One of the biggest freedoms I have being a solo Creative worker is that I am in control of my own destiny – I can change direction whenever I want, I plan my own timetable and my working day and I'm not bound by anyone else's rules or boundaries. Yet, I still find myself falling into familiar patterns and routines. I think about possible changes I could make to my work and the way I work and then I think I could maybe make those changes in the New Year, when the kids are older, when I've lost weight, when life calms down a bit... you get the picture!
But, then I realised, why do I have to wait for a signal? It sometimes seems part of the human condition that we like patterns or recognised points for change – like the need to set an alarm always for half past and never 27 minutes past, or to wait til Monday to start the diet even though starting at 3pm on Saturday afternoon is equally acceptable (and would even be better!) We like to wait until a 'pleasing' time or for some kind of outside signal – New Year, the start of Summer, a birthday, a break-up or even just after the weekend! We wait. And often we wait some more as that 'perfect time' never arrives.
So, I now remind myself that at any time on any day we can make a decision for change. We can decide we need that fresh start, that new leaf. Even if it is 2.14pm on a Tuesday afternoon. We don't have to wait until next Monday. Until next year. Or until the time is right. Because something else I have learned over the last few years is that the time is never right. Life will always throw a curve ball in just as you get there.
Have you ever been walking down the street in one direction when you suddenly realise that you need to be going in the other? And how long was it until you actually turned round? Did you walk a bit further to a handy doorway where you stopped and looked in your bag for something imaginary before you then set off again in the direction you needed to be heading in? Did you walk a few steps, then stop and look at your watch like that gave the world around you a clear signal that you had to turn round and head somewhere else quick? Or did you just keep on walking the long way round to where you wanted to be?
I reckon many of us have been there and have had the internal dilemma of how we turn round and walk in the opposite direction without looking like a numpty! But why should we? Why do we need to get to a corner before we can turn round? Why do we wait for a more 'acceptable' situation before we change direction?
So, remember, we can make our own New Year at any time on any day. We can draw a line in the sand and take a big step forward to new challenges or just raising our game on the challenges we already face. We can start that diet, do more exercise, plan that dream business, start decorating the hall, visit that friend, sign up for driving lessons or whatever your 'thing' may be. And we can do it now. Not after the holidays, not next week, not after the kids are a bit older or the lighter nights are here. Do it now.
Stop waiting because tomorrow never does come.
The same can be said for the serious stuff too – we delay going to the doctor's because it's probably nothing serious, or facing financial problems because we hope they'll magically go away. Sometimes, we know we need help and support but we wait to 'see how things go' for a bit longer, or we say that if things haven't improved by the end of the week we'll call someone. And again, we end up waiting some more; putting it off 'til tomorrow'. So, my message to you is do not wait. If you you are struggling with anything, be it a lump you've found on your body, an unhealthy relationship, worries about your mental health or financial pressures, then seek help now. Not later today, not when the kids have gone back to school, not when you've 'given it a week' – now. Do it now.
Do it now.