Buying a house, getting another ready to sell, and preparing to move are enough to induce motion sickness, especially when they come up on short notice. Meanwhile the world keeps spinning. Cars, bodies, and relationships need maintenance. Serious ailments plague friends and family members. Some current events are too big to ignore.
A sailors’ trick for preventing seasickness is to look at the horizon. Amid high winds and high waves, the horizon is the only thing that doesn’t move.
For organizational activity, whether business or volunteer, this means keeping an eye on the mission. The faster the changes or the hotter the conflict, the more vital it is to remember the organization’s underlying reason to exist.
The same holds in rocky personal times. What is your mission at this phase of your life? Art, self-knowledge, kindness, discovery, service to a cause? Not your short-term objectives (they’re probably what’s rocking) but the steady purpose behind them. Your mission may not stay constant from decade to decade, but its constancy from week to week can hold the seasickness at bay.
This week I’m joining a class related to my current writing. I’m five chapters into the first draft of a late medieval mystery. Who has time to take a class or write a book in the middle of packing to move house? Personally, I don’t have time not to. It keeps my eye on the horizon.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.