We’re both misfits.
I was listening to my best (virtual) friend, Brene Brown last week on a walk, the walk I spent a week working myself up to even taking because my body needs some exercise but my brain and motivation are in an internal tug-o-war about needs and wants, when Brene said this “We are, right now in the midst of a once in a lifetime, once in a generation opportunity to rethink the way we work.”
And I was like YAAAAAAAAAAS.
But as I listened to the rest of her conversation with Scott Sonenshein (“Why We’ll Never Be The Same Again and Why It’s Time to Talk About It”), I was left feeling…listless, disconnected…lonely and it really bothered me. It wasn’t until later in the day that I recognized the dissonance.
As people are returning to work in offices with their colleagues with very clear boundaries of what’s expected in their days, it just reminds me how different my daily life as a mom and a solopreneur looked and how there doesn’t feel like a “normal” to return to. I’ve just been continuously evolving and adjusting to the needs of my family and my circumstances and as such, there’s no “return” to even speak of, there’s just a life keeps going vibe.
This is coming off the heels of our kids wrapping up what feels like their first “normal” school year in what feels like FOREVER and summer break coming faster than I can prepare for it and I’m capital O, Overwhelmed.
Do you know the bright colored inflatable wacky tube man you often see outside car dealerships just flapping in the wind, bending over half way and then popping right back up, arms flying and goofball grin painted on it’s face? You know the one, as the fan blows through the tube, it looks almost like it’s dancing but really it’s more like it’s flailing around at the whim of the air compressor it’s attached to with the counterbalance of the outside wind coming at it or not?
That’s how I’ve been feeling these last two years.
Like the wacky tube man…
Doing a dance, moving as the wind blows but also in accordance with the internal pressure, bending in half but not snapping, quick to bounce back up with a smile, all the while flailing and flapping through the day just to power down when the sun sets and rise again to do it all again the next day. Going with the flow used to feel like a noble skill, now it feels dizzying and disorienting.
And here’s the thing, the podcast is awesome and shares fantastic ideas and concepts about how to proceed in this new post pandemic, in person at the office work life BUT I don’t have a work team, I have no office to go back to and my work life looks very different than that. I’m going it largely alone these days and that leaves me looking in from the outside wondering what I’m doing and if I’m even doing it “right” anymore.
So while Brene and Scott were talking about how important it is to come to the table literally in collaboration, evaluation and teamwork in person to reconnect what we lost over two years of zoom meetings, I’m wondering what that would even feel like to make a creative decision outside my own brain with another human being, let alone seeing someone, in person, with the express intention of work.
The reality is, I love my life for the most part. I love being a mom. I really enjoy working with my clients, keynote speeches are my JAM and a writing session can fill my SOUL. But when it comes to sitting at the table to get my creative juices flowing or even making decisions, pivoting or growing into what I’m doing next, it’s just me. My husband is a great dad but he’s also a phenomenal force to be reckoned with at work and that takes him out of town for more weeks than not and he never stopped working during the pandemic. In some ways his job required even more of him in person. So while he’s juggling this new normal in the workforce, I’m juggling what that means for the four kids who still live at home, touching base with the adult kids doing their own thing and managing my creative endeavors solo most of the time.
And what I know for sure, is that I’m never the only misfit. No matter how tempting it is to believe no one understands my particular situation or that I’m somehow so special I’m a freaking lone unicorn in the universe, it’s simply not true. I am not alone. And that means neither are you.
So I’m curious today and I would love to hear back from you if you’re up for sharing in the comments or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you don’t want to share publicly.
Does this resonate with you at all?
Are you feeling lonely or uncertain about how to proceed in this next version of a new normal even though your days aren’t filled with client lunches and meetings in the conference room?
Do you ever miss the hum of working in a room with human beings who don’t call you mom or sweetheart?
Do you ever feel like maybe you’re not doing it right because there’s not a clear answer to how this is supposed to be done?
Because if you have any yeses…you’re not alone.
We’re both misfits and that’s ok.
There are a lot of us out here.
We’ll never be the same again, either and perhaps it’s time we talk about it, too.
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