Years ago, I was on a needed holiday. I’d arrived in a bad mood – I can’t remember why – but I felt tired, depressed, unmotivated and just completely uninterested, even in the holiday itself.
On the second day of that break, I found myself lying on a warm, grassy playing field. I was basking in warm sunshine, and I held the string of one of those plastic kites you can only seem to buy at the seaside. As I twisted and pulled the string of the kite to make it go hither an’ thither up in the sky in a fashion that I decreed it should, I had a sudden flash of the blinding obvious. You know the sort of thing: that realisation that you actually know something which you already knew, had forgotten, and needed to know right then.
The kite only succeeded if it was firmly anchored at the other end of its string.
If I let go of it, the kite would plummet uncontrollably to the ground. Even if it flew in a heavy wind for a few moments, eventually gravity – a principle – would take command of the situation and force it to clumsily dive into terra firma, and the flimsy toy would probably perish in the process.
He same applies to us, psychologically. Imagine that you’re like the kite. You are capable of whatever it is you have been trained and prepared for. In an ideal world you’ve selected the profession in which you work.
Then you lose some perspective. You forget why you chose that line. Perhaps someone has changed the rules and the values you upheld last week are no longer welcomed. The impositions have increased, but neither the time available nor the compensation have increased to match the added workload. The situation and the dedication that applied yesterday – have gone.
Suddenly, like an un-anchored kite you lose direction. You float where the wind blows but now it’s with no sense of control.
Maybe that’s how you feel in this period of isolation. You can’t do what you’ve been able to do for ever. So you drift, aimlessly. Towards the fridge, like as not.
But there’s a solution.
Rediscover that anchoring point, that ‘other end’ of the piece of string that can refocus you on what was important, and always will be important. Being current, professionally. Being available to family, friends, colleagues and your community. For me, that is a set of written, defined values and a personal mission statement. It could be like that for you, but you may choose other terms or a different route.
But it’s the anchor that lets you fly. Always was, always will be.
Find it, rediscover it, renew it. Perhaps, given the current uncertainty, completely rewrite it.
Whatever you decide is important, get it down in writing (rather than trying to remember it), and then work from it.
Your kite – a metaphor for your life – will fly all the better for that fixed point.