We’re halfway through 2022, and it’s been a pretty tough year for me so far.
In the northern hemisphere the longest day is almost upon us, and I’ve been wondering about what the next 6 months may bring and, more, what I would like it to bring.
I confess: I find it really hard to dream what that might look like.
This inability to imagine a positive future isn’t new, alas. Perhaps it’s a by-product of an economically-deprived childhood, or from living with a limiting chronic illness for over 16 years. Either way, looking ahead for more than a week takes effort and energy, and creates edges which catch and pull the loose threads of my gauzy self-esteem.
And yet. And yet.
It would be nice to have a dream, no? To have potential outcomes that, rather than drag me down due to the perceived elements of unworkability, actually buoy me up and act as a North Star for my efforts.
So I’m catching my breath briefly (between university deadlines and a brace of commitments to others) to stop, pause, reflect, and wonder: What do I want? What would I like? What do I want to do? What is the colour, the tone, the shape of how I want the rest of this year to unfold?
These are not easy questions for me to sit with, and I resist them like a small child refusing to go to bed even though she’s tired.
Because, for the most part, I spend my creative energy on the requests, demands, projects, and tasks identified by others. I find it easier than working on my own stuff, as I often have greater clarity on what needs to be done when the project belongs to another and it’s fundamentally task-orientated (so once it’s done, I wipe my mental board of any more thinking about it).
Given the charming/infuriating way my mind works, I find it extraordinarily hard to remember things without some kind of external prompt which then acts like a jolt of electricity to light up a series of unconscious connections in my mind, giving life to an unbeknownst electrical circuit. Projects, tasks, and conversations with others generate that jolt with little effort; doing it for myself feels like trying to power a whole house with a 3-gear push-bike and a dynamo.
I can feel like I’m in a small boat, drifting with the current and being called into service by folks on the riverbank, briefly but dependably helping them to cross the river, buy supplies, visit others, solve problems. It’s not a wholly unrewarding way of being; it can get pretty lonesome in this boat, alone.
And yet I can also feel the tug of the current and a distant song inviting me to rest my hand on the tiller and gently, just gently, look up towards my own horizon and steer.
Perhaps both are possible.
Perhaps I will dream that they are.
Photo by Kara Muse