Embrace the Blank Page.
Each night we go to sleep with different thoughts running through our heads.
Sometimes, we look back on the day with contentment and joy. Other times, we stew and fret over things not done or words that were said. Mostly, it is a blend of both; some high points, some low points, and some okay points.
Regardless of how my day went, as I fall asleep, I remind myself that the sun will rise and a new day, a blank page, awaits. Knowing I have another opportunity to fill that page anew takes the sting out of even the not-so-great days.
We all know we only have the present moment. Regardless of how fantastic or dreadful the previous day was, we cannot go back and relive it or change a thing. It will remain in the past forever. And, regardless of how wonderful (or awful) you believe the future to be, it is nothing more than your imagination.
We only have now, and now stretches ahead as a blank page.
Even if it’s 10am, and your calendar shows a jam-packed day ahead, we have no exact idea how each of those events will play out.
Recently a dear friend was let go from a job she had held for decades. It came as a blow, and I wrote to her wishing her all the best with the “new chapter” that lay ahead. Then, later, I wanted to revise my words. A new chapter? Doesn’t this imply the continuation of the same book?
Was what lay ahead for her the first blank page of the next chapter, or was it a whole new book?
She is an incredibly strong person who has weathered some terrible storms, and I know she will also ride out this one, but again, it made me think.
Even if you end up in a place you never wanted to be, you have the option to start again and figure out a better ending. The blank book awaits.
Then there are the people who don’t have a change thrust upon them and live unhappily in a state of “stuckness.” They may be stuck in a relationship, a job, even a house or town, but it is so integral to keeping their life ticking over they feel they have no choice but to stick it out.
The job is repetitive or stressful or just plain boring, but it pays well, so they feel they cannot simply walk away. Their house is not working for their family’s needs, but all their friends are close, so they think they cannot simply walk away.
They are so stuck that even when they do turn to a blank page, it can look exactly like the page before.
However, our societies are changing so quickly that many of the old limits or constraints no longer exist—the blank page is even bigger!
Technology—and yes, the pandemic—drove change that allowed (or forced) people to reject the old stereotypes and create the work life, home life, and even social group they desired.
None of this is easy. I speak from experience when I say that making huge changes is stressful and scary. No one hands you a guarantee that your change in direction will be a success; only you can determine that. But what I also know is that embracing the blank page is empowering. Surely, taking your fate into your hands and forging your chosen path forward is better than living the rinse-and-repeat cycle.
Tomorrow, when your alarm goes off, pause and embrace the blank page. Stay in bed a few seconds longer, stretch, smile, and think how you want to live out that day.
Then, before your workday begins, do one thing that brings you joy—even if it is only for a few minutes. Walk around your garden, drink your coffee without scrolling through your phone or listen to a three-minute guided meditation.
Remind yourself that you hold the pen. Embrace that blank page.