This time last year, I was hot off a coaching certification class, supporting coaching clients, in the final weeks leading up to a huge project deadline at my day job, mentoring a student director on a musical, in pre-production for my next stage play, making plans for my partner's upcoming birthday, and recovering from shingles (this is not a blog post about shingles).
I was expecting a pause in my schedule as pandemic numbers grew increasingly worrisome and closer to home. I was expecting 90 days of uncertainty. I had no idea how my world would change. None of us really, practically, understood the Experience that would become 2020.
And here we are, one year later. To say I've learned a lot about myself, my relationships, and my community would be a lame understatement. My life and my livelihood simply changed, full-stop. While I miss parts of the world from before, I'm anxious to see what's emerging: the old tactics are not going to apply in this newer world. Opportunities abound. We're all in the funknown now.
I'm feeling oddly reflective. With the privilege of hindsight I'm struck by those little things that hit me hardest over this last year; lessons I may not have otherwise experienced:
Those are the big three. Sure, I could talk about the exhilarating, terrifying experience of blowing up my day job to create the type of work life I wanted. I could extol the virtues of yoga pants and lounge bras; of not wearing high heels and makeup. Of protesting and Go Funding and learning and unlearning; of panic for the world and grief for the unnecessary loss of so many people. I'm sure you could, too.
But I'm curious: what has stuck with you? What lessons have you learned about yourself? What takeaways do you come back to when you reflect back on this year?
At its core, Dr. Sims offered a casual-but-huge takeaway about mitigating uncertainties at decision points: choose you. Yes, assess the benefits and the risks, the costs and consequences, but honor yourself. Those two simple words have stuck with me for seven months, at the front of my mind and on the tip of my tongue.
Of course I choose me, don't I? Sure. Yes. Mostly. Often. The more I thought about choosing myself, the more my certainty about actually doing it faltered:
A second list, choosing-for-me, bubbled up radiant moments when I let go of what I thought or imagined were exterior expectations and said yes to my instincts, my needs and my wants:
I spend gads of time with clients unpacking why they can't or shouldn't do things.
"They expect something else from me."
"What if I disappoint them."
"I don't want to seem selfish."
All valid, selfless reasons to avoid social discomfort. And when we talk about the cost of those decisions, I always, always think about a life on the high seas and ask, "what happens if you choose you?"
Give that a think.
Then give it a try.
Then let me know what that does for you.