Firebreak Chat / A Beginning, a Middle, but no End…
Can I be a little more intentional with Lockdown 2.0? Who do I want to be over the coming weeks? What do I want to achieve?
Like many, maybe even most, the first Lockdown was an “adventure” into the unknown for me. A fully involuntary dive into a completely new normal with very little warning. Liberties once deemed simple or everyday were replaced with a hastily cobbled together faux-routine formed of a limited selection of possibilities: namely longish walks, queueing for toilet paper, Zoom.
I simply muddled through. There were some significant highs, but also some exceptionally numbing lows. I expended what enthusiasm I could muster on external interaction, something incredibly scarce in a world of social distancing. I unwillingly became exothermic with my own energy levels — something I’ve previously been so careful about doing. I burnt out.
It got me thinking if there was a way in which I could be a little more intentional with Lockdown “2.0”. How could I be a little wiser with where I place energy and focus? Who do I want to be over the coming weeks? What do I want to achieve?
I thought I’d begin by literally getting my house in order: Over the weekend, and since, I’ve spent a little time cleaning and organising. Thinking this would at least give the illusion of control. Cupboards, backs of sofas, Google Drive… Yes, digital life admin cleanse too. I made three very fortunate and timely rediscoveries:
- All of my old handwritten notebooks from my time at my agency alma mater Essence — a four year period of huge evolution for me. Reading through the [un]profound ramblings, mutterings and “insights” of somebody who could only be described as professionally pre-pubescent has been painful.
- A series of long form notes I had scribbled whilst spending some time outside of the UK in late 2019. Having spent most of the year religiously rifling through audiobooks after an unfortunate TBI put pay to reading; this was me trying to catalogue my intentions and learnings for a more effective 2020.
- A “Lunch & Learn” at work with Petra Velzeboer caught me completely off guard — a familiar voice which took me back to my first burnout experience three years ago. A time where a podcast she was involved with, Spotify’s “Killing It”, amongst others reframed so much for me as to what it was to be “present” at work, but also in life more generally.
So, where am I going with this? The original questions:
How could I be a little wiser with where I place energy and focus? Who do I want to be over the coming weeks? What do I want to achieve?
Through “cleaning the cupboards”, I felt like I had made a start and found an opportunity for my focus, energy, and expectations for this period. But it also got me thinking much more broadly.
Simply, 2020 should be viewed as a mere chapter in a book not even half finished. That I should not define this year by an external factor that sucks energy but more by the intentional and effective responses it can give rise to.
My discoveries also reminded me of how fortunate I have been to learn from trusted friends, devoted colleagues and inspirational mentors on my journey to date.
My plan is to spend the coming weeks writing up some of my back catalogue of experiences to date, my B-sides and rarities. Effectively, this is a “firebreak” chat, with myself ft. the many people I’ve crossed paths with and internalised over much of the last decade.
A fairly shameless period of reflection without hope or agenda — just because it’s [nearly] Christmas, and at Christmas you tell the truth — which may prove useful for others. I hope it does. Jx