Thinking Outside the Box, Walking Inside It: Carrying on with Life While Temporarily Displaced

Recently I left home for a week, to attend a convention and visit my parents, and now, more than two weeks later, I am still away from home and plan to be for a month or two more. I was heading home, then found out my apartment needed extensive repair work, and I can’t live there while it is being done.

So I’m out of my element, but with family, my own space, and some time to get some things done that are important to me.

It’s amazing how much is involved in being away from home unexpectedly and for an extended period of time: a leave of absence from my part-time job, utilities and so on to shut off, a daytrip home for some of my things…

I’m also displaced in the sense that I’m in a climate much different, read HOTTER, than my own beach town. It’s an adjustment, but life needs to carry on. For me that means work, friends, worship, and daily exercise.

All of those were, thankfully, easy to cover, and I’m fortunate to be partly self-employed, and to be able to work away from home with the help of technology. That is one of the advantages that we solo professionals and creatives have. We can hook up to a computer, warm up our brain, and work anywhere.

This is a reminder we need sometimes. Technology can get out of control, but it can also enable us to do amazing things anywhere. Being self-employed can come with uncertainties and pressures, but it can also free us to do what we need and want to do, on our own schedule, and from wherever we happen to be.

I miss some of my routines and usual environment, but I’ve been able to find reasonable substitutes. For instance, an essential part of daily life for me is exercise, especially walking. If that means a walk on the beach all the better, but as long as I have a reasonable alternative I can adapt, at least temporarily.

In my current circumstances, the heat and air quality prohibit exercising outside. So I had to find ways to take my movement routine inside. Fortunately, an alternative was already in place. I can still walk and jog nearly every day, as usual. I just have to do it inside. Fortunately I have sole use of a treadmill where I’m staying, so I have moved my walk inside the box, or house.

Instead of fresh air, I have air conditioning and a ceiling fan. I miss being outside, the usual scenery, and the human and canine friends I see on the way. Instead, I look out the window, or at the pictures on the wall, and listen to audio recordings. I play with the treadmill controls, watching my mileage and calorie burning progress.  And of course my mind is free to think, wander, and create, which are some of the benefits of my walking habit, whatever the form it takes.

The way I do it now is not what I’m used to, not what I prefer, but it’s close enough to my familiar and beloved routines to be stabilizing and give me the joy of getting on with my life and work.

I’ve found ways to carry on with the other important parts of my life too, including getting back to writing this blog, after a few weeks’ gap between posts.  I’ve had to adjust, adapt, and get creative, but I’ve found things that work, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge, and seeing what is possible to do and enjoy away from home but somewhat back to my daily life.

As with most situations, I could focus on the negative:

·       I’m away from home and my friends and my job

·       I’ve had to do some work just to rearrange my life from a distance

·       I can’t walk on the beach for a while

·       I no longer have an excuse not to spend the time to sort through the piles of papers and other debris that have been collecting for years

·       and did I mention it’s really hot here?

But I choose to focus on the positive instead:

·       I can keep in touch with my friends by text and phone calls

·       I’ve already begun making some great new friends here

·       I’m able to keep in practice with some of my work skills, and to have even more time to write and work on my business

·       I get to have extra time to enjoy my parents’ company, and my Mom’s incomparable cooking

·        I still get to walk, and work, and play, and live my life

·       I finally have time to organize those piles of papers so I’ll feel less overwhelmed and more efficient when I get home

·        and I get to experiment with doing all these things in different ways, while still keeping enough of the familiar that means so much to me.

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The lessons?

 ·       It is possible to deal with a change, and inconvenience, even a bit of a shock requiring readjustment, and still enjoy life and be productive.

·       It is good to have reassuring routines in place, like walking and writing, and ways of making them work even when they look a little different than usual.

·       When compared to what many people, including some of my own friends, have to deal with, our own inconveniences can seem pretty trivial.

·       A change in routine, balanced with some constants, can strengthen us, expand our skills, and even be fun.

What about you? What curve balls has life thrown you, and how have you adapted, managed, and even found joy in the experience?

What routines, priorities, and other constants in your life help keep you feeling stable and oriented despite whatever else changes in your life?

Please share in the comments.