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This year is bound to be one that all of humanity looks back on as an unforgettable moment in time, in history. As December has progressed, I’ve already consumed some impressive year-end content across all of the media channels: people reflecting on what they learned, what they are leaving behind, what they accomplished, what they are grateful for, their ah-ha moments, their grief, their struggles and all the things that make us celebrate the end of 2020. It’s over.
I am no exception. The end of 2020 has brought me a much needed and appreciated period of reflection, gratitude and perspective-seeking. I have changed, as I do. Haven’t we all, to some extent? For me, it has truly been a transformative year. And by transformative, I mean its intended definition, by Oxford: “causing a marked change in someone or something”.
The mark of my transformation in 2020 is my hair: a constant reminder of the growth I experienced this year, both in life and at work. As we wrap the year, I bring it both reverence and light-heartedness in my review, though the lens of 20 hairstyles.
First Quarter – Cutting Edge
In Hair: I came into 2020 with a hairstyle I had been cultivating for more than 10 years. Bold, sharp, short. Highly curated. My mark. I never blended in with that hairstyle. It gave me confidence. I was was my thing: you know, the girl with the hair? It was easy everyday, high-maintenance on the cut. I had zero intention on changing any of that.
In Life: Like many, I came into the year with goals and as usual, a plan to accomplish them. I was coming in hot! Naturally, all of my aspirations included travel. The last one I took was to the Pacific Northwest in February. I crossed the border into Canada, ironically and appropriately the last country I visited.
At Work: I’ll just put out there right now – 2020 was a shit year. I didn’t really accomplish anything of value when it comes to the traditional metrics of consulting. There. It sucks to be at the bottom of the leader board. Next.
There are nonetheless moments of love at work that make me proud here and there and Q1 was littered with them. We shot the portraits for Digital is in the Eye of the Beholder, we had some important team building initiatives and activities and I got to travel for work. Bonus: I got some really great selfies with colleagues.
January, February, March
Second Quarter – I Don’t Like It
In Hair: No more haircuts every 4 weeks. Not because I was choosing to. Because I couldn’t. And, I didn’t like that. I hated that lack-luster-in-between-grow-out phase dread. I seriously considered taking clippers to it. Then, several of my beauty business friends convinced me that doing anything to it myself would cause more hate, long-term than the hate I was experiencing then. I am a long-game player; I had to grow through it.
In Life: I was grounded and scared. I hunkered down at Club 1670 in Reston, Virginia, the place I have called home for nearly 18 years. With the exception of going out for daily walks, I didn’t go anywhere or see anyone in real life for 57 consecutive days. I was, perhaps, a bit paranoid. I was, for sure, devastated, as if, I had lost my heart in the March 15 battle. I didn’t know anything, but I was sure nothing would ever be the same. Nobody was going anywhere for a while. I ran towards acceptance and curated a comfortable place to root down. I became a plant lady. And the most important relationships in my life emerged to help out.
At Work: I was scattered, distracted by the sense of urgency I was wresting with in this funky first: I had never experienced crisis before. I couldn’t find a horizon point to stare at so I lost my focus in the waves. I was swimming in circles, emotionally reactive, and drowning. The moments of love at work in Q2 are difficult to find. Noteworthy is the launch of Slalom Summer Drive, an automotive and mobility industry event series.
April, May, June
Third Quarter – Regroup
In Hair: At some point in August, for the first time in 6 months, I had a good hair day. It changed everything, including my headshot. In the blink of a moment, I was done. Done with the hate and ready to see what the next phase of growth would look like. It helped that I got a couple haircuts, one in a garage before everything reopened, that were just enough to manage the edges and shape a foundation for whatever was next.
In Life: I started to come out of my co-co coma. It was baby steps with the support of the quaranteam. But it was also big steps out of deep introspective. I couldn’t go on as I had the last 3 months. I needed to look at myself holistically to recharge my energy source. This evaluation resulted some important realizations, most importantly that I needed to prioritize self-care. I made the important decision to repair my back.
At Work: I surrendered to the current and let it carry me to shore. I got out of the water, choosing to witness the sea of changes from my feet, only opting to take a dip when I got really hot. I am proudest and love that my team also had the opportunity to chose their path and that most of them selected a new and opportunistic fork for their Slalom journey.
July, August, September
Final Quarter – Land and Heal
In Hair: I’ve had to learn about something basic like haircare all over again. New products, new styling, new techniques, new tools. Curiosity is everywhere and this discovery has been really fun! But I’ve swung the pendulum, as I do. This hair is easy with the cuts, but high-maintenance everyday… I don’t know how long what has become an “experiment” will last. I am pretty sure I will make it through winter and spring but I am looking for balance.
In Life: The lead up to surgery was completely nuts. I was putting myself in a hospital during COVID-19. But I needed to go to where I was scared in order to feel confident again: at my core. Altogether, it was probably 8 weeks before I could really feel “together” again. More in my healing article here. And the work continues, physically and mentally. In retrospect, it was the best decision I made all year. I feel safe and calm. And getting stronger everyday.
At Work: There also isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful for being a Slalom employee. It gave me the opportunity to grow, heal, and transform.
October, November, December
I wore a lot of hats…
And I had some really bad hair days…
And I don’t expect anything different at the stroke of midnight with 2021. I take it as it is. But I am comforted by my ability to say, think and feel that 2020 was a good one for me. I dare to say it, as I finish content with my transformation.
Happy New Year! In hair, life and work.