36 Flavors and Counting...
We are no longer the same.
Every single one of us has changed over the course of the past two years, whether we realize it or not. With as much as has transpired in the past 26-30 months, none of us were exempt to being impacted in one way or another. No matter what flavor you prefer your psychological trauma in, this was a Baskin Robbins style buffet where at liberty to build your own just desserts from the vast selections, many of the population decided to go all in.
I’m willing to guess that it was highly likely that you ended up with a triple scoop serving featuring not just one but three flavors from any of the below varieties because why limit yourself to just one.
Stacking up your triggers nice and high, leaving that sugarcone somewhat useless–yes, perhaps you should have gone with the waffle cone instead as at the very least it may have protected your hands from the inevitable stickiness when your cup…ahem cone began to runneth over.
Perhaps your flavors of choice included social justice issues, gun violence, gender or race inequality, female reproductive rights, modern day war, stock market fluctuations, inflation and rising gas and grocery prices, the list of delectable options…endless. You couldn’t forget the toppings with work/life balance, the new hybrid lifestyle, loss of loved ones or personal relationships all serving as the sprinkles and whipped cream–because if you’re going to indulge why not an ice cream sundae. Lastly, our own personal evolutions and understanding of ourselves and what we do and don’t want served as a cherry on top.
There really isn’t a single person within my professional and personal circles that has escaped this chapter of world history unscathed.
I kept myself busy throughout most of the pandemic via the projects that we took on via Consciously Studio, taking other entities fully into the digital world, Between working on pandemic related causes in aide of local and global communities, activating the youth vote further for the 2020 election, helping to launch and lead the largest fund for the backstage live music touring industry on a global scale and many other undertakings. So, I guess instead of stacking my own ice cream cone, I invested in the whole ice cream shop–opting to become the owner of all of the flavors instead of just selecting a few to enjoy on a cone.
I didn’t consume the ice cream, but instead I tried to keep it all from melting.
All the while still driving companies and projects forward. I could list out everything that I touched and gave sweat equity to but the list is quite exhaustive.
This was not without suffering my own repercussions. By the end of 2021 I was facing a sort of burnout and knew that I needed a timeout. However, since the world doesn’t stop and although I hadn’t stopped while much of the world fell apart, the world appeared to awaken a bit more from its slumber at a time when the only thing I wanted to see was my bed–my turn to sleep. Literally.
As certain health issues (nothing serious, I promise) started to surface, I realized that I did need to take a longer time-out than necessary from adding anything in addition to my plate whether that was creative projects, socializing, personal relationships, etc. All of it would have to be put on hold for a bit longer as I needed to solely focus on myself so that I could bring to fruition what I left on hold at some later point this year.
While my professional commitments continued to need me in various capacities, I knew that I’d have to find other ways to secure that much needed respite and so I re-organized my communications with the world. Everyone who was not a close friend, member of my family, or a professional emergency got ushered into WhatsApp, Signal, Discord, Slack, Teams, and other messaging platforms that we all now are all too familiar with. In person, I only spent time with some of my closest friends, I’ve always been quite selective with whom I give my time to as it was the currency I had the least of over the past decade plus. However, I took it to another level and really made myself available to very few. I turned down new projects and worked hard to stifle my own creativity to avoid starting any new ones of my own.
I was always a terrible napper, but I can honestly say that I’ve more than mastered that as I think I’ve gotten enough sleep to last me likely the rest of 2022. Yet, in this period of hibernation and taking it easier, I probably still manage to get more done than the average person as lessening my load always leaves me with a load that resembles that of a more “normal” human.
I gave myself a goal of June/now to remain in flight mode. Still managing what was already on my plate, but not yet adding more to it.
To put it mildly, it was challenging.
As someone who gets so many ideas constantly and am sought out professionally in part for that and my creative, resourceful approaches to what I do not starting anything new and not exercising the creative muscles that for so long have been my driving force was like asking me to stop breathing air. I joked recently that it was like a workaholic’s rehab program that I checked myself into (not to make light of anyone truly suffering from anything requiring rehabilitation).
But alas, I know a busy and productive second half of 2022 awaits and that I am needed in various areas and can no longer afford to just keep the engine idling (especially not with the current gas prices) and that is why I write this, the first post in a long time (as even this type of writing was something I took off my list of to-dos) as we are all needed. Whether your cause impacts the world on a global scale, on a local scale, or even just in your own personal life– we are all needed at this moment in time.
However, as we’ve all learned this is a marathon and not a sprint.
You must ensure that you aren’t helping others or driving things forward at the expense of your own physical or mental health nor continuously running on fumes or adrenaline as eventually that gas tank ends up on “e.” Remember that the world does not rest on your shoulders, and while as a collective we have all contributed to some of the largest problems that we face whether passively, knowingly, purposely, or perhaps just by association this does not mean that it is up to each of us to create change independently. Know your limits and also know that there will always be another who you can hand the baton off to when you need to. There is never any shame in scaling back what you manage on a daily basis. As much as we’d all like to be (and some come close), we aren’t really as superhuman as we sometimes believe we might be.
Remember that as much TLC as you might give to others, you also need to take the time to shower yourself with some of it guilt-free from time-to-time.
I hope that by my sharing this with you, that you give yourself the permission that you never needed in the first place to do what feels good in your own life and to take what you need, so long as it impacts you in a positive way and doesn't take away from or hurt others.