Begin Again… And Again

This is the last week of 2021 and what a year it has been. For some, 2021 began with hope; out with a controversial president and in – with another controversial president. The race riots were over but the aftermath – not so much. There was a riot in the US Capitol which changed how we view “American democracy” and how the world viewed Americans. Then there was this thing called a pandemic which has not happened in literally 100 years.

With the year 2022 just days away, I suspect everyone is feeling a mix of cynicism – how 2022 might not be better than 2020 and 2021 – and some hope that 2022 might be better than 2020 and 2021.

As I reflect on 2021, I realized that I had 2 beginnings. And to borrow the line from one of the greatest philosophers of the 21st century – Taylor Swift – I got to Begin Again… and again.

In November 2020, I parted ways with my old company where I had worked at for almost 10 years. It was a difficult parting because of the timing and because of the manner in which I happened. However, I was very relieved in a way and extremely thankful that I had a job for almost 10 years. Not everyone could claim that but I trust God was working something new in me. I was blessed to find a job by the end of January 2021.

What I didn’t realize was that this job’s commute was very long, and grew longer as more people went back to work. There were other challenges there which I won’t go into but in mid July 2021, I was told that my full time position was now a part time position starting in August. Because the commute and some parts of the job became more stressful, I told myself that when I hit the six-month mark and end of the probationary period, I’d reevaluate. I was not surprised this happened which lessened the mental and emotional stress.

And so in August 2021, I went back on the job hunt for another full time position. Once again, I was back on,, plus word of mouth, and eventually I found a full time position in mid-September. I put in my 2-weeks notice and started working at the new job the first week of October.

I don’t know if anyone else had a similar situation in 2020 and 2021. Maybe some of you did lose your job because of COVID-19 or some other reason. Maybe others were blessed in that they lost a job and found a new one quickly. Or others are still looking and still wondering when the next paycheck will come.

During the months of unemployment and then the days when I was working only part time, I found myself split three ways. The first way, which I am little ashamed of, was wasting time on leisure: I played more video games, I built puzzles, and just lounged around the house. The second way, which I am not ashamed of, was getting my act together: polishing resumes, writing cover letters, applying for jobs, and being industrious. The third way, and perhaps the best, was time spent reflecting.

Time spent reflecting on:
1. What I really am good at – and how that ought be the focus of my career
2. What I suck at – and how to avoid being asked to do things ever again, personally or professionally
3. What mistakes did I make at one job – and how not to do them again in my next job
4. What lessons have I learned at one job – and how that translates into the next job.
5. What does God think about all this – and to get His opinion and blessing first?

Maybe that is was one reason for these interruptions: for me to stop and think. For the last ten years, it had been go! go! go! Now, it was time to stop, reflect, and trust. Perhaps this might be the same for you. For the last X amount of years, you were on the move constantly. The pandemic was an enforced rest and reorient.

If you know the stats, streaming services during the pandemic went through the roof with triple digit increases. More people were online watching something – anything – to fill their minds and the time. I am not laying a guilt trip on anyone; far from it because I did waste my own time. Rather, may I suggest setting apart sometime to reflect on the same questions I posed earlier:

  1. What am I good at?
  2. What am I bad at?
  3. What mistakes have I made?
  4. What lessons have I learned?
  5. What does God think about my plans?

2020 and 2021 might have been a very long pause for some of you. 2022 is the time to reorient and start moving again.

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