Don’t Retire, ReFire: Pivoting to cope with changing times

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times

No matter what age we are, there comes a time in our lives, or many times in our lives, when we must take stock of where we’ve been, where we are now and where we want to go.

We currently have the gift of time to ponder such introspection.

It is essential to take stock of our lives and ask those questions in order to assess and reevaluate if we’re on the path that we want to be on and are meant to be on or do we pivot.

It is an exercise in setting your mind right and opening up to possible reinvention.

Sometimes it’s hard to recognize and identify what our course is, until something happens that takes us off that every-spinning hamster wheel that we call life.

What do we do when something like that happens to throw us off course, like what’s happening in our world now?

It forces us to take a long, hard look at ourselves, the direction we’re facing and whether we need to pivot.

Unless you’re an essential worker, we have been given this gift of time. Not having enough of it has been the number one complaint of the human race for decades.

Are we sure enough in our course and strong enough in our beliefs to weather this crisis?

How do we navigate to get back on course and/or stay on course?

Do we know how and where to start?

Do we spend too much time obsessing over those thoughts, rather than putting them into motion? Maybe we don’t spend enough time charting our path, which takes time and planning.

Adjusting and/or tweaking our course involve decisions, and some may be difficult ones.

Sometimes these difficult decisions not only affect us but others, as well.

Standing at that doorway can feel like we’re in front of a brick wall that we must break through or the analogy I like to use is described as standing in front of a dense wall of muck.

I have personally experienced this several times in my life. It’s daunting and scary.

There are only two choices to make. Start walking through the muck, not knowing how long it will take to get to the other side and if you will even survive the journey.  The second choice is to stand still at the entrance and not go through. By taking the journey to walk through to the other side, you gain a new found sense of what you’re capable of. It takes courage and bravery. If you stand at the entrance and do nothing, your sense of self dwindles and life goes on without change.

I’ve been asking many questions. What are the answers? The answers are individual and lie within each one of us. Do we blossom or wilt? Do we shine or do we fade? We find out what we’re made of in the answers.

Here’s another question to ruminate on. What do you want to say about how you spent your quarantined days?

If you’re blessed to be one of the healthy ones and you’re staying in to keep those you love and the essential workers safe, then you are to be commended. That, alone, is an enormous contribution.

We can look at this time as a blessing or a major inconvenience. Is the glass half full or half empty?

There is still time, as we continue the stay at home ordinance. Write that letter, make that call, read that book and think about how we want to describe this time when we look back on it years from now.

One thing is for certain, this time, like no other any of us have seen, is what could be described as the era of “Correction”.

The world had to all but stop and then had to figure out how to communicate with each other, at a distance, reinvent how we do business and learn how to keep things going, but in a different way. Creativity is blooming!

We witness displays of appreciation for those who are working hard to take care of our loved ones, even though it means putting themselves at risk.

We have become deeply grateful for our family and friends and for what we do have, knowing that many people are seriously struggling. Many kindnesses have been expressed in abundant ways.

As we slowly reopen the world, let’s move forward ever so cautiously, sure and steady, one step at a time, with “2020” vision, always pivoting in a positive direction.

I think words like “correction” and phrases like “2020 vision” can be mantras to help us be mindful and stay this course until we’re victorious! Sadly, the victory is not without casualties.

So many unknowns, still. So many questions, still.

We have the time to figure out the answers, if we make the time.

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. – Henry Ford

We’re at the threshold. Our victory will be through our collective efforts, where we begin to heal the world.

These may be challenging times but can also be looked at as times of great opportunity. – Gail Supplee Tatum



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