I have three dogs, Sophie, Dusty and Rambo. Now this isn’t some stupid blog post created to show pictures of my stupid pets. Though I will show pictures of my stupid pets in a few paragraphs. Let me start again. I have three dogs, Sophie, Dusty and Rambo. They never panic. They bark furiously from the windows at the Fed-x man, landscapers, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the dogs next door, but they never panic.
I’ve watched them a lot. They react to stimuli sure, and they get very excited. But nearest I can tell, when they get used to a situation, they calm right down, forget about it and go about the business of sniffing each others butt’s and trying to drag off the counters things which may or may not be food. Not once have I seen them brood or worry about a situation.
If i’m a little late with dinner, they sit at attention, expectantly waiting. They don’t become consumed with thoughts of never eating again. They just wait. If I sleep in and don’t hear them scratching to go out, they may take care of business in the house, but they don’t worry that they’ll never see the backyard again.
Perhaps, it’s the size of their brain. Let’s face it, not big. Not prone to reason, just fight or flight. I believe it’s the reasoning mind that panics. A dog will just run. Humans too will run in certain situations, but are more likely to stand there, staring at the danger and thinking ahead to all the various possibilities of how it will ruin their life ten or twenty years down the road.
When it comes to my dogs and panic, The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a little different of course. In those cases I actually let the dogs out. They are in full flight. It’s interesting watching one Witness trying to run while pushing the other Witness’s wheelchair (there’s always one in a wheelchair) down my long gravel driveway, the wheels digging in, the dogs getting closer, the panic rising. The attendant Witness suddenly turning the chair around and using his friend as a human shield against the on coming pack of canine killing machines. Of course they don’t realize that with my dogs, the only goal they have is to bury their noses well into the crotch of a Jehovah’s Witness to get a whiff of God.
I’m kidding about all that of course, I would never sick my dogs on anyone (or would I?) I’m just trying to make a point here. If you don’t get that job or couple of jobs, if you are out of work for a month, don’t panic.
Stars explode, planets collide and free lancers sit around sometimes. It’s merely the natural flow of things. There is a beauty to working in the arts. For your vision and to be your own boss is freedom. But, when it’s slow, remember: the lack of work today does not preclude a lack of work tomorrow or next week or next month or next year.
You can fight that “I’m never going to work again” angst by re-focusing your energy in a more positive way. I’m not going to tell you to go make some calls or send some emails or start a personal development art project. I say that all the time and by now you know that productivity begets work. Instead, when the pangs of “I’m finished professionally” set in, I want you to do something simple: TRUST. Trust that you are not at the sum total of your profession. Trust that the work will come back around. Trust that your talent is your purpose, and purpose can’t be denied. Trust that just as stars explode and planets collide, freelancers go back to work.
I’m a big fan of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. For both of you who have never heard of this book series, movie, TV series, radio series, it is about a fictional Inter Galactic travel guide. According to Wikipedia: “DON’T PANIC (always upper-case) is a phrase written on the cover of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The novel explains that this was partly because the device “looked insanely complicated” to operate, and partly to keep intergalactic travelers from panicking. It is said that despite its many glaring (and occasionally fatal) inaccuracies, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy itself has outsold the Encyclopedia Galactica because it is slightly cheaper, and because it has the words “Don’t Panic” in large, friendly letters on the cover.“
I have to agree. See it doesn’t matter whether you are a freelancer, one of my dogs, a Jehovah’s Witness or an intergalactic traveler. When you panic, you spend a lot of brain power making up imaginary disasters, when in fact you could be using your brain power to be productive and find some solutions. But, to keep from panicking you have to TRUST. So, trust me, it will all be fine. At the very least, I won’t sick my dogs on you.