Have you felt it lately? I have. The past couple of weeks there has been an underlying uneasiness that is like a constant buzzing in the background. If I don’t pay attention, I can almost make myself believe that it’s nothing. But then I’ll find myself feeling sad or easily aggravated or irritated for no apparent reason. And I’m reminded of this low-grade noise in the background.
I’ve gotten used to living with uncertainty. It wasn’t always that way. I grew up in a two parent household where Dad worked and Mom was home. There was always food on the table and I had everything I needed. I lived in the same house until I left for college. And then after college, I was able to return to that home for a year. So stability was what I knew. And I always felt safe.
Maybe it was that safety that allowed me to venture into a field of so much uncertainty. I felt alive and seen as an actor in the theatre. And despite being told an infinite amount of times that I needed a ‘backup’ profession, I forged ahead.
So I worked various jobs to supplement my income in between acting gigs. And then I fell in love with an actor. And we got married. And job/ financial security went right out the door when I chose to stay home with our two boys.
Creating a budget for an uncertain income was tricky at first. I can tell you down to the penny what we spend. But I can never know for sure what we’ll make each day/ week/ month or year.
This has been our norm for almost 20 years. I’ve adjusted. I’ve found a way to temper the girl who wants to feel safe and secure financially with the improvisational ways of our lives.
And even with all of that, I have found the last several weeks very challenging. Living with the uncertainty of how this country is going to move forward, what our new leadership is going to do and how it’s affecting the traditions and values of this amazing country are daunting.
Nothing is affecting me directly right now. My day to day life hasn’t changed yet. But every minute of the day I’m reminded of what’s taking place in the capital of this country. The decisions that are being made that will affect so many of us. And it is creating a stress and a tension that is always present. And my sense is that many others are feeling it too.
So how can I (we) move through this time of uncertainty and uneasiness? Maybe some of the same practices I’ve embraced in our lives can be applied here.
1. Acknowledge the uneasiness. It’s present. It’s there. It may show up in different ways for different people. So being patient and kind with others is crucial.
2. Take action steps to prepare for what we can. Maybe it’s becoming involved as an activist, or meditating and sending out love to all those involved. There are things we can do each day, small or large that can help keep the uneasiness at bay.
3. Talk about it. Share your feelings with loved ones. Let them know you’d like to vent and they don’t need to solve this for you. Ask them to just listen. Have a good cry or take your anger out on a pillow. Sometimes just getting it out can lead to clarity and a sense of relief.
4. Be gentle with ourselves. We are in unprecedented times. We’re figuring this out as we go. There’s no right way to get through this, but maybe you’ll happen on something that works and you can share it with others.
For me, I’ll also be praying. A lot. Asking for guidance, peace and love for everyone.
And maybe we will find ourselves on the other side of this having grown and improved. And we’ll notice the buzzing has subsided. And we can breathe a little deeper.