Breathe Issue 35

Uncertainty is a challenging beast. Caught in its grip, it can paralyse progress and destroy dreams. Sometimes, its causes are external and beyond one’s personal control. Over the past few months, communities worldwide have found themselves in a holding pattern, waiting for the day when they will once more be allowed to embrace loved ones, to enjoy unfettered access to the arts, to return to shared pastimes and projects. 

Even in a more predictable world, however, periods of enforced limbo or uncertainty punctuate life. Think of the days and weeks that follow a job interview, exams or a medical check-up. But what about those times when hesitation is more emotionally rooted? What happens when the decision to put life on hold, or, at least, to place to one side any dissatisfaction or doubt, comes from within? 

In the face of overwhelming everyday challenges or a surplus of self-doubt, a hiatus from change and the pursuit of goals can be an essential measure to sustain physical and mental health. And many, of course, are at their most content with routine, structure and familiarity. 

Sometimes, though, aspirations are left to drift in the hope that someone or something in the future will have all the answers and deliver the dream, be that a cottage by the sea, a small business or a loving and supportive relationship. But waiting for tomorrow can be both exhausting and self-limiting. Real life, with all its ups and downs, is the one playing out today. It will rarely be perfect, but it doesn’t have to be static. Uncertainty is tough, but it doesn’t have to rule out change – and small adjustments now could lead to a more fulfilling future.