The Monday Muse: Now What?

Good evening, Cactus Cult! Welcome back! Today I’d like to use the muse to tackle one of the most frequently recurring questions I have as an artist/writer/performer (hell, as a human being): “Now what?”

These two little words have successfully oppressed my energy, confidence, and mood on numerous occasions and I am certain I’m not alone in this. Everything from closing a show to finishing a series of particularly engaging books (looking at you, Harry Potter) has at one point or another left me with that sad, empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. There’s something inherently disheartening about the question too, because it’s connotation is utterly negative and somehow unavoidable.

I am currently in a “now what?” slump and all the comfort I can draw is in the fact that I’ve asked the question so many times before. It can only linger for so long, you see… But today I resolved that I would like to avoid it altogether because it really does a number on my emotions.

So. I got to thinking… how could we – as people suffering from “phantom book syndrome” or “friendship separation anxiety” – reimagine the depressingly open-ended, pessimistic tone that is invariably associated with “now what”? How can we take endings in stride and look toward the future without those two words chasing us down and holding us back? Could we change this turn of phrase and give it a positive spin? Of course we can!

In the midst of my raging battle against “now” and “what” the optimistic side of my brain turned itself on, reminding me yet again of the frequency with which I ask this silly, buzz-kill of a question. Obviously, I will find and partake in new adventures, travel to new places, and be afforded new opportunities. It happens without fail. That’s what life is. Sure it ebbs and flows, but if we sit around playing “what now” won’t it take longer for the next big thing to come along? What if we start opening ourselves up to that inevitable possibility that something else is out there to provide happiness, intrigue, or inspiration? All we need is a new question. A question that pushes us forward, assuming that there is a next step. So take all your doubts and shamelessly murder them with a new question. Stop asking “now what?” and start asking “what’s next?”.

So what’s next for you, readers? The world is your oyster, after all. If you can recognize that, you can do anything.

See you Friday for booze and books!
Until next time,
-A

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