Last week it felt like Paris. The quiet, the solitude, the watching and waiting. This is why I love to go there: it’s time away from all my usual life, a time to slow down and just listen. I was nearly giddy with the prospect of not having to DO anything!

This week it feels like purgatory. That in-between place where everything is different and I’m not sure what is next. 

Here is what I have discovered though: Me. I am slowly recognizing who I am, what motivates me, what my needs are, and what I really don’t like. I have come to recognize the power of exercise to change my mood for the better. I see how drinking water regularly really does improve my mental functioning. And I know that being able to be out in nature, with the sun on my face, is a gift not to be taken for granted.

Here are some things I’m (re)learning about myself:

  1. I don’t think I could fully retire. I used to dream of the time when I didn’t have to DO anything. Now is that time. And I am going stir crazy.
  2. I truly am an extrovert. I was starting to doubt this, as I have been cherishing my alone time more and more. However, I also know that extroverts get their energy by being around other people and introverts get theirs from solitude. I definitely need some down time to recharge my batteries, but my batteries are running very low these days without getting out in front of people!
  3. I don’t like being told what to do. This is not new news to me, but is being brought back into my awareness on so many levels. I truly value my independence and being able to be a free spirit. This is not a fun time those like me.
  4. I respect authority, but I can also harbor a resentment. I truly know it is best to self-isolate and do abide by this advice. But, it doesn’t mean I am happy about it! (see #3). My mom and I were talking about the kids on the beach in Fort Lauderdale (and yes, how amazing is it that I can still have fun conversation with my mom!!!). I said, “Can you believe that these kids…”, to which she interrupted and said “Janet…like you would be doing?” Well, I had to admit that I could have been one of those Spring Breakers. “But,” I retorted, “if you had said ‘You can’t go’ (which you would have), I would have listened to you. Of course I would have harbored a resentment for years…but I would have listened.” Not much has actually changed about me it seems.
  5. I need to be authentic. I have been amazed and troubled by seeing all the people in the same line of work as me, carrying on with their work as if this is merely a bump in the road. I am a motivational speaker, a coach for those who are stuck, and a corporate trainer. I can’t seem to motivate myself, I feel stuck and I have no venue to utilize my skills. Sure, I could keep pushing and present a cheery face and “solutions”. But that is not me. If I don’t feel it, I can’t fake it. Authenticity is vital to who I am and what I do. 
  6. I don’t like doing what everyone else is doing – I thrive when I can do things my own way. It feels like everyone is a coach these days. Everyone has solutions for you. There are women’s groups springing up all over the place. These are all great and serve a purpose. But they are all “been there, done that “ for me. I thrive on coming up with new ideas, of being the 1st to the table. It’s a risky strategy, as I found out in 2008 when I started the 1st of its kind women’s center on the heels of the recession. But it was an idea that I knew had a need and a validity…and is evident now in the plethora of centers like The Wing and Luminary. I don’t want to be an “also ran” – I want to lead the pack. Now is not the time for me to try to fit in. Now is the time for me to be a light out of the darkness.

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, let alone next week, or next month or even next year. But what I do know is the more I discover about who I am, what works for me and, more importantly, what doesn’t, the more a path out of this current morass will become evident.

By releasing the doing, I am becoming more comfortable with the being.  We have all been given the time to learn this lesson. Make it yours.