Career Second-Act Or U-Turn?

I’ve spoken to numerous people and the mantra across the board seems the same: they don’t want to go back to their jobs and lives pre-coronavirus pause. They have discovered something wonderful: an opportunity for growth and healing, and a desire to change course. One client cried, “I love the sea change I’ve experienced and I want more of the same. How can I change my life, change my job, but not throw out the baby with the bathwater?”   ― Joanne Socha, Lawyer-turned-Luxury Travel Advisor

It turns out, changing a life does take a lot of work, per se. The pandemic is the inflection point that some people need to initiate the process of creating a new life. For me, the months spent working from home reinforced some ideas I learned while travelling. The most impactful distinction was to ‘Create A Life You Don’t Need A Vacation From‘. This is a simple idea that would have saved me loads of time if I had realized this truth earlier in life. Looking back on life always tends to bring up the should-haves and my reflections are no different.

What is more beneficial than wishing the past was different, is to place high importance on creating a brighter future. As a person and a family, how did we settle back into our life in Canada after a year of travel and not fall into bad habits of the past? It has been an interesting case study, as we experience everyday life. My husband and I like to mark our lives as B.T. or Before the Trip and A.T. or After the Trip. This distinction has made a profound difference in the way we think about our lives.

I’ve learned that “making a living” is not the same thing as “making a life”   ― Maya Angelou

As we all look forward to a time after the covid-19 pandemic, I suppose humanity will mark their lives as ‘before’ and ‘after’. What a strange social experiment we have lived through. More impactful and far reaching than any world war and thanks to the power of digital media we have had a front row seat for the whole thing.

Perhaps not surprising, the pandemic effects have given many people a shake from the rut of their normal lives. Similar to what I yearned for back in 2016 and had to leave my job to achieve. I went 18 months with no pay and even had to dip into savings to make it through that period. I didn’t know if or when I might return to paid work. I had to get comfortable with uncertainty, as many people are experiencing now. On the upside, I got to travel the world, which is profoundly better than being stuck inside a room during a pandemic.

However, I find myself lucky to be stuck in my house and yard. In fact, I feel gratitude for various routine tasks throughout my typical day. Even though my house is one of the oldest and smallest in my neighbourhood, I am glad to have it. What I used to take for granted has been elevated in my esteem during the pandemic. Now I am happier for everything and everyone I have in my life, in a way I could not fully appreciate before.

Which brings me back to the original question, second-act or u-turn? For me, I think neither. Rather, I am focused on making the life I have, the best one possible. It doesn’t need to change to suit me better. It is already amazing in uncountable ways. I have health, shelter with green space, private areas to work and lots of room to play and be creative. Any material good or service which is essential, is readily available. Yes, life is more restricted than it was before. I can’t go anywhere I want or see whomever I choose at a moments notice, but that is such a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.

What truly makes me happy are the little things in life. Learning interesting stuff, being exposed to new ideas and helping my friends, family and co-workers with a smile. This I can do without restriction. All these little joys help me Create A life I Don’t Need A Vacation From.

I believe the magic of a creative practice is anchored in how normal it is. Meaning it is part of a lifestyle, not something separate. I want all my moments to include the joy of creativity, not just the few weeks of a year when I can escape my normal life for a vacation. It seems so sad that we live such a stressful existence, most of the time, so that we require a recovery period. I truly believe we can ‘create a life we don’t need a vacation from’.

By pursuing a creative life, it seems logical that our level of wellness will be enhanced. As the DailyFinds this week have explored, there is much to be gained from practicing creativity. Enjoy these DailyFinds if you missed any of them this week.

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”   — Wayne Gretzky

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