How much thought are you giving these days about the composition of the next twelve months for you?
What will you add back?
- Restaurant dining?
- Going to the office?
- Get togethers with friends?
- Get togethers with family?
And how much of that will be what you want to do vs. what you "have" to do.
The time to create the life you want to live is now.
To avoid bouncing around and letting outside forces shape your life, my recommendation is to empower yourself to design your life to come. Set up explicit criteria for how you'll decide what and who comes back into your life. (Ex.: "My promise to myself is to remember I don't owe anyone an interaction").
(I can't help but find this process similar to testing for food allergies. Clear out everything and add back one thing at a time, while carefully checking for adverse reaction).
I've learned quite a bit about who I am and what I want the last 13 months. And, it's helping me decide how I want to optimize around who I can choose to become.
- I am an introvert who deeply loves and cares about other people. But this doesn't mean I want to be around people all the time.
- I enjoy deep conversations, but not small talk or big groups. I need time to think, and in fact, I believe I've been created to spend time in my head...finding connections and offering insights. I love to listen, it fills me up...but I do reach capacity and then I need to go on a walk or read or just be alone.
- The pandemic lifestyle has shown me that I need a lot more time alone than I had allotted myself in the past 20 years.
- During the pandemic, I gravitated to people who are my life-long friends -- most of whom live far away. 2020 brought reunions and renewed friendships from elementary school, college, and beyond. I noticed who I turned to when times got tough. Who I reached out to (and who reached out to me) when we felt mortality in all its aggressive vividness.
- At work, I connected regularly with predominantly female colleagues at all levels of seniority whom I admire and trust. I asked for their coaching, advice and help. I went for deep dives in short spurts rather than gloss-over hallway chatter.
It's becoming quite apparent to me how powerful old patterns can be. And, to avoid the wagon rut of the old ways things were done, it's going to take conscious effort to stay on the less worn path.
It's absolutely clear that introverts and extroverts have had a very different experience over the past 12 months. The introvert experience in this article from the Washington Post so clearly matches my own.
Introvert or extrovert...we are human. And, if the past 12 months have taught us anything it's that humanness is a fragile state. Perhaps we look at time a little differently and each of us is now able to assess the value of that time in a different way. Time connected with others or time connected with self.
The real gift as vaccines roll out is to claim the life we will live going forward.