Sometimes I just have to start writing. I hit the keys on the keyboard and hope that some words come out. I normally have some kind of plan for my weekly musing but today I arrived blank. Not necessarily a bad thing, in fact in some ways I feel energised by it. I have absolutely no idea where this blog will end up. The unknown destination or outcome will be a surprise to you and me both.

This sensation of not knowing what's next is pretty much the default mode for a freelancer. Not just a graphic design freelancer, but anyone who goes from project to project, gig to gig as a gun for hire. Musicians, actors, engineers, consultants… Anyone who is self employed or runs a small business will appreciate that feeling of not knowing what's next.

It really isn’t for the faint hearted or anyone who requires a regular paycheck to maintain their sanity. I like to think of it as riding a roller coaster. Sometimes you are peaking at the top of the bend then a few days/weeks/months later you're asking yourself if you’re any good and perhaps you’ve chosen the wrong industry after all.

It takes a certain type of mindset to be able to succeed and fail in such short succession. After lamenting on this very topic during the week with a buddy we decided that it ultimately comes down to an unwavering trust in the universe. It sounds ominous leaving your fate in the hands of something that is about 10 billion light years in diameter, but then again maybe that’s a good thing. If you're going to put your faith in anything, perhaps your odds are better when you bet on the biggest thing that’s ever existed.

Putting your trust in the universe is expecting that there will be something else around the next bend in the roller coaster. There is no guarantee that what lies ahead will be good or bad but it will be something. This can scare a lot of people and I can appreciate that. I have lots of smart, creative and intelligent friends that have impressive plans built on certainty who have fulfilling careers working in the same jobs for 5 - 10 - 15 years. They work just as hard as the next person but their rollercoaster is more like a scenic train ride (and I mean not disrespect by this - Trains are awesome). It's stable, solid, consistent and hopefully, picturisic. 

I envy the scenic route sometimes. Normally when I’m at the bottom of a bend and only have a couple of hundred bucks left in my bank account. From the surface, their stability appears to foster that certainty that I so desperately crave when I’m dipping close to the line. It takes lots of energy and self-confidence to push through the ‘slow’ times.

The benefit of grazing the ground and experiencing genuine fear about where your next paycheck is coming from… there aren’t many, but there are some… is the enforced scaling back of spending while maintaining an enriched life - especially with a young family. When you have to make do with what you have it makes you resourceful, thoughtful and appreciate more profound things like having your health, your community and an electric blanket in your bed. 

No one wants to exist in this space for long but close encounters keep you focused on goals that money can’t buy. These are normally the most meaningful ones like spending time with your family and friends, learning, listening, playing… As a family we’ve started to appreciate the bringing in of resources rather than resenting and panicking during the slow times. We take it as an opportunity to scale back and reconnect. We also knowingly have the universe on our side. 

Matt's favourite saying is “I told you we’d be right babe” after we've been on some kind of 10 star, world most dangerous roller coaster ride (which is what life feels like right now). Matt's faith in the universe (and himself) is impressive and more unwavering than most. The most annoying thing is that he’s right - the universe does deliver. Sometimes it comes in some weird and unexpected ways and sometimes it makes total sense and is simply the next step in a process that you’ve been working towards the whole time.

The most exciting thing about the ‘rollercoaster life’ is when you hit the highs - when the expected or unexpected success happens. Because you know the lows, the highs are so much higher. We try to celebrate all the wins in our house - no matter how small. This lifestyle fosters gratitude. It also encourages opportunity.

When you put your trust in the universe you’re ultimately saying ‘yes’ to the unknown. This mindset alone can change the type of life you live, everything is either good news or a good story. I like to tell stories and choosing to live our lives on a 10 star roller coaster has given us some of the best (and worst) stories I’ve ever heard. At this point it is more about making sure that everyone is buckled in, hands are inside the vehicle and there are a few sick bags in the seat in front. The best we can do now is enjoy the ride and see what the universe has in store for us.

Video of the week
The Toothpaste Theory
Podcast of the week
Creative Confidence Podcast: Data and Storytelling: Justin Massa
Font of the week
Euclid: Font of the week by Swiss Typefaces

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