The storm before the calm

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Life is full of storms, everything from light showers to squalls. Little ones, big ones. Storms we create, storms we're swept up in. Some we're ready for, others that catch us by surprise, forcing us to refocus.. to reconsider what's really important.

A storm never lasts forever, even though it can feel like it as days stretch into weeks and months. Eventually, there's always a calm, in one form or another, after the storm passes. The weary relief of recovering from a poor financial decision, or the quiet mourning of a loved one passing. The joy of seeing that first little smile after weeks of sleepless nights, or the triumph of meeting a challenge beyond your ability... and finding it wasn't.

We can't stop most storms, only decide how to weather them. They change us, but a big part of what that changes looks like depends on how we got through it. You could curl up and hide, waiting for it to pass, or get angry and look for someone to blame. You could help someone else through it, or rise to a challenge and find a hidden strength inside yourself.

Some work better than others. I've tried most of them.

The storm we're in right now is bad. There's no getting around it, for sure - we're all just pushing through. But not having a game plan or some goals is the worst feeling. Even a half-baked solution can be better than nothing, because if we can't at least see a little light at the end of the tunnel, it's tough to have hope.

For my part, here's what I've been trying to do.

  • Take walks. Smile at anyone you pass. We're in this storm together, all of us. The walls around us can feel like a prison that's keeping us trapped inside.
  • Realize your strength. Think about the storms you've been through in your life. You survived them before, and you will again.
  • Redirect your energy. Did excessive worrying help last time? Could that energy have been used more productively? Think about what you want to change in your approach this time.
  • Tackle a project that scares you. I changed the brakes on my van the other day, and yeah it scared me a bit. But I figured it out, they work great, and it gave me a little feeling of control at a time when so much feels out of my control.
  • Lean into the storm. Hoping a storm will pass has set me back more than once. Don't make things easy in the short term by selling out your future self.
  • Be thankful for opportunities. Don't feel guilty if you get a break. Help comes from unexpected places sometimes. Go with it, and pay it forward when you can.

And you? What will you do with the time you have, while we're all waiting for this storm to pass? It's in our human nature, to survive and thrive.


Grant Winney

I write when I've got something to share - a personal project, a solution to a difficult problem, or just an idea. We learn by doing and sharing. We've all got something to contribute.

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