Home Art Artists Life in Pause: How to Adapt and Reinvent Yourself When the World Changes
 

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Written by Ellen Palestrant

When you are used to a life that is constantly moving forward, it can be alarming to have to hit pause. Maybe you hit pause when you or a loved one loses their job, when life takes an unexpected turn, or when a global pandemic causes you to work remotely and social distance from your norm. There are countless reasons why someone’s life may have to pause. 

But while life as you know it may be on pause, the hobbies you love, the creativity that drives you, and your mental health do not have to pause as well. A pause in life presents an opportunity to be more than one thing, to explore different facets of ourselves, and to grow beyond what we once considered our limits. With all of life’s unpredictable changes, becoming more than one thing is the only way to get through. After all, what better time to reflect on your life than the present? 

When life is suddenly on pause, action can be the best medicine. View the pause as a positive change, giving you time to rewire yourself, rather than a negative change, and retiring old passions. This new period of pause in which we all find ourselves is time to experience and reflect on an ever-unfolding history, a time to take action, and a time to rewire and become more than one thing. 

What do we do? 
When you view a life pause as a positive experience, you have the opportunity to reshape the trajectory of your own life. This is a time to take on a new hobby, practice, and perfect a skill, get in touch with your creative side, or take time to focus on your mental health. Especially in a time in pause, what we do is who we are. So, who are you during this time? Or, in other words, what are you doing? How we choose to stay busy during a pause reflects who we truly are.

How do we go about it? 
During my personal life pause, I’ve been busy with many projects, especially working on my biography. When I create, I feel there is ongoing communication with my artwork. I tell it where to go, it tells me where to go. My tools become an extension of my own energy and lead me to create artwork. During times like this, I find it helpful to remember that one of the many wonders of being human is our ability to imagine. 

Feel comfortable with turning off your intellectual mind for a while and allowing yourself to be transported to other domains, other extensions of yourself. My starting point for creativity is a sense of wonder. Creating fantasy starts within you and is then amplified by your desire to explore your own, unique spheres of possibilities. 

How do we reinvent ourselves? 
Rewire, rather than retire. Take time in a pause to rewire your mind and soul and explore new creative endeavors. Don’t retire the old habits, rather rewire to strengthen your new self. Create a new “normal” during these life pauses because there may never be a time that the world goes back to “normal” as you previously knew it. Challenge yourself to continue growing and evolving, and become comfortable with being uncomfortable. YOU set the standard for yourself, not the status quo of the world. What impact do you want to make with this new normal? Whatever inspires you should be fuel for your rewire when life gets put on pause. 

Ever since I was a child, I have felt an anticipatory excitement before beginning something creative. Even today, my fingers still literally tingle before I start, and this sensation is usually accompanied by feelings of joy, expectation, and optimism. It would be hard for me to be severed from the creative process. Therefore, I will continue to imagine, paint, and write about fantastical, luminous, joyful worlds of brilliant colors even when life around me is paused. What action are you considering taking for the rest of the year during this life pause and beyond? How will you take a life pause and turn it into something beneficial? 

As my life is on pause and a new normal is being manifested, I am getting in touch with my creativity and have started writing again. I encourage you to find what inspires your soul and create a new normal for yourself. A pause does not mean a digression, rather a progression, whether it is small or large. Everyone is capable of using this time for good and setting a new standard for themselves.