The past few months I have observed my community transition from the long-lasting impacts of COVID19. The pandemic became a mark in history that completely shifted society. Gas prices are at $5 a gallon. Bridge toll here in the bay area went to $7. I just went to my local grocery store and a carton of eggs was $4 before tax. Not only has the economy shifted but life expectations on an individual level has changed. There is an uptick in more people desiring to work from home - which two years ago that was considered a special accommodation. Additionally, there is an increase in new small business owners (woot woot). The impacts of COVID19 changed how we define living; and for me, it was a big shift.
Most of you who knew me before 2020 can agree that I was a "busy bee". Interesting enough I won that award in high school cheer - wish I knew where that was. I was a high achieving HR professional completing my 5 year plan from being an HR administrator to strategic leader (yup I did that). I was expanding my side-hustle as a praise dance instructor across the bay area and building connections in the local performing arts; my passion. I was an active member in my church in praise dance ministry and youth programming. I would start my days at 6am and end them at 11pm. I was setting goals, making to do lists, and crushing it all. And then January 4th changed everything. On this day I had to say good-bye to my grandfather James Dobie. He is the reason I am who I am, the good and the difficult. He raised me to be strong minded, hardworking, subservient, and loving. He also taught me how to power through hurt and pain. When this happened, I kept myself busy as only is right and told myself "this is the cycle of life". Not realizing the huge hole that was forming. So as I made plans of how I was going to keep moving forward, Lady Rona had another plan - shut it all down! Yup, the shelter-in-place order paralyzed my whole life. I couldn't go to work. No classes with my dancers. Completely through off my sleep pattern. I had no idea how to function in my small apartment. Most of all, I had no idea how to deal with who I was finding myself to be. My true existence was being exposed, being stuck with my thoughts and feelings that I allowed work and life bury. What was dug up?
pain of losing family members that had a deep imprint on my basic psychological makeup;
unresolved issues from past heartache and trauma for many years resulting in social anxiety and depression;
feeling of unfulfilled dreams that were ignored or deferred for the sake of others;
finding a mild case of OCD which challenged my ability to stay in one, small place; amongst other things.
I realized I wore unattended trauma and pain very well. Staying busy was my way to not attend to me; under the vail of "serving others is my purpose". While making others happy, I was killing myself. What is the saying "pour from your saucer not straight from the cup". I came to a point where both my cup and saucer were dry and I had nothing to give, yet allowing life to continue taking. That had to stop. Something had to shift. So I began to do the work...not for others, but for me. I sought out therapy and downloaded audibles and podcasts to get more familiar with these new concepts of me. And that is when everything ended for me, and a new chapter began.
My last birthday theme was "thirty-three and ME" and I don't think anyone understood it, but I was fine with that because as the world was opening back up and people were pushing to go "back to normal", I needed a reminder that I was going "back to me". I began writing new plans that had me in the center; my transformation. My shift from a worker bee to a BOSS BEE, because I am now calling the shots of where my energy resides. There was something about waking up and setting my own schedule of daily activities based on my feelings and motivations. I am doing the work to be okay that some things I hoped for ended in 2020+, but I am grateful for the new hopes I gained while re-exploring my loves, passions, desires, spiritual connections, etc. I have been able to re-imagine how my life is going to be and it gives me unexplainable excitement - and it is all because I am choosing me. Now it is a new concept. Boundaries have become A THING. Also I won't say this shift and re-introducing myself to the world has been easy...it is not. A lot of people have not been accepting (surprise!). But it is necessary for me to live and have a fulfilling life. Every difficult change I make is worth me being able to live more authentically and honest in who I am and the skin I am in. In 2019 I thought my life was set, great guy, consistent job, friends and a predictable life routine. Today, peaceful mornings, consistent self affirmations, and nothing predictable, but all purposeful, about the life I am choosing to live - and it feels soooo good!
PHOTO REFLECTIONS OF THEN!
"Live life long enough and right enough, your friend circle will become less. They are your true friends!"
- Grandpa Dobie RIP