I was GROOVIN’! Nothing in life is perfect, but I felt like I was experiencing a brief moment where life was falling together. I had a pretty solid and predictable schedule in place. I knew what I could expect - both from myself and from those closest to me. I was dodging curveballs and setting myself up to knock some things out of the park. I was challenging myself in great ways and growing as a person. Now, some folks may define having a predictable lifestyle as torture, they want to be looking for adventure and change. But, for my little control freak self, I relish it. I thrive in it. It’s my definition of “Groovin’”.
But then I had a month that rocked my boat in unexpected ways. Well, not so much rocked the boat as capsized it. The flux of extreme lows and highs significantly impacted my work. I lost momentum and consistency with what I was doing, my schedule was completely unpredictable, and my motivation to create simply evaporated. I was officially and completely derailed.
Here’s what happened:
Extreme low - My cat that I’ve had for 16.5 years (he was almost 19 years old) passed away. He and I moved across the country multiple times, battled depression/& anxiety, and as I’ve grown into adulthood he’s been my one anchor. He was a stoic and solid force that kept me grounded. I like to joke that we had an unhealthy codependent relationship - turns out, we really did! I’ve very much struggled with his death. It’s been a time of extreme grief for me.
Extreme high...8 days later) - I got to watch my husband walk across the stage to receive his Bachelor’s degree. This degree has been hard fought with MANY trials over the last 6 years. Going back to school as an adult is exponentially more difficult than going as a teen/early 20’s. And he chose to fight through the world’s best civil engineering program at UC Berkeley. There are no words to describe the pride, joy, and relief of completing this milestone.
Extreme low...2 weeks later) - Covid strikes. My husband had a mild cold with it and didn’t understand why everybody’s been making such a big deal. I, on the other hand, was trying not to die. I had the most awful time with Covid - the incessant sneezing and coughing, excruciating joint pain, and debilitating fatigue. Even as I’m writing this, I’m still battling the after-effects of the illness.
Extreme high - I saw notable forward movement in my business. I’ve been building Daytime Hero (both the voiceover and business education sides) diligently for a while now. The efforts to build a strong and long-lasting business are tedious and intense. I’ve spent years working 6-7 days a week to market myself, hone my craft, create content, etc. And finally, a first baby sprout appeared. The joy and relief of recognizing my efforts are working peaked at a high.
Folks, that’s ONE MONTH of my life. And those were just the extremes. My weeks were also stacked with teaching pole classes, bookkeeping for a church, baking, an in-laws visit, a couple of shows, auditions/& callbacks, Giants games, and voiceover gigs. I need a nap... I also realized that I need a break, but that’s a whole other blog post.
In that month's time span, I lost every ounce of momentum I had previously gained and came to a grinding halt. I was forced to stop auditioning, creating content was out of the question, and I was just trying to hold it together. The train was off the tracks in a bad way.
When that happens, how do we develop the motivation and instill the discipline to get back on track? Well, here’s what I’m working on:
Embrace the riptide - There are times that putting up resistance and fighting the flow will do only one thing for you: wear you out. The upheaval in life just demands our attention and forces its way up the priority list without our permission. But by relaxing and letting the waves take you where they will, a new flow shows itself. It may not be the path we expected and we may not be developing as quickly as we would like, but we’ll get a lot farther along and keep our mental health in check when we embrace the turbulence instead of fighting it.
Be patient and flexible- Life moves in cycles and when it gets crazy, it inevitably will calm down again. We focus on doing what we can, when we can, realizing we’ll be moving slower than we’d like. But given time, life will calm down and we’ll be able to get back to a pace that feels better for us.
Resetting expectations - When the boat capsizes - or the train falls off the tracks, it becomes obvious that the priorities and expectations we set before the turbulence are not the same after the turbulence. We cannot hold ourselves to the same level we were working at prior to the disruption, so we need to reassess and set priorities and expectations accordingly. That also includes removing any sense of guilt we might hold by having to re-establish ourselves.
Look for that moment to get back on track - We can’t throw our hands up in the air and say “it’s not meant to be” based on one or two setbacks. Setbacks and derailments are a part of the process. We need to stay in touch with our work, even if it is significantly less than what we’re used to producing. Keep an eye out because opportunities will present themselves to get back on track.
Right now, I’m practicing all these things. I’m doing it with an air of flexibility and I refuse to feel guilty because I’m producing less than my usual standard. Am I back on track? No, not quite yet. But I’m holding space for my mental health and keeping my eyes open for the opportunity to start groovin’ again.
Looking forward to finding momentum,