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Opening my Eyes

I talked about 2020 being an intense year of strife. I believe that 2020 is sending us a message, and we should try to clear our vision to see what it's trying to convey. I'm not speaking about any philosophical belief system in particular. I've heard folks talking about the messages from a higher power or our planet telling us it's time to be honest about the human impact to its destruction. What I believe is irrelevant; this isn't a theological discussion. It's not my business what you believe, but I think we've had blinders on, and it's time to take them off.

Way back in March, when the world was still our version of normal, I was snorting and rolling my eyes about the Coronavirus. When the impacts started to the travel industry, I truly believed it would be over before the end of April. I said it often and believed I was stating my opinion as a fact. Therein lies the rub, doesn't it? I didn't have any real knowledge about the virus, but I sure as hell stated my opinion as if it was based on scientific fact. Of course, I've been known to be, let's say cheeky; cheeky is nicer than arrogant, don't you think?


When I was furloughed in April, I was expecting it; I could see the writing on the wall by that time. Still, I was wearing my lovely rose-colored blinders and pretending all would be back to normal sooner rather than later. I expected to be lost without my work. I've always been fiercely dedicated to my job - I'm a workaholic. As I wore the facade of acceptance about my leave, I was hyperventilating and experiencing intense anxiety behind my acceptance mask.


My mantra became, "I work; that's what I do. I work; that's what I do." Over and over, I thought it and expressed it aloud. What was I going to do without work? There was no doubt that I would be a maniac in a week. During the first week, I drove my family more insane than usual. There were projects and discussions about projects. There was work to be done, and I had the time - we were doing that work! Then came the baking and cooking.


I love to cook and bake, and I'm good at both. I baked daily until the begging started, "Please stop baking, we can't eat anymore." On a side note, I never tossed one baked good in the garbage bin despite their protestations about the volume of goodies. I did ease up on baking and trying odd new recipes.


The projects and baking kept me from opening my eyes and accepting what I refused to see. The month of April aged, and something unexpected happened to me. I wasn't missing my job the way I had expected. I missed the people, but I wasn't feeling lost without my career. I was befuddled and a bit confused when I admitted that truth to myself.


It was almost as if I had detoxed from a drug or alcohol. My job had been an addiction for many years, and I had kicked the habit without realizing I'd had a problem. This revelation about my career hit me around mid-May. That was also the first time I acknowledged that I might not go back to my job.


Initially, I was starting to accept that the corporate travel industry I knew like the back of my eyelids had profoundly changed forever. I've been in the industry my entire life, from childhood, and have forgotten more about travel than some people will ever know. I was in travel back in the days of carrying huge hotel guides, the OAG and using a Travel Planner to find the closest airport to a small city. Those of you who have been in the industry like I have, understand what I just said.


We had bounced back from so many horrible events and tragedies that it made us over-confident that corporate travel would always recover. Even with the new technology, people have to travel. Ah, but do they?


Companies were finding that technology allowed them to conduct business without the expense of travel. Does that mean the industry is dead? Oh hell no, corporate travel will recover, but it will be changed forever.


That was when my eyes started to open. Accepting that my industry was never going to be the same as before COVID and that my career no longer had a hold on me. My peepers were opening wider as I admitted that I was no longer going to be an expert in an industry where I was a legend. I'm kidding about the legend part; things were getting a little too serious. My vision was clearing; I was accepting what was right in front of me. I had arrived at a new destination, and it wasn't the home I had known for so many years. Travel was behind me, and an unknown and very uncertain future was in front of me.


Now, I had to find the courage to board the flight toward my new world of personal changes, where I controlled a different future. I wanted to make 2020 my bitch, but how did I accomplish that task?


Until next time...


Sending love and virtual hugs,

Anola

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