A year ago, I logged out of my work computer for the last time. It was an unceremonious goodbye after 13 years. Goodbye consisted of a Zoom of faces, those of my beloved teammates. Filled with tears, fears for what’s next, all amid a new pandemic where our normal was changing around us.
A year later, I’m not currently working in the field that I loved. To say I miss it is an understatement. Not everything I did was glorious or fun, but I thrived on the challenges. The new projects, the high profile events, being the “keeper” of secrets/technical knowledge/how things worked. Of course it was teamwork for all of these, but you get the gist. There are so many stories I could share and I’d do it all again.
Where my departure was unrelated to Covid, it was hard to be excited for the change amidst school closings for my children and everyone required to stay home for 2 weeks which turned into almost a year itself. Excitement for my personal reinvention became a constant search for the right information in this changing situation to keep my family safe during a pandemic. All while nursing a neck injury from a car accident months earlier.
I was lucky to find a new passion. One I’m working to build into my next career. But I know it will take time. The dreams I have for myself won’t come instantly.... heck, that’s why it’s called work, right? While certifying in coaching, this kept me motivated, focused and allowed me to strengthen some amazing relationships (new and old)!
The pandemic allowed me to see me in a different way. That side of me that was always “too busy” got to slow down, allow me to be there for a friend when she needed me most. I got to thank that friend for never giving up on me because being a working mom is hard. It’s hard to manage work, family and anything extra.
Like many others, the pandemic changed me. Looking for work during this time is frustrating. Not that it isn’t normally, but when so many more people are looking, you apply for so many more roles with no return. The stresses of steady income slowly sink in. We’re ok, but at some point, we need more than what we’re bringing in. Going from a two-income family to a one-income family is a big shift. But at least we’re fortunate enough to still have one!
Many times during the year, we’ve looked at our situation. It’s been a blessing to be home with the kids while virtual learning has been a struggle. I’ve been their support, their cheerleader, their teacher, their friend, but more important, Mom. My kids benefit from not having a stressed out crazy person in the mom role. They had all of me. They may not have liked our asynchronous “Mom School” days, but they had me at their side grumbling about the algebraic equations we had to graph. Schooling at home isn’t perfect, but we have each other.
A lot of the time during the past year, we were in survival mode. Especially with the summer of no activities, parks closed and that neck injury I mentioned... I had spinal surgery. Most of the year has been about what can we do to be ok. How do we not make this day suck.
But as this one year marker comes up, I feel sad. My plans didn’t pan out the way I expected. No month off, a family vacation and a part time job until I found my next role (either for myself or in a corporate setting). I miss the career that I worked so hard in. I miss the projects, the challenges. I miss saying that I work for a well known brand.
So many positives have come up too. I have a new set of skills, a clearer picture of what balance looks like for me and I have a wonderful group of people who support me. I still have my moments of self-doubt, fear and frustration. Heck, anyone would, right? So we take it a day at a time.
Finally, after a year, things may not be perfect, but my self-identity which was so wrapped up in what I do has never been clearer to me. I am a wife, a mom, a volunteer, a coach; I am determined, compassionate, focused, hard-working, eager to learn, and fun. I am me.