As Fragile As A Spinning Coin.
2020, the year that will be remembered as the ultimate example of fragility. It's safe to say this wasn't pinned on anyone's vision board. No-one manifested this with the law of attraction and the ol' horoscopes certainly failed to give us a heads up of what was to come. Life as we know it is no longer, yet, was it ever guaranteed in the first place? Maybe you lost your job and money has never been tighter. Someone close to you might have passed away and you couldn't be there. Perhaps you birthed a brand new life into this world, all by yourself. You might have become more selective with who you choose to call or visit. You may have even restarted a conversation with someone that was paused years ago. Maybe you picked up the paintbrush you never had time for, or put pen to paper and allowed your creativity to create something beautiful. Maybe you were there to see your babies first step or to hold your partners hand through their struggles. As the world quietened, perhaps you were able to hear yourself think for the first time.
Life as we knew it. A broken glass shattered, yet not in its entirety.
New Years Eve. The chapter of 2019 with all of its wins and challenges was about to be shut; gathering only dust on the bookshelf. With the naive promise of hope you can only find in young love, we welcomed the stroke of midnight and with it, the end of a decade. What is it about a new year? Why is it that we have to wait for a certain date to be able to turn a significant page? We're always waiting for the weekend, and then for Monday to finally start a project we've been procrastinating. We're waiting for summer, we're waiting for autumn. We're waiting for a boy or a girl or a promotion or a trip. Most of us are addicted to chasing shiny things, and the shattering of the glass has made me realise, for what? You could call this perspective or perhaps a reality check. Maybe it was a big fucking stop sign to reevaluate how we're spending our exceptionally short time on this earth. Bushfires, famine, protests, the world's largest humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Black Lives Matter, insane and incompetent leaders calling the shots and the economy on the brink of collapse. Guys, it's not even August.
As someone who has built their career in one of the hardest hit industries, tourism, it's been crushing to see some of the hardest working people I know have the rug pulled out from under them. Good people who have done many good things, now starting from zero (or in some cases, heavily in the negatives). It's a hard pill to swallow, but being a good person doesn't guarantee life not coming around to whoop your ass. If I'm taking one thing from this year that I believe to be unequivocally true, it's that life is not fair. Becoming too comfortable is foolish; life as you know it is as fragile as a spinning coin. You see, everything in our lives is a half chance. If you're able to read this article, if you had a sip of clean water today, if you have a dry roof over your head, if someone has told you they loved you lately- all of these things make you infinitely fortunate. This year has not been an easy one for me. My business has come to a screeching halt, investments I thought were foolproof have proved otherwise. I'm unexpectedly living on the other side of the world and figured on top of all this, now was a good time to begin therapy and unpack layers of deep trauma.
Yet, I am part of a group who is one of the most fortunate people on earth. I'm safe, I'm warm, I'm fed and I'm loved. I have books to read, podcasts to listen to, friends to call, a dog to give belly rubs. I have creativity, compassion, empathy and resilience. I'm able to travel, to change careers and to speak my opinion. I was born in a good era, on a good patch of dirt on earth. I remind myself consistently of how grateful I am for all of this.
It's easy to become completely overwhelmed at how many things 2020 has thrown at us thus far. Anxiety, depression and suicide rates are up across the board. There's been days my anxiety has been so bad that I don't recognise myself. My panic attacks so bad that I'm not sure when I'll ever be able to take another breath. I have had days where I've been so down, all I can do is go to sleep. I don't need sympathy or pity, but to let you know, that I've been there. The curveballs we've been thrown this year sometimes feel like they're never ending and it's exhausting. If you're in this place, I wanted to share a few things which have helped me on the tough days.
-Get off social media. Stop looking at your phone immediately. The news, the conspiracies, the drama. Too much of it is immeasurably bad for your head.
-Get outside every single day, even if it's for 10 minutes.
-Limit alcohol as much as you can. At the beginning of lockdown I was drinking every single night which was a pattern that was terrible for my mind, skin and body.
-Keep a journal. I highly recommend the https://yourholisticpsychologist.com/ and her 'Future Self Journal'. As a minimum, jot down three things you are grateful for each morning.
-Cry whenever you need to, it's cool.
-Learn a few deep breathing or meditation techniques that work for you. There's plenty online and on youtube. Apps like https://www.headspace.com/ or https://www.calm.com/ are a good place to start. I've used both and now prefer to just close my eyes and set a timer.
-Get help. It took me YEARS to admit that I needed the help of a professional therapist. I can highly recommend https://www.betterhelp.com/. Not only is it a fraction of the cost of a traditional therapist, it's online so Covid can't stop you missing a session. You will be matched to a therapist who is an expert in the area that you need help with. We all have baggage, we all have trauma. I honestly believe that everyone could benefit from therapy, and if we remove the taboo around from going, perhaps more people would begin.
-Move through your day being as present as you can. Notice the distant bird sound, the rhythm of your footsteps, the first glorious sip of coffee in the morning.
-Keep your body moving. Running, yoga, dance. I think it's almost an impossibility to not feel at least a little better after breaking a sweat.
Remember that everything is temporary and that life is a bit like a tide. Just as it's at its lowest, know that the high tide is on its way. I don't expect that the world owes me anything. I don't expect that being a good person will necessarily result in good things happening to me, because that's way too fair. Instead of resisting the hardships, embrace the fragility. Keep checking in on your friends, keep checking in on yourself.
Some of the most beautiful things in life are the most fragile, because we know their beauty might not last forever.
With love and gratitude,