I’ve been avoiding writing for the last several months. There are many reasons for this. I’ve been turning to artwork as an expressive outlet, a need to be out of my internal, intellectual world, a deep, pervasive feeling of exhaustion, and, related to that exhaustion, no desire or will.
The impacts of seven months of looking for work, a two month journey to losing it, and the last ten weeks of re-entering the world of unemployment and job searching again? Those impacts aren’t clear yet and probably won’t be for some unknown time. What is clear is that my desire to feel productive, to feel useful, has lost its lodestone.
My internal compass has been spinning wildly, seeking an orientation, a focus, a place to land. I’ve volunteered, networked, job searched, made art, written, and simply sat on my couch doing nothing. I’ve had countless ideas for products, novels, art pieces, and community organizations, and I’ve put effort into a business idea with some potential. But nothing has snapped into that empty spot. None of my own ideas have quite slipped in to fill that hole – they aren’t big enough yet, solid enough.
What I have noticed is that the pressure to be productive – to always be creating something, doing something, seeking success in some way – is enormous and intense. Internal, external, implicit, explicit, the subtle and not-so-subtle influences are everywhere. To say that I feel like a piece of coal being squeezed and compressed into a diamond is a bit dramatic, but maybe it’s the best metaphor.
I no longer have an external motivator or source of direction; there is no one to help me direct when, where, and how I spend my energy and resources. While I have a strong sense of myself, values, and interests, I’ve never thought of myself as an entrepreneur. This time of unemployment has changed my thoughts and feelings though, and I’m planning toward self-sufficiency, toward being my own boss.
Perhaps I’m becoming my own lodestone.