As we head into June of 2021, which is so hard to believe, I’ve spent the past few months thinking about 2020. Here are some of those thoughts:
December 31, 2019- “2020 is going to be my year!” I’m sure many uttered those words as the clock struck midnight. I was fresh off the success of the inaugural DisruptHR event and ahead of the game planning the next one. My business was gaining momentum, I had a few speaking engagements lined up and was more convinced than ever that I made the right decision on that surprising day in 2017. There was excitement as we collectively prepared to enter a new decade. I thought to myself; this wasn’t only going to be my year, this decade was going to be an amazing one! However, by mid-February/early-March, the wheels on the train came to a screeching halt as the pandemic started to spread across the U.S.
During the early days when businesses were moving toward a “work from home” plan, my day-to-day did not change. As luck would have it (she sarcastically said), I was still working a part-time job in an essential industry. It’s nowhere near as heroic as healthcare but I continued working during the pandemic 25 hours a week. While so many people were setting up home offices, I was not.
As two weeks turned into 2 months and uncertainty growing of when “normal” would return, there were so many voices: “stay the course”, “act as if”, “keep moving forward so that when this is over you won’t have fallen to the back of the pack”, “if you don’t succeed even during this time, it’s your fault not the pandemics”. And so I kept moving. I Zoomed, I networked and then I Zoomed some more.
Then June came.
My birthday was not going to be as planned. I was not going to enter the “youth of old age” with a fabulous party. Instead I sat on the porch with my sister and 2 best friends and a bottle of bubbly. Around the same time, it hit me. I was tired. I was tired of spending most days worrying about getting a virus and/or bringing one home. I was tired of hearing “new normal”. I was disappointed about cancellations and lost opportunities. I didn’t want to keep up with other people’s “shoulds”, and I definitely no longer cared to Zoom. I was sitting on Mazlow’s 2nd tier while others were self-actualizing and it was exhausting. And so I made a choice. I stepped away from social media. I didn’t join a virtual anything unless absolutely necessary. I decided to not stay the course. I decided to stop.
My brother came back to the area as he had been living in NYC. We created a bubble with our family. We had “Sunday Funday’; grilling and eating dinner outside. I spent time reading on the porch with my sweet pup who was quietly getting older. I swam…a lot! We spent late Summer/early Fall around our newly purchased fire pit. We came up with an idea about how we could start a s’mores company and dreamt up all sorts of various concoctions and laughed about it over glasses of wine.
And I sat with my thoughts.
When I moved home to start my own business, I thought I wanted to replicate what I had been doing in Boston and to some extent I did and still do. However, my work experience there wasn’t always the most challenging and/or fulfilling. I recognized that my lack of interest in what I was offering impacted how I approached and marketed my business. If I wasn’t excited why would anyone else be? So I came up with a plan, I figured out what really made me light up and what did I want to share and add to the world. I (finally) finished revamping my website. I mapped out where I wanted to be in business and life.
I know it’s cliche but “life is short” and the years seem to get shorter the older you get. The lens at which I made decisions got more focused. I’ve never really been one to “follow the crowd”, and found I had little desire to start going that path. I reminded myself that getting caught up in other peoples “shoulds” is a recipe for disaster and being true to yourself is the best road to take.
2020 was a year with a lot of negativity and sadness, but like most things there was some good to balance it all out. I choose to focus on the good. I’m thankful that I was able to spend time with my family, specifically my brother. We haven’t lived in the same city for most of our adult lives so the 10 months he was here was an unexpected gift. I’m thankful that my loved ones were healthy throughout the year. I’m thankful for that PT job (never thought I’d say that) as it got me out of the house and into the world a little. And for my co-workers who made me laugh almost daily through some very stressful times.
I am thankful for Stan Phelps whose webinar back in Fall of 2020 (discussing his book, The Pink Goldfish) completely changed my “why” and the direction I wanted to go. I am thankful for Wolf & Heron’s Story Hours. I only attended a few but they were so fun and scary and interesting and helpful. If you ever get a chance, sign up! I am thankful I had the chance to pause in the middle of chaos.
2020 may not have been “my year” in the way I thought it would be but it was definitely “my year’ in the way I needed. Cheers to that and cheers to what lies ahead.