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The 5 words that flipped our lives

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

“I’m ready for a change.”

Like many who have lived through the last 2 years, the pandemic made us rethink what we were doing, why we were doing it and made us ask “what else do we want”?

Those words of change came out of my mouth at a low point, which unfortunately had become my new baseline. It was yet another exhausting day of back to back home office meetings from 8-6, dealing with the struggles of one kid in home schooling and a pandemic pod, while picking up the other kid in the middle of my team meetings. And let's not forget all of the Covid scares, crying, yelling, interruptions and snack time requests at the exact moment that I’m about to speak in a meeting. We were simply trying to hold it together because “everything is fine"...right?But I was so far from “fine”.

Le struggle was real and not letting go.

It was a daily slog that left us wiped out, but we also knew we were one of the lucky ones that had options to make it all work even if it looked beyond messy.

In many ways, our life was still somehow working. In fact, I had had a very successful year at work despite a myriad of changes to senior leadership and working through a national social reckoning that asked us to really look at what it is to be Black in America. As a Black woman, I found myself (like so many others did) as a witness to the continued injustice, a teacher to those who wanted to know and do better as well as a corporate change agent. I was encouraged about the changes that I started to see around me, but didn’t realize how exhausting it was to hold up this banner in my personal and professional life too.

So we had found our own way of handling the ups and downs, but like so many, we were looking for more. More meaning, more travel, more joy, more purpose and more living. The status quo wasn’t enough anymore. We had sanitised and baby proofed our lives for so long and with the spring of 2021 finally started to let ourselves dream again. We didn’t want to just survive another day, we were looking to thrive.

“I’m ready for a change”

This idea of change felt like a tidal wave but it actually didn’t come all at once but instead in fits and starts.

My first inclination was to look for “more” in my professional world. It was where I had found joy and a sense of fulfilment before, plus I knew that moving into a new role or company was good timing after 9 years at the same company. But the funny thing about opening up to change is that you’ll never know what possibilities might enter the room once you open the door. And I wasn’t the only one looking for change…

Once my husband and I began talking about this need to grow, the conversation quickly went from changing roles to changing cities, countries, or hemispheres. This possibility had been one that always existed in the background for both of us, like white noise, but one that we mostly ignored due to how far fetched it sounded. Where would we go? How could we afford it? Could we really live so far away from family? Why would we ever want to leave NY? What about our friends, work and community? How would our children be able to deal with such an upheaval?

The pandemic had turned all of our red lights into yellows and greens. After pivoting our lives 1000 times over and dealing with nothing but uncertainty for so long, we felt confident that we could handle the upheaval of a move and all the unknowns that come with it. Our marriage felt strong enough to handle it, our kids would both be in elementary school (prime age in my mind), my parents were healthy and the opportunity felt big enough to take the risk.

But I think the very idea that we were OPEN to change is what led us to embrace the opportunity and the challenges. This felt more like a conscious choice vs a forced change. Somehow that made all the difference in our minds. But that doesn’t mean that we were really ready for the unknowns. One is never ready for what you don’t know. It just means that we were willing to accept those potential difficulties as part of the overall experience and mitigate them as much as possible with the things that would bring us joy. (See several breakdowns later)

4 months from this statement the moving trucks arrived. 2 weeks after that we took our first flight to Asia and entered Singapore’s 2-week government sanctioned quarantine.

You asked for change? Well here we go…

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