In Times of Stress…How Much Can We Really Take?

Along with much of the rest of the country, I’ve been stuck in Winter Storms Kori and Leo for what seems like forever. (I didn’t even know winter storms had names, but apparently they do since 2012?) It’s caused a nice amount of destruction and inconvenience, not to mention some stress – when the ground is 100% saturated and there’s a creek behind your house that’s already out of its banks, a forecast calling for a lot more rain is disconcerting to say the least.

Water under my house, rivers (yes plural) flowing through the property toward the creek, the creek creeping toward the house, a leech field that simply cannot operate under such duress…it’s been raining nonstop for days… I mean, really – how much can one take?

I’m not going to lie – this isn’t fun. It’s hard work to maintain the things we can and the fact that there are other things that we have no choice about sucks. There are some measures that we can take to attempt to avoid some of this in the future, but they aren’t cheap. We’ll have to do them if we want a chance at avoiding this in the future.

Wait a minute…if I didn’t know any better, I’d think I was describing a career in the arts!

It seems all-too familiar…

Potentially screwed by circumstances beyond your control
Damage control is essential
Fear of the future/unknown
Lots of “bad news” with some good news sprinkled here and there
Constant troubleshooting
The need to invest in order to make improvements

Yep. My rainpocalypse is paralleling the life of a creative.

Looking at that list, who would choose this life?? It really doesn’t look so great when it’s spelled out.

And that’s my point here – when you’re in the midst of turmoil, it’s tough and things look bad. Nothing seems to go right, things feel like they’re caving in on you, you begin to worry about the immediate and long-term future…

But that list above only has the bad things in it going on right now. It’s missing all of the good things, which are easy to forget when you’re right in the middle of the muck.

I live in a forest. It’s so peaceful and quiet. I get to hang out with deer every day in my yard (even in the rain!) and see bald eagles and ringtail cats and turkeys and all kinds of other animals. I can be on the lake in 10 minutes. I live in a really beautiful home. On a clear night I have my own planetarium when I walk outside. It’s a magical place.

So if I can just weather the storm, literally, by maintaining what I have when times are tough and investing in what I need in order to make things more secure, it’s totally worth it.

Would you say the same about your work?

I’m sure (I hope) you have a list of things you truly enjoy about what you do that makes it totally worth it, so oftentimes it’s just about weathering the (figurative) storms that come along. Look for the reasons why you love what you do when things get tough – it will help you have the courage to dig deeper and invest further rather than giving into fear and frustration.

Despite all of the issues I’m dealing with, I truly love it here. And if you truly love your creative career path and the good outweighs bad, that will keep you going. There will always be tough times – that’s just the way it is. Just because something is awesome doesn’t mean it’s easy. In the end, all that matters is if it’s worth it to you. That’s a choice you get to make. And if you decide it’s worth it, reframe the muck as a just another form of problem solving and go get ‘em!

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