When the Pivot isn't Pretty
by Jessica O'Donnell
Welcome to September 2020. Is anyone feeling confident with the direction that their life is headed in at this very moment? Have you ever felt quite this vulnerable? Whether you’re dealing with job uncertainty, grief, lack of childcare, change to your child’s education, or your family’s welfare, it’s all scary!
We are in a sense all experiencing this together. But, sometimes social media can skew the reality of this. With less face to face interactions, social media has become an even bigger part of our daily lives. For better or for worse, social media tends to highlight the positive and neglect the negative. To go one step further, there’s a stigma behind people who overshare when their having a bad day and that in my mind is a real shame.
While some of us may be handling this uncertainty better than others (shout out to those ladies!) one thing is for certain, we are all having to pivot. We are pivoting from our original plans. We are pivoting from our ideal vision of 2020. Those vision boards? 2020 is laughing at them! I’m not saying it’s not possible for you to reach those goals, to try like hell and stick to your original plans. But, schedules? employment? health? education? Our vision of what 2020 would be has no doubt changed. So, here’s the million-dollar question.
What happens when the pivot isn’t perfect?
Let’s talk about pivoting. I think in this very moment, after living through nearly 6 months of uncharted territory, 6 months of unknown we’ve all had to pivot in one sense or another. Everyone is affected: Essential workers, parents, teachers, small business owners, any person whose job has changed or lost, the elderly, people who lived alone during times when the shelter in place orders were mandated. Even something as simple as going to get a haircut isn’t the same as it was pre- COVID. All of these major life changes require us to reevaluate and forge forward on a different path. These changes require us to pivot.
But, here’s the thing, people start to judge you when your pivot isn’t pretty. People who are affected by the change in plans become scared and sometimes the act of being scared comes off as hostility or judgement. One simple question on a Facebook group meant to help inform a community turns into an all out war over motives and technicalities. Tensions are heightened. Many of us who once held it together are barely holding on at the seams.
Is there a magic fix to make your pivot more seamless? No. Life changes aren’t meant to be pretty. Something that affects one person is difficult, and this year we are dealing with something that has affected the whole world. Times like this are meant to teach you something, to make you stronger, to make us stronger.
Remember how I mentioned that we’re all in this together? Well, there’s something quite simple yet monumental that we can all do every day and that’s have grace.
In our most frustrated moments, we can take the time to consider that not a single person on this planet has been through what we are going through today, pause and treat others with understanding. Our world truly will be a better place. Take a moment before interacting in a less than positive way, reach out to a friend that’s been quiet, show your appreciation for essential workers and teachers who are having to perform their job in different and more stressful environments than usual.
None of this is easy. Can I tell you how I know? Because all around me every family member, friend, acquaintance, small business, big business, freelancer, stay at home parent, working parent are all living not quite certain of what the future will hold. And maybe that’s always been the case. A life can change in a moment. But, there’s no question that COVID-19 has affected all of us in a way that the average person could have never predicted.
One simple act of kindness, forgiveness, empathy, grace, or service will change the world (yes, the World!) for the better. Let’s build each other up instead of knocking each other down. It counts more now than maybe ever before.