Being your own anchor

I’ve spent much of the past few weeks feeling in desperate need of roots, or of grounding. It’s a feeling I’ve felt before, in all kinds of contexts – that feeling that the ground beneath your feet isn’t very solid, and you’re not sure what your place is, but it’s felt somehow different this time.

I’ve found it difficult to work through, because it feels in complete conflict with how happy I am at the moment. And then I realised that that’s exactly the problem; I *love* my life – and I’m terrified of it changing. And so much of it can change so quickly – I live in a rented room, I’m in a fixed term job, my friends are all at the age where marriages and children and other Big Life Stuff turns decades-old-friendships on their heads. I live in a city made up of lots of little cities, where I rarely go the same place twice. The political climate we’re in at the moment, and the massive changes we’re about to go through as a country mean I have no idea how the world will look in five or ten years’ time, let alone what my place in it will be. It’s telling that the bit of my life that I don’t like – the permanent state of singleness – is one of the things that contributes most to me feel without an anchor as everything else is shifting around me.

I can’t change a lot of those things. I can’t afford to buy a place of my own. I can’t turn my job into a permanent one, and I have so much to learn and so much opportunity in it that the instability is worth it. More than six years of constant dating has proven there’s little more I can do about finding a relationship – that will just happen, or not happen, in its own time. Brexit will happen. My friends’ lives changing will happen. My need for excitement and adventure and new things means that I won’t give up living in a big city for the familiarity of a small town for a long while yet.

But I can start to put down some roots, and be my own stability. Today is the first day I’ve taken my laptop out so that I can write, to a café round the corner that I’ve wanted to try ever since I moved here. I’ve had lunch and spoken to the people working here and some other people on their laptops and I’m already feeling more ‘connected’ than I have on a Sunday on my own for ages. I intend to make it a habit, to give myself a place other than home and work and the gym to go to regularly – where I can feel that familiarity and belonging that I’m missing when I’m on my own.

I talked to my yoga teacher about it and she went through an amazing series of ‘grounding’ poses with me, to connect to yourself and to the earth. I’m putting some of them into my (almost) daily practice, and even those few moments of feeling totally grounded in the day makes such a difference. I’m trying to develop rituals to settle my mind before it gets the chance to run off in unlikely directions.

And I can react to situations as they come. I can move, I can travel, I can retrain. My lack of permanency in anything puts me in a fortunate position – I could drop everything tomorrow and work abroad, if I wanted to. I’m not trapped by anything, and I need to remind myself more often how much I value that. And I can still be a part of people’s new lives – a change doesn’t mean abandoning everything that’s gone before. You just have to welcome the growth in people’s lives, rather than assuming that their new thing will take up the space you currently occupy.

Different isn’t necessarily worse; it’s just different. And despite what my brain will sometimes have me think – that’s ok.

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