Fret: to worry, be anxious, feel uneasy, be distressed, be upset, a state of anxiety or worry

Twenty-five days ago I left my full-time job. These past weeks have felt foreign in a way that seems both normal and absolutely surreal. When I worked a full (overfull, really) schedule, there was always that escapist part of my mind that would dream of the “what if.” What if something suddenly provided me all my time back, free and clear? What if I were to suddenly fall ill, and be unable to work for some span of time? What would my days look like? Would I fritter and fuss, ultimately wasting the time given? Would I launch headlong into some project, producing on a new scale with this new quantity of time? Would I endeavor to watch every single show known to mankind, striving to exhaust the catalog of online television available?

All are imminently possible. (Hello, Netflix!)

In reality, I find myself doing some combination of the three, interspersed with a continuous thread of fretting. Our house is on the market, which provides a consistent, sporadic need to clean all the things, again, in preparation for a house showing. While it’s work important to the process of selling the home, it serves little to no larger purpose. Some days find me with the high and holy goal of watching all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, just so I can put all the puzzle pieces together. Me, the couch, and the calicos.

Alongside this lighter fare, I take time to look for what’s next, whether that be full-time work or some other endeavor. This work is less comfortable, more vulnerable. Coming to the world with your personal bag of skills and experiences on display is nerve-wracking in the best of times. Entering that arena when you are adrift of the normal tethers of job and longevity to a location are a whole different matter. I try each day to choose bravery and authenticity; some days are very successful, others are not. I try to give grace at every turn. Fret less, self.

This blog is a space where I dip my toes into the water of writing-as-more-than-hobby. It’s my sandbox. Today’s writing prompt was the word “fret.” But fret means more than the emotional version that so many are familiar with. Fret can also be a noun.

On a guitar, there are strips of metal along the neck of the instrument at very specific intervals: frets. These frets provide fixed points to apply pressure to a string, allowing the player to sound a note higher than the tone produced by the open string. On an infinite span of possibilities, frets provide structure; frets make the music happen.

I believe in the power of choice, as it relates to both life circumstances and mental perspective. Today, I will choose to see my current experience as the second kind of fret. Life applied pressure to a specific point on my string, and my experience sounded a different note than before. The key has changed, and the way forward is open with new possibilities, some deep and meaningful, some truly trivial. From here, the possibilities are endless.


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