a bad way to live. I think. ;)
Stacey is a stitcher and loves being inspired by nature. She’s also a former graphic designer and procrastinator extraordinaire. She lives on the Canadian prairies and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Follow Stacey on Twitter and her website, nisseworks.
Krystle: Stacey, it’s amazing how one thing can consume our lives and throw everything out of whack. You know, like moving. Or waiting to move. Until that one big thing is figured out it feels like you’re living in a constant state of waiting. Been there! My advice is to do your best to set aside time to do something for you and your business each day. Put together a newsletter for your followers, or start working on new branding materials. You’ll feel like you’re moving ahead and getting things done, even while the world around you is left to the unknown.
Fear Confessions is a series of essays by creatives who share personal stories about facing their fears. It’s a celebration of vulnerability.