2020, the year of … my rebirth. Literally and just in the knick of time.
In November 2019, I claimed that 2020 would be synonymous to a Renaissance. It was the year I’d get my ducks in a row and despite what was happening with Fundaciones legally and internally, we would, as always, come out stronger, like the rockstars we imagined we were. It felt good, like it was en route to taking place. It felt like I was in control.
I had my shit (excuse my potty mouth but I’m keeping it really real) together, or so I thought. Until Thursday, March 12th when the Prime Minister ordered all schools islandwide shut and I walked through the Supreme Court doors feeling deflated having been ordered to vacate the premises at one of my schools by mid July, all was going according to plan. Oh well, tough kitty; I couldn’t process the court drama then and there because we were walking head first into a crisis; actually a pandemic and distance learning programmes needed to be launched (let me add immediately).
Then IT (the pandemic, no school school, distance learning) continued, there were zero changes and one could say I got lost trying to keep the company afloat and kids engaged. This is where the muck started to fly. Staff had to be laid off, we weren’t collecting funds, even with discounted rates many of our early childhood kiddoes opted out of distance learning and guess what? They comprised the bulk of our income. Oh boy! In between writing proposals and scouting new locations in Kingston & Montego Bay I was also thinking about how to really pivot and use this opportunity as a way to reinvent the company and the brand. I did claim 2020 to be “the” year, remember? But how TF would I do it? There were no ideas. Not even one. Oh did I mention I started my PhD just as the pandemic hit? Lol. Talk about plate full.
Then as we continued to maintain online learning for the primary aged kids, the stress and subsequent burn out gave me a rhatid hit across my face. I couldn’t disconnect, there were messages all throughout the day and night, every single solitary person had issues that needed to be shared with me (parents, children, teachers and everyone else I knew). Overwhelmed could perhaps describe a fraction of how I felt. And then I folded. I called cree. Well not even; I called time out but a more permanent one. I put up a detour sign.
WTF?! I got hundreds (literally) of emails, whatsapp messages, phone calls and if I didn’t feel the need to disconnect and alienate myself before, this certainly did it. People were angry, they called me selfish, some were understanding and offered help and insight and some were just downright confused and not sure where or what to do next. With almost 200 kids in Kingston and half that figure in Mobay minus the myriad enrolled in after school and out of school programmes, to say closure disrupted things a bit was an understatement.
But in hindsight, it felt like something I needed to do, for no one else but for me. Was this really selfish? Did I make a mistake? I thought I felt lighter and more comfortable in my decision but did I? Was it a figment of my imagination? And within a matter of days, I met with a former team member who was then partner in a global consulting firm and in what seems like a few hours, with her guidance I leaped into educational consultancy.
There is always some level of excitement doing something new and it felt good working with schools and their leaders who were once considered to be my competitors. The comraderie and the desire to push them farther and help them to grow was exciting. But I was doing it for me but in some respects I felt deeply intertwined to their scenarios; I had to learn to disconnect. I was so accustomed to my impulsive nature and high desire to succeed that I forgot that I wasn’t working in Fundaciones locations with Fundaciones team members. This was a challenge for me. I wanted their success as badly as I had wanted mine. What was it that I was attracted to? Or better yet, what did I need to disconnect from?
The questions piled in and the answers seemed to evade me or appeared to sink further into oblivion and I went through the motions but found great difficulty creating. I was stuck. It seemed impossible to tap into the stream of creative ideas that I was used to floating in. Nothing seemed to flow right. My relationships all started to go haywire, even the ones that kept me sane amidst the madness. I was definitely falling deeper and deeper into a funk and I didn’t even realize it. On top of that, the year was coming to an end and I had nothing to embellish in; I had achieved nada.
And then just like I decided that something had to give. So I took a chance. I acted in good faith and even then for days, things didn’t go according to plan. Again?! But I dared not utter a word for fear of being scolded about poor choices. The tears flowed like the torrential rains we had had in the last quarter. And despite things not going according to any semblance of a plan, I got up and worked on them day in day out. Then, like magic mixed with necessity, I wrote on my phone a prayer of gratitude and release. I kid you not, in a matter of seconds, it seemed like the cloud of doom that had become stationary over my head lifted and I could literally feel the energy change. Don’t laugh! But it’s true. This would herald the rebirth that I had tuned my mind for. Bit by bit things started to work out in my favour and the wave of gratitude flowed in and felt like it cleansed everything.
If I didn’t believe then that energy is real and that everything is connected, I never would. Let me declare: it’s all energy. Finances, creativity, romance, you name it, they are all connected because when one is off balanced, it affects the others.
So in a nutshell, 2020 ended for me releasing all that I had assumed and thought to represent me. It offered an understanding that what I had been chasing for years in terms of FUN was only one perspective and that my perspective had changed. Something I slowly started to understand in recent years but tried to reject. My initial thoughts of FUN meant fundamentals, that which was needed to move forward and deeper into education and life but for now I think of FUN as an acronym for finding that which sets your soul on fire, unleashing your vision and normalizing growth. Things I’ve always believed in and loved but been afraid to really jump into for the sake of some limiting belief. Imagine that? It took me giving up the FUN for me to fall back in love with another idea of it. And this time, I feel good doing what I feel like doing and I feel optimistic and hopeful about starting over.
2021 for me is a special year for many reasons but it’s the year that I choose to find the FUN and to stop at nothing to spread it.