One of the things that is endlessly fascinating to me about my work is, as a result of having the tremendous privilege of people sharing their innermost worlds with me, getting to see the trends and patterns of what is on our collective minds, the zeitgeist of our anxieties, challenges, fears, insecurities and conflicts. 

As I write this, it’s the re-emergence into a COVID-vaccinated world. And we feel conflicted about it, and then, of course, we also feel guilty about feeling conflicted. 

We feel conflicted because, while the relief is tangible and there’s so much that we miss desperately and long to do and see and hug and we’d drive any distance to get jabbed at 3am in a random convention center, there are often meaningful shifts about ‘life in lockdown’ that we actually benefited from and lifestyle changes that we discovered that we perhaps even preferred and appreciated. But here’s the thing, you don’t have to choose. I invite you into “The Both/And.”

There’s a lot about “The Before Times” that we don’t want to go back to, and frankly, that’s a great thing, because it’s not like things were working so perfectly and smoothly for the vast majority of people anyway (unless perhaps if you are a resourced cis straight white man), and you may recall that I was hearing from a whole lot of us Underfulfilled Overachievers about how unfulfilled, dissatisfied, disillusioned, stuck, unhappy, and purposeless we were feeling way before COVID was a thing.

This is a common refrain: “I’m so relieved, I cried tears of joy getting my shot AND I’m dreading going back to [wearing “hard pants,” commuting, busyness, frequent work travel, social obligations, just plain people-ing].”

And my response is always, “BUT WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE TO!?”

Seriously! What if you don’t have to go back to [insert the thing that just popped into your head here]? (Even if you, too, feel very seen by this TikTok video.)

THIS is an opportunity we have in front of us right now — to re-design as we re-enter. And, I don’t want you to squander it! Don’t “forget everything you learned about yourself during quarantine,” as The New Yorker cartoon observes that many of us will! I spend so much time with clients and students making space for change to occur, creating the conditions for transformation to be possible. Here, we are given them. (Don’t get me wrong — I would prefer every single other possible way to create change over a freaking pandemic, but this is what we have in front of us … so it’s our move!)

The re-opening is your opening to true yourself —
your opening to restore yourself to greater accuracy, authenticity and alignment. 

is the Underfulfilled Overachiever’s path to fulfillment in work and in life.
Go deeper with Megan in her 7-week bootcamp.

I suggest we think of re-entry like a full-on geographical relocation. We often think of transitions like these as “fresh starts” — chances to reinvent, and redesign, and reevaluate — and let’s apply the same logic here, even if you haven’t moved more than 50 feet in the entire year. 

Here are my 4 essential post-vaccine “relocation” practices:

1. Daydream — with excitement, not anxiety.
Imagine that best life! Embrace the fantasy! If you’re relocating your life, you’re probably at least a little bit familiar with the outlines of what your life might look like there, but there’s a lot you know that you don’t know — sort of like the outline in a yet-to-be-colored-in coloring book. And you’d probably be imagining how amazing your new life will be and the best, most expansive vision you have for the future you could build there and how you will color it all in to make it your own and particular to you and no one else — who you will meet, what you will do, how you will feel, who you will become. And not just the things that you used to do that you want to do again, but also the things you’ve never done before, or things you’ll keep doing even when it’s “optional.” “Maybe I’ll go surfing every day before work in this new place,” “maybe I’ll meet my person,” “maybe it will be like my own version of Friends and I’ll be bff with everyone in my building,” “maybe I’ll keep my early bedtimes and keep evening socializing to a minimum.” Let yourself go there. Schedule daydreaming time if you have to!

2. “Hand over the keys” and make a meaningful milestone.
The difference between this “fresh start,” and when we physically relocate and move homes, is that there’s usually an official “move date,” a day where we hand over the keys to your old place and pick up the new ones. Here we will need to manufacture that for ourselves, but don’t skip this step. Pick a day to make it “official,” and proverbially “hand over the keys.” Then, do something, anything to honor it and make it a milestone. Maybe it’s the day of your first vaccine, or when you hit the 2-week mark after your second vaccine, or the first day back in the office, your first in-person client, your first dinner party, or May 1st, or July 4th, or whatever day or time or event feels right to you, but make it a tangible transformation. Go back to the last restaurant you ate out at in early March 2020, or go browse at your favorite bookstore, linger at your favorite coffee shop, go somewhere you love and haven’t felt safe hanging out, get a haircut, or a massage, or invite people over for a re-entry milestone toast. Say goodbye, let yourself grieve the old place and make the shift real. In some ways, it IS a brand new place that you will be emerging into. Even if you live in the exact same place you did a year ago, the external landscape will be different and there will be grief in that. Many of the restaurants we loved, the local businesses we cherished, will be gone, and most devastatingly, some of the people we loved won’t be there either. Make space for all of that.

3.  Allow for your tastes to change.
Not only is the new place going to be different, but you are going to be different, too — in ways big and small, and in ways you can’t yet anticipate. Allow that. If this was a relocation move, maybe you thought you hated nature, but you’d never lived in the mountains before. Or maybe you thought you hated cities, but you’ve never lived in this city. Maybe you thought you hated cooking, but you’d never had a kitchen big enough to turn around in before.

I personally have no idea what I like to wear, or how to even get dressed, at this point. Will I have a totally different sense of style (or *any* sense of style for that matter)? I’m looking forward to finding out. You may find that your food tastes have changed, your socializing preferences, your circadian rhythm, your interests, the communities that resonated with you, your idea of “fun,” or “friend,” — see this as a recalibration of your alignment. Get curious about it and lean into that. That’s the opportunity of transition.

4. Pack light, and prioritize your keepsakes.
Ok, here’s the biggie. When I moved from California back to NYC in 2010, I wasn’t intentional about what I was, and wasn’t, bringing with me. I didn’t sort through a damn thing and simply hired movers to come and transplant the whole situation. I sent partially burnt candles, old tubes of mascara, and pairs of unwearable shoes, across the freaking country. The result? I reproduced the exact same life I was living (and hating) in SF, in NY.

I don’t want this for you. Don’t take those old, or destructive, or unappealing “shoulds” and obligations and habits and people with you into your vaccinated world, like tubes of old mascara and half burnt candles.

It might help to imagine that you have movers that you’re paying per box or item, so for everything you bring with you, you have to pay to move it, to actually invest in its continuity. Now, what is worth bringing?

Instead, be intentional. Inventory your life. And pack light — to allow for all those changing tastes — but DO prioritize your keepsakes, your must-haves, the stuff that you’re carrying on the plane with you. What are those must-haves? The stuff that goes in the fireproof box? The people, habits, and beliefs that will be front and center in your new life?

Before we get to the crash course on “how,” let’s first go back to the question of why the hell I transported such ridiculous crap and pack so absurdly for my cross-country move. The truth is I was paralyzingly overwhelmed. And it was the best I could do at the time. If I was going to get anything in the truck (including myself), it was going to have to have been everything. And I’m actually proud of my past self for letting that be ok (a rare moment of self-compassion for me at that period of my life!).

And so, if that’s the best you can do right now, too, it is totally ok! Please let that be ok.

BUT, it personally wouldn’t be my first choice (I’m guessing it wouldn’t be yours either) and I hope to never relocate or transition in that way — without intention — again. Looking back, I really don’t think it had to be that way! I just didn’t have the tools, the frameworks or the support to know how to do it any differently … yet.

But you, on the other hand, can! I made something for you to help you with packing light for your re-entry journey (and beyond): my new 1-week training on the “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up … YOUR LIFE.