Enjoy the Suspense

007suspenseOne of the greatest challenges of being a freelancer is uncertainty. Uncertainty of whether you should accept one job or wait for another; of whether you will make enough to get by next month; of whether you are doing the right thing or just wasting time.

Just like when reading an exciting book, you might be tempted to skip a few chapters now and then. It would be practical to know what will happen a few months or years from now. You want to make the right decisions. You want to be prepared. So you make plans for different outcomes. You daydream. You worry.

Of course, you can never know exactly what will happen. In fact, you have no idea what the industry will look like, what your clients will want or even if this is what you will be doing in a few years from now.

If you skip words or lines or pages in a book, you will lose track of what you were reading. Knowing what will happen takes away from your reading experience, so usually you just keep reading. If the book is good enough, you will make sure not to skip a single word. You will enjoy the suspense, knowing that you will find out soon enough.

So why is it so hard to remember this when it comes to our lives? There is no harm in dreaming, but constantly skipping ahead to an imaginary future takes away from our living experience. We lose track of the present. We forget about the only thing we can actually control: what we are doing right now.

In many of my favourite novel scenes, nothing extraordinary happens. There is just something about the way the scene is written that keeps me hooked to the page, wanting it to last forever. On the other hand, a poorly written scene would not keep me reading even if it were brimming with suspense. It is all in the quality of the writing.

Each scene of your life can be magical or pointless depending on how you choose to live it. This scene, these words, this moment, is all you have. You can waste it, lost in another future, or you can live it well and make sure it is a moment worth remembering.

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