The {Re} Year

An emotional journey to resilience.

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A journey to resilience
A journey to resilience

My family started our New Year celebration reminiscing with gratitude of what 2019 brought us. We embraced each other like every New Year with the tradition of eating 12 grapes and making a wish for every single one.  As the first hour of the New Year was starting we hugged, laughed, danced, and simply took the moment in; the 4 of us rejoicing together and ready to conquer the world.

Our first “re” took place six days into 2020. While still on vacation, my husband had been given notice that his department was being downsized and his services, though useful, were no longer needed and he was being transitioned out.  Little did we know, this was going to be the first of many “re’s” this year.

Re-Assess is to look back, decipher, and plan ahead in considering or assessing again; especially while paying attention to new or different factors.  The loss of a job brings on about quick change, a lot of pain but it throws you into re-thinking mode fast.  One gets into saving mode, get out of pain mode and jump in into “pivot mode”. You mourn the loss of a job, re-assess next steps, re-visit your talents and reinvigorate your dreams. You go into re-calibration, which is an emotional and physical ordeal, but one that at some point we learn to manage and persevere.

Re-Imagine is to rethink and reinterpret.  We take for granted so many things. If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us is that we at different points of our solitude and social distancing have had to re-imagine our world and our new normal.  We were forced to drastically change not only our behavior but re-imagine our outlook and shift our mindset.  The range of emotions felt and experienced has been absolutely heartbreaking for some of us from losing a loved one to living in a world without them.  Every aspect of our lives has changed and now we find ourselves seldomly leaving our homes, working, eating, and living with our family. This period has caused us to reimagine how we genuinely conduct ourselves and how our lives are ordered. As hard as this pandemic continues to be for millions of people parents have had to re-create schools at home while single folks have had to re-create connections through a screen. Teachers are having to learn new ways of teaching and keeping the young engaged while workers are re-creating their “work from home” culture and space. Doctors and nurses are having to work doubles in an already crowded hospital as they look for reprieve and companies have had to re-visit safety and wellness plans to keep employees safe and engaged. In essence, we ALL have had to tap into our imagination to fight this pandemic and lean on each other. If there is a light at the end of the tunnel in all of this, it is that hopefully we are more aware than before and, more aligned with what truly matters in what brings us joy. It has reignited our purpose, rekindled relationships and brought an understanding that the home stretch is always the hardest and, that intention and meaning make the journey worthwhile.

Re-invest is to invest again or anew. This universal isolation has made us consider the reinvestment of precious assets of time and energy. With the sudden shutdown, we have been forced to slow down. We find ourselves rethinking our relationships, rekindling friendships, getting closer with some family members. We have had better and deeper dinner conversations while sitting together at home or alone via a zoom room. If anything, this time has forced us to look around and appreciate the little things in our lives, being grateful for the moments we have with those we love and truly focus our energy and time on what is of consequence. This is a finite opportunity that comes seldom and for some of us, once in a lifetime. My hope is that we use it wisely and choose to meet the moment with courage and grace.

Re-focus is to adjust on a new and different path. As Colby Yates describes in his song Slow Lane, we often found ourselves rising from our beds, hitting the floor running with a million things on our plates. We were so caught up in the hustle and bustle of careers, family life and just living that we forgot to take time for ourselves. Nine months ago, we barely had enough time to spare during the weekends. We were getting to Sunday nights exhausted to do it over again on Monday. There was no escape or so we thought. Our escapes looked different, running to the store, meeting someone for lunch or coffee, grabbing a bite to eat while on our commute. All the sudden, we were forced to stop, to focus on “us” as we no longer had a lack of “time” as an excuse. We stopped, the world stopped and though daunting, it has been refreshing. It is now time to clean our lens on life by revisiting our dreams, re-imagine our goals, re-examine where or with whom we placed our bets, re-surface our gifts and engage with our energy. We are now hopefully afforded the opportunity to re-focus on not only ourselves and our families but to what draws our value and meaning to our existence. The opportunity is here to slow down a little, clear the clutter and readjust our lens on what really brings a smile to our souls in a way of re-discovering and re-focusing on what anchors us, on who we are, and what has been there all along.

Re-define is to reformulate, reexamine, and reevaluate. The advent of spring break and the shutting down of society had a profound effect on my son. Coming home for spring break he was dealt with a breakup and the heartache that followed.  Only for it to be amplified by a string of events in which he would have preferred to be on, since he is a volunteer fireman apart from being a college student and AFROTC cadet. He was just beginning to feel comfortable in his journey as a student and contributor to society and, had to re-define it again. Not only did he have to re-define his space, his hours, his studies, his emotions but had to re-adjust his freedom and re-evaluate his peace of mind under the same boring house rules by re-focusing on what was important; his studies. He had to redefine his purpose but also his motivation to get things done. Being separated from his support system and isolated from friends back in school, his grades began to take an egregious decline. Through time however, he learned to lean in into his purpose to serve and dig deep on his intrinsic motivation so he could pull through this crisis. In some ways, we all share a similar story, we all have had to pull through. This pandemic has forced us to redefine who we are and how we go through life. We all continue to re-examine our environments, our lives, and our priorities. What seemed mundane now became important. What seemed a given, now we yearn. Re-defining and re-evaluating is arduous, a mental test we were not prepared for. An emotional charge and containment we are still sorting through, slowly trying to build but we will come out stronger and better because of it.

Re-adjust is something that occurred just 6 months ago. Having spent most of my career travelling by jumping from plane to plane, going from meeting to meeting, and forgetting time zones where I would eat late at night not even having time to think. All of this came to a screeching halt. Re-adjustments are never easy as they can be asphyxiating; forcing us to lean into discomfort. For me, it was taking inventory of my absences as a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and it was not pretty. I had a choice, beat myself up or choose to meet the moment. As a mom, what I saw as joy of spending quality time among family especially my children, my kids were only beginning to grasp the speed in which their world was changing. I had to be understanding as I listened beyond their words, create space as I watched for openings to input and be emotionally available on their time; not mine.  Patience has taken a different meaning, we all have had to learn to course correct daily as it takes a different tone each day. We continue to lean into courage to address certain subjects, mustering strength, grace, and space to have meaningful conversations. As foggy and blurry the road looks, in so many ways we have become nimbler doing the best we can with what we have.

Re-deposit is a way of deep reflection which to me is the most transcendent of words as it gives you the power to change the course of your life. Giving yourself time to re-deposit allows you to re-invest, re-discover, re-evaluate, and reflect so you can trigger action and transform. We can only act if we are aware and, we are only aware when we pause and reflect. How do we leverage this internal focus? How do we claim the energy shift that is taking place? How do we raise consciousness of our dusty goals and timeless dreams and, truly create change based on action of what is next? This is where intentional listening with compassion allows you to engage with the real you by asking and re-depositing time, faith, courage, knowledge, energy in the areas that will bring you joy.

This year can arguably be defined as both one of the best and worst year in recent history. The gift of time and deep reflection has tested and affected us exponentially. It has been a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and re-evaluation. This re-acquaintance with ourselves has and will continue to ignite the transformation to a better version of ourselves. Time is a gift. We each have the power to positively impact one-another so feed your perspective, deepen your purpose, be deliberate and share the magic where it matters. This Re year will come and go but, the resilient YOU is here to stay. Give yourself grace, exercise empathy, create your path-forward, meet the moment, embrace the process, and   lean into your own power, and give yourself permission to start exactly where you are.

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