So many times, we find ourselves placing our lives on hold. Once we get that next promotion, we tell ourselves that we’ll finally be happy. If only we find the right relationship, our struggles will lessen. This is true for those who enjoy good health, as well as those facing the challenges of chronic illness.
When I was forced to stop working full-time, there was suddenly no guiding future aspirational marker in front of me. I absolutely was forced to live in the here and now.
Having spent decades of my life always striving to get to the next level, this was no easy set of adjustments to make. I honestly deeply struggled with it. What was there, after all, to get out of bed in the morning for, I found myself thinking, way too many days in a row. I felt like the quality of my life had dramatically, and irrevocably, slipped through my unwilling fingers.
Something unexpected happened during this process. I found myself growing very weary of feeling miserable! I don’t just mean that I felt bad because of my persistent symptoms themselves, but because of the former lifestyle they had forced me to abandon.
I knew that I had to find a way to find meaning in my current situation, rather than to simply continue to grieve all that I had lost. So, I picked up my art supplies. Those very pencils, paints, and brushes that simply collected dust when I was previously working so many hours per week as a psychologist.
Slowly, I felt like the dark cloud that had been covering my life was beginning to lift. Once more, I was enjoying my creative interests and abilities.
I started to explore a whole new medium; I began to teach myself how to make polymer clay jewelry. I continued to make all kinds of designs. Eventually, I began to feel confident enough in my designs to actually market them.
So, I tentatively signed up to market my creations at local craft fairs. (Of course, those early, primitive, flawed designs never made it to my display table). I was initially nervous about doing so, but soon received a lot of positive feedback about how unique my jewelry designs were.
I made a modest amount of money from selling my jewelry. More importantly, I met several new interesting, creative individuals. They expanded my perspective, as well as encouraged me to keep designing. I learned that it was possible to bloom where you are planted.