In the past ten years or so my life evolved around managing uncertainty. No, I should rephrase that. Not managing but embracing uncertainty. The reason for this thought is that if I would think back ten years I would have to conclude that there is one thing absolutely clear. Nothing stayed the same, nothing went as planned and nothing proved to be certain. My life knows no solidity in relations, work, expression, health, family, economics and housing.
Most people would have crashed into a state of permanent depression or at least would have had this twentieth century fashion disease named burnout. Sure, I had, have and will probably always have my depressions. But even they are not permanent. In the past years I learned a couple of life’s lessons that are both hard and wonderful. And probably most of these lessons are things that a lot of people would agree with as being all to obvious. Except for the fact most people do not experience themselves. They have their wisdom from observation and not experience.
For a number of years, when times were hard, I made a habit of drawing a six months life balance for myself. Comparing a number of things in my life with the situation half a year before. Over the years that helped me coping with drawbacks and realizing that at the moment of balancing life wasn’t all that bad.
I don’t do that anymore because I don’t need to.
Ten years ago I lived in a big house with 4 bedrooms, a jacuzzi, marble floors and a kitchen with just about everything in it that one could imagine to cook with, a big garden with a shed at the back, an office attached to the house, drive way with a big lease car on it in a very ‘good’ (that is to say relatively wealthy) neighborhood. I was a director of two companies at the same time, and a church deacon. People looked up to me with respect and every year we went on nice family holidays.
And I tried to kill myself a couple of times.
Now I live in a one-and-a-half rented room on a shared floor in an old (but graceful and beautiful) city house. No partner, no family ties except with my kids, no car, no paid job, not enough money to enable me to buy proper food during the whole month or buying proper health care. No chance of a job, physically not perfectly well and with large (business) debts resulting from loosing my work while recovering from multiple surgeries. No proper pension for when I will grow old and no expectations of improvement in my economic position for the rest of my life. I am to all standards in this society economically poor living way below poverty level. Society disregards me as someone who’s sidelined.
And I only tried to kill myself once some three years ago when it became clear that surgery had (partly) failed.
But why is then that my life is so much better now than it was ten years ago or twenty or thirty for that matter?
The answer is that due to the circumstances I had to (sometimes forcefully) let go of every certainty in my life. Possessions proved to be of no real value. Just like money. Social status proved to be a hoax. Marriage proved to be a mistake, a roof above my head proved to be something that is not for certain but two things came out so much different compared to my whole life before (and that is no exaggeration): friendships and my artistic abilities.
My life circles around the friendships I have with a few amazing people who love me as I love them and who inspire me. I learned to expand my artistic abilities and have become some sort of bohemian, someone who is able to live anywhere, who prefers travel and temporary housing over the status quo of a permanent home, someone who knows how to write a book, a poem, a song and who knows how to use fixed and moving pictures to touch peoples hearts.
And I am sure that killing myself is out of my system except maybe for the situation that I would fall incurably ill.
I guess most people wouldn’t want to exchange life with me due to the situation I live in but I am sure some people would love to live my life with the absolute freedom that I allow myself. I do not feel guilty towards society for how I live and the issues that are still out there. It’s as much part of the deal for me as it is for society.
So nowadays I am more dedicated to my art and to the people and causes that I feel connected with than ever before. And I know that will not change as long as I am healthy enough to continue. I do not appreciate certainties anymore because I know they are virtual. I learned to embrace the fact that everything is out there to change and the best way for me to handle all that is to allow the changes in the world around me and in my own life to happen. No matter wether these changes are supposed to be negative (and many times turn out positive in another manner) or positive in the shape of new connections with new inspiring people or a new love of my life. I learned to understand karma and to challenge it at the same time.
It is who I am now. Ever changing, always moving with the flows inside me and around me. With my depressions and joys, my failures and achievements, my defects and my assets, my heart aches and loves, my convictions and spirituality. No matter where I am physically. I do not know anymore how to live a life with built in ‘certainties’ because I am change.
Alice © 2012