For the last couple of years, I’ve used an app called 1SE. Many of you may be familiar with it and have used it yourselves. It helps me record my life, and my family’s, by requiring that I take a picture every day or, at a minimum, several photos every few days so that with a very low investment of effort I am constantly creating a photo journal.
Up until March 2020, because I traveled frequently, I always had lots of new subjects in lots of new places to photograph. Who can’t take pictures when they’re in a fresh, new locale?
That changed when I quarantined myself in March. Since then I have not traveled; have rarely left our home. It turns out that even in this one place there are lots of photo ops. I’ve taken pictures of many different flowers in different stages of bloom. I took pictures in early summer of the corn when it first started to sprout and now when it is almost ready to harvest, and at several growth points in between.
This is not something that I would have done in my pre-COVID schedule, my normal pattern of living. I would have missed most of it, being out on the road for work.
I've said on many occasions that one of my greatest fears in life is being stuck. I dread being in a situation where I can’t embrace change, can’t make progress. A situation where I feel powerless.
Physically, I've never been confined to such a small space for such a long time. Not ever in my life. Few of us have. But while I am stuck in some ways, I am also feeling unstuck in others.
The consistency of a routine and knowing from day-to-day that I will be in this same place has felt liberating. I’ve grown to know what to expect amidst all of the unexpectedness so many of us find ourselves in. This is allowing me to see some corners and crevices of my world that need attention. This time is also providing an opportunity to invest more of myself in house and garden (my first real experience with gardening, in fact) and I have grown to love home more than I ever have before. I believe we are at our best when we give priority to the people and things in our life that we value — we give our first fruits.
The constraint of small spaces has done that. I would have expected to feel stuck, but instead I have found that even in limited circumstances there is room to grow. There are ways to stretch the mind and self in limited space. Many of us—and I count myself among that number—have believed that in order to disrupt ourselves, we need to go to a new place or start a new job. We need space and change to get unstuck.
However, I’m finding that isn’t true.
You may notice a parallel with Darrell Rigby, our podcast guest this week. He is a friend of ours from Boston. Darrell has been with the same company for 42 years. A company man, as they say. A species that’s almost extinct.
And yet, he's been able to disrupt himself and pull his organization along with him. Because when we use our constraints to disrupt ourselves, others can too.
You can listen to the full episode with Darrell here: http://www.whitneyjohnson.com/darrell-rigby.
As always, thank you for being here!