I think I have global support when I say that 2020 has been one of the most communally challenging years most of us have ever experienced.
The first half of 2020 was, hands-down, the most difficult period I’ve ever trudged through. In the first week of January, I started in a new position at work. The role of Travel Wrangler hadn’t existed before I claimed it on my freshly ordered business cards. I was excited for the opportunity to put the knowledge I’ve gained through my years of travel to good use for my colleagues and the company. It seemed as soon as I found my footing, got to a point where my Impostor Syndrome wasn’t crippling me any more, global travel came to a red light.
Then came February, when I suffered whiplash from being rear-ended, while stopped at a traffic light. In Chicago, in March, I got horribly sick on the last business-related trip before the aforementioned travel stoppage. I’m 99% sure it was COVID-19, but securing a test was impossible that early on. A friend on my softball team, who was full of love and light, with the most incredible smile, took his life in April. Then we were in May, and my wife and I were 2 months into a self-imposed lockdown (Florida wasn’t really enforcing anything), and I was struggling without the social connection I so desperately desired. By June, I came to the realization that my marriage was in crisis.
I was in crisis.
Obviously, halting travel plans was the right decision. My history as a softball umpire taught me that: Safety First. But, shit. What was the company’s lone Travel Wrangler to do when the company’s not traveling?
June 18th is the date I decided to leave my marriage. September would have been my 14-year wedding anniversary. I was together with my wife for 16 years. That’s 40% of my life.
I faced the painful truth that I had no idea who I was. I had never taken the time to truly get to know me. Who I was, how I felt, what I wanted, was completely dependent on who others were, how they felt, and what they wanted.
A dear friend sent me a card with a poignant quote:
What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for? The year we needed. A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw – that it finally forces us to grow. A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us from our slumber. A year we finally accept the need for change. Declare the change! Work for change! Become the change! 2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather the most important year of them all.
From January to June, I woke up each day feeling the COVID pandemic pushed the pause button on life. Once we got past it, things would get back to “normal”. But, I wasn’t happy with my normal.
So, I changed things. I took my life and completely up-ended it. I committed to walking forward, one super scary step at a time, putting my full trust into the guiding hands of my therapist.
When I explained that I felt myself floundering, both personally and professionally, she gave me homework: make my Memory List. It’s been one of the best gifts I’ve ever received, and I can honestly say, that I’m excited for the rest of 2020, and beyond!