The Before and The After

life blend
Based on responses to my last post about finding Your New Life Blend, and the continued conversations I’m having with clients about how to tread back into some sense of normality, I feel the need to take the “how-to” a bit deeper :).* The truth is we can’t really know how it’s going to go until we dip our toes in, but we can begin to prepare.
Like many of you, there are myriad things about how we lived in The Before that I am missing. I think back about how easily I used to be able to see the people I loved, whether it was by plane, train, or other vehicle, taking it all for granted. Though I’m squeamish watching movies and TV shows that represent The Before, with crowds and mask-less hugs and hand-shaking, wow do I ever miss it! I miss crowded (OK, did they have to be so crowded?) theatres and wine bars, and meeting pals and colleagues for walk and talks, for lunches, coffees, snacks, and anything.
And at the same time, I have enjoyed the slower pace of life that simply having fewer options brings. And without the pressure of being on and in person anywhere besides Zoom and on the phone, a sense of increased possibility has cracked open in me. I am thinking very differently about a lot, and I know I’m not alone. This is a GOOD thing!! And, at the same time, I know it’s sparking a lot of anxiety for many. I feel a bit of that too.
I am certain that to maintain this openness to new directions, the answer is simple: Name it to claim it. I say this little phrase all the time, and is it ever true right now. You can’t have anything you want in your personal or professional life without getting clear on what you want, and then stating it. Which brings me to my prompts for HOW to start to determine your new life blend.
Whether it’s with just yourself, with your beloved, your nuclear or extended family, getting clear on what you want is an essential step, and brings the grounding that only a sense of awareness can. And frankly, the only way the dread about what might be coming as the world opens up — more commitments, less deep connections, more busy-ness, less space — can be dispelled is by naming what you want your new blend to look like, and beginning to design your life and schedule to cater to your vision.
Some steps:
    1. Referring you back to my last post, first capture the gifts of this last year, The During list. Again, it’s understandable if there aren’t any, but take a few moments to reflect and be absolutely sure. Whatever you excavate, don’t judge it, just jot it down. 
    2. Look back at what you’ve been missing from The Before, and create a new list of those things. Some things may not be possible for a while, and some of those “things” might be people you thought you were missing. You may find that some relationships may have drifted, and have fallen way down the priority list. Whatever you uncover, it’s all fine. There may be items to grieve. So many of us have lost a lot this past year. Again, no need to judge any of it; just get all the ideas and dreams and longings out of your head.
    3. Assess your re-engagement-with-the-world comfort level. I’ve said it before, and this will be different for every person depending on many variables. What’s most important here is knowing your limits so you can clearly articulate them to anyone and everyone. Speaking of everyone, actually, who really does need to know what you’re thinking? I highly suggest making a list of the people who need to hear your limits articulated.
Once you start to pay attention to what and who you want your After to be populated with, just let it marinate for a bit. Then play with the balance of each of the items from your During list (step 1) and the Before list (step 2), and the getting clear and articulating your boundaries process (step 3). And then experiment. A LOT. Prepare to mess up and to repeatedly tweak. It’s a new, never been done before blend, and I give you permission to be imperfect with it. Perfection’s not a real thing anyway 🧡!
*I made you a worksheet to help you dig in this, click HERE to download, and please be in touch if you get stuck or have questions!

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