What am I doing?

Just because I don’t’ know what I am going to do, doesn’t’ mean I don’t know what I am doing.

– me

I came up with this saying to capture the distinction between having a concrete plan for the future (ie knowing what you are going to do), and living confidently and competently with the unknown.

I first felt the need for this saying when I was travelling around the world earlier in the year, without a fixed itinerary, and without a job to return to. Someone I met on my travels was anxious on my behalf that I did not know where I was going next.

The problem with people being anxious on my behalf, is that it can very easily trigger my own anxiety. Am I missing something? Should I be more worried? Fortunately I was wise enough to this phenomenon to question what this fear was about, and where it was coming from.

In the case of my holiday, my intention was to explore the world in a spontaneous way, responding to what emerged during the course of the trip. The uncertainty was part of the purpose of the trip. I wasn’t trying to see specific sights or experience specific cities or wonders (other than Paris), I was trying to experience myself in the world unconfined by the restrictions of a set itinerary or a date that I needed to return to work.

The downside of this flexibility is the difficulty of researching and negotiating transport, food and accommodation while on the road, and the possibilities of being overwhelmed by isolation or illness. I felt that I knew myself well enough that I could handle the emotional buffeting of travelling alone, in fact I was testing out my robustness in the face of uncertainty.

I came to the conclusion that although there are risks associated with solo travel, I knew what I was trying to do, and why. I was fairly confident that I could respond appropriately if difficulties arose.

Keeping clear on the distinction between knowing what am going to do, and knowing what I am doing is even more important now that I am back home and not working. I really have no idea what is going to happen in the long term, but I have a growing confidence that this is the most competent thing I could be doing right now to move myself in the direction of a happier and more meaningful life.

Flower Barge on the Seine

By the way, I have managed to attract a few views, which is great and was excited to find my first “Like” this morning. So welcome to my first readers!

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