In the past 3 weeks of returning home from a very abrupt ending of my second semester at university – I have realised how much the existence of a routine affects my perspective on life, my motivation, and my self-esteem.
I am no longer the girl who spends 10 hours in the library to achieve her first-class degree. I am no longer the hard-working student set on achieving the goals that I have set out for myself. I have become a complacent child whose innocence has returned. All notion of hard work has left me even though the academic year is yet to end. I feel as if I have been sucked into this portal where nothing I do really matters. The sun rises and it falls. And I just exist. Nothing more, nothing less. I just exist.
It only took 2 weeks of ‘semi-forced’ isolation to lose my passion for my work, passion for my creativity. Instead, I have curled up in my privilege, binge-watching ‘How to get away with murder’, making scones and pretending to know anything about music by switching the radio to classic FM.
However, I have realised that it is not the isolation in itself that has weakened my self-motivation but the uncertainty that our present day presents itself. It is the excruciating fear of the unknown that has gripped my hands and my legs. It has overcome me more than I thought it would. When unexpected things occur, it is extremely easy for us to lose who we are in the panic. In my case, this is mostly due to my over-reliance on ‘routine’. Instead of building oneself up, we rely on repetitive actions to make us believe that we have everything in our control. But the truth is we do not have everything under our control – humans were never made to rule the heavens and the earth.
We are as much a product of past events as an autumn leaf dancing in the wind. When we stumble on this realisation, even though it is clear as daylight, that’s when panic ensues. However even in the knowledge that life can be unpredictable and that sometimes our hopes and dreams maybe upside down: Humans have something that the autumn leaf does not – the ability to change course, to reinvent oneself. To persevere and fight the great wind that disturbs one’s life.
Humans have something that the autumn leaf does not – the ability to change course, to reinvent oneself.
It is quite clear, and I can contest to this, that one’s strength alone cannot achieve such a feat. Mastering the act of ‘carrying on’ despite the turmoil of life is extremely difficult in any situation.
Difficulty may arise as we can find ourselves with a sense of loss identity because we have put so much worth in the things that are so easily lost, e.g. friends or our career, or in the things that have naturally change course. In the midst of uncertainty, the only way to thrive is to hang on to the only certain thing: who we are and where we want to be.
Paul in the bible, Christian or not, is a great example of holding on to one’s purpose in the midst of uncertainty. In his letters to the Philippians, which were written whilst he was under house arrest in Rome, display the joy Paul had despite his circumstances. He was joyful has he held tight to his purpose, hopes and desires and never lost sight of what mattered to him despite things not going exactly has he planned them to go. He saw the nuance in his new situation and sought out new ways to fulfil his goals. You and I may not be called to be great missionaries who travel the world to spread the gospel but we each have our own purpose, our own goals in life and I believe that in times of uncertainty the only thing we can do is hold on to those in order not to lose ourselves.
“I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished in the day when Christ Jesus returns” Philippians 1:6
(Here is an album for my classical junkies)