Why It's Important to Keep Moving Towards Important Things
I’ve been in a funk lately. School started back (I’m a teacher) and it’s been a real challenge for everyone. I don’t know who reads my stories, but if you’re someone who is of the opinion that teachers should stop all of their whining and be thankful they have a job, hold on just a minute.
That’s not the direction I’m headed. I’m not whining, and I am thankful.
School looks differently for everyone. There are new challenges, the hours have been longer, the workload is increased, and due to the fact that we are in uncharted territory, there is a lot of uncertainty in the day to day for us.
I’m not complaining, this is just where I am, and I think all of that has contributed to the funk. I’m a different kind of tired during the school year. After my teaching hours, I come home and my family needs my attention, and I want to give it to them, but it’s a long, often draining day. Sometimes I tell my kids I’m tired, and give them a half-hearted effort.
And this, I think, is contributing to the funk.
I haven’t been making time to work out. I say “making time” because I want to take responsibility for the fact that I haven’t been doing this. (But also, time is hard to make right now). I should be making time, and I haven’t been, and this, I think, is contributing to the funk.
Writing has completely fallen by the wayside, and my podcast may soon be dropped off of iTunes entirely, when they decide I must no longer be interested in telling the extraordinary stories of ordinary people, due to the lack of activity.
My creative pursuits have not been pursuits at all. My creativity feels a bit like the friend in high school that you ignore for a while, and when you go back and try and hang out with them, you find out they are busy with someone else, who is also cooler than you are. Whenever I try to call on my creativity, it’s not there. So I’ve quit calling lately, and just decided I’m too tired, or too busy, or too funky to try and be creative.
And this may be the biggest culprit of the funk for me right now.
I don’t know that I like all of the articles that rail against falling into the “trap” of a “normal” life, or talking about how we should “always” be improving or striving or moving forward. I’ve probably written some of those things myself. There are lots of people who are perfectly happy with their “normal” lives, and neither me nor the “thought leader” (you should always be wary of someone who crowns themself a thought leader, no matter how many followers they have) on medium or “personal growth expert” should tell you that you should never be satisfied with your life.
So, this is not an article encouraging anyone to make sure they are doing more, more, more or telling you that you should be 10xing your livfe. However, we should be careful not to fall into the funk and stay there. It makes us do things that are out of character. It makes us lose our temper more quickly and more harshly with people we care about. It makes us crawl deeper into the funk and decide that we should just lay there for awhile and hide, and hope that it passes on it’s own.
For most people, I think, it does. Eventually the ebbs and flows of life ebb and flow us out of the funk and take us on to the next ebb or flow.
There are certainly very real instances when people can carry the funk with them for extended periods of time or who have to learn to live with the funk. I’ve struggled with depression in the past, and while I haven’t had an “official” diagnosis, I do believe the funk, as I call it, is something I have to be aware of that can creep in and take over if I’m not careful.
This is certainly not intended to be a claim that I know the cure for depression. However, this strategy is something that has worked for me both in the heavy funk and the lighter, ebb and flow funk. We need to keep moving. We need to stay active.
However so slowly, we need to keep moving towards the things that are important to us. It’s obviously hard when you are busy or tired. Even more so when you are depressed and nothing feels important or meaningful.
But finding time, minutes even, to do something that brings a measure of energy, or joy, or confidence is critically important.
When you find yourself in the funk, you don’t need to get the creative juices flowing you just need a drop, a taste, a little morsel to remind you of that feeling you have forgotten or neglected. So, it’s important that we keep moving towards things that are important. Again, this isn’t a conquer yourself and conquer the world piece. Important doesn’t have to be big. Important for me is reading, writing, coaching, podcasting — creating.
Whatever it is for you, no matter how small it may seem, whatever the thing is that brings you some energy, that is edifying, you’ve got to find the time to get a little taste, while you work towards or wait for the time that you can sit down for the full meal. Importance, in this instance, is certainly self-defined. Yours might be a quiet morning coffee, or a walk of gratitude. Something important for you might seem simple and minuscule to someone else. That’s okay.
It’s not their thing, it’s yours.
Maybe yours is a big project, goal, or dream you have. And for you, it’s important that you do something that moves you toward that. Having consistency around the things that are important to us — family, creativity, exercise, morning quiet time, etc., — is where we will get our fill, keep our energy levels up and help fight off the funk.
There is an important distinction that should be made between constancy and consistency. Often times when the gurus write about this, they write in terms of constancy, though they may not use the word specifically. Some say that we should always be striving, always be growing, everyday be blanking…
Always is constant.
Consistent means that it’s a part of our routine, that we stick with it, that we do it with some amount of regularity, and that we don’t let time go too far without engaging with it. I think we deserve to give ourselves a little grace here. Don’t beat yourself up if you are not constantly, or always, doing the thing.
Just work towards consistency.
Keep doing, keep moving, keep going, towards things that are important to you. Not in a “drive yourself into the ground, constant striving” kind of way. But in a, “This is important to me, so I’ll make time for it” kind of way.
Even just a little bit.
We want to continue to take action because action breeds confidence, it brings energy, and it’s the place from which we learn. You don’t have to run, or strive, or conquer. Not right now. Just remember what is important, and keep moving towards those things.
I’m pulling for you, Bryan
I encourage others through teaching, coaching, and writing. If you want to learn more about me, or follow along, check me out here. You can listen to my podcast here. Check out my book, Be Kind, It Might Be Their Birthday, here.