Our bounds are constrained to our homes and our heads. Time for some rediscovery.
I recently reflected that I had planned to make 2020 a year of focusing on boundaries. Perhaps I wished too hard. With a renewed shutdown, I am in the narrowest physical & social boundaries of my life. As my good friend, Geoff reminds me above, I need not let these boundaries define me.
I may be constrained by tight boundaries but constraints are a source of creativity. We have already seen so many people demonstrate extraordinary creativity in reinventing their work, their business model or their lives to suit the new circumstances. One can rail against boundaries, but these appear likely to be with us for some time to come. Let’s not let them define us and get creative in how we discover and rediscover ourselves.
Boundaries help us focus and explore what we have. I have found these last 6 months a period of a focus on capabilities, broadly defined. I have focused a great deal on making what I can from my circumstances and my resources. With time and attention, I have been surprised with how much can be done.
Turning back to rediscover my own world has led to all sort of new opportunities, many due to my privileged position as someone later in my career with resources, successes and networks already established. With commutes & travel abandoned and the pressures of lockdown, I have explored more deeply passions for poetry, baking and cooking. I have turned to all sorts of bits of digital detritus to support the needs of a busy home office. I have reshaped the way I deliver my work to make more progress and been totally surprised by how much progress I can make with colleagues and clients in these times. I have watched the organisations I am involved in make similar transformations and progress. Some of my capabilities and history have enabled me to make new and useful contributions to others. We are discovering and sometimes rediscovering ways of living and working.
The hardest and most challenging part of this process is rediscovery of myself. I have only made a small part of this progress, but what I have found is now precious to me. I value family, friends, colleagues and community more highly because that time now stands in starker relief. I have spent much more time seeking out social activity now that little comes by chance. I now ask myself harder questions about the value and role of purchases I make now that casual browsing and shopping as an activity is lost. I don’t miss travel for work, conferences or pleasure and I know it may be years before that experience returns to what it once was.
With the events of the last months, I am more aware of my circumstances of privilege and advantage. I don’t battle poverty, discrimination, disability or other forms of disadvantage. I blithely share my opinions when those options aren’t always available to or respected in others. I have much to learn and more that I can contribute to help others be heard and to make change happen. The stories of those making this change continue to inspire me to make a bigger difference.
There is more good in the world to find when I go looking beyond the dark headlines and shouty debates. People realising their potential still inspire and encourage me. I get down but I still hold hope and still believe we can make change. Life is light and shade. I am wiser for coming to a greater acceptance of both sides. Perhaps I am being more realistic in my expectations of the world but mostly of myself. I can stop. I can take a day off. I need to be mindful and relax some times. The world won’t end. All I can do is all I need do.
Ultimately, the last few months have been a reminder that if there’s no happiness inside you won’t find happiness out in the world. That’s a rediscovery worth much indeed.
What have you discovered?