I was born on May 4th, and my Mom says I showed up just in time for lunch. That does not surprise me. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I celebrate my birthday month, not just the day. I love my birthday. I am not sure if it is a Taurus thing, as a lot of my fellow Taureans also make it a monthly celebration. Of course, it helps that the next day is always Cinco de Mayo and there are plenty of celebrations going on.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, it was also a time when the sun started shining again, and we came out of a rainy April and had Memorial Day weekend and fun trips to the beach on the horizon. This year was quite unique. We are all in quarantine trying to wait out this scary virus and unable to work or socialize. I am also living in another state now far away from all family and friends. So rather than starting May 1st and gearing up for another month-long celebration, I found myself feeling like I just wanted this birthday to be an ordinary day. Quite unusual for me.
Then something wonderful happened. My friends Mary Wilson and Anne Mincey invited me to the virtual version of one of the most life-changing workshops of my life, Destination Rejuvenation. All of the women who attended prior DR events would gather virtually to connect and revisit the amazing experience. The best part was it began the night before my birthday and ended right on my birthday.
So I asked them if it was ok for me to invite some of my friends to join us and they welcomed them with open arms. I was so grateful to be able to have my inner circle get a glimpse into just how special a group of like-minded women gathering can be.
It was an amazing two days, even virtually. I slept better than I have in months and came away reinvigorated and reminded of the importance of gratitude and self-care. My friends cannot wait to attend the in-person version next May, and I plan to join them as well.
This also inspired me to reconnect with a few of my high school friends I have not seen since our five-year reunion, and this year we celebrate 35 years! It was so amazing how it felt like we never missed a beat. It was so comfortable, and the conversation effortless. Another silver lining of this quarantine. Would we even think of arranging a group Zoom call if we were living our normal lives? I don’t think so.
Who have you not connected with in years that you would love a virtual chat with? I know I have a lot more people I want to see and connect with, and I will use the rest of this time to do just that. I hope you will too.
So call me crazy (would certainly not be the first time), but I have actually had a very positive experience with this quarantine! It has given me a much-needed pause to discover some things I may not have otherwise.
I am sharing my top 10 Gifts from Quarantine:
1) My son is back living with us since his college is closed for the rest of the semester. I am loving having him here again.
2)I got excused from jury duty.
3) I had time to record a lot of podcast interviews with people who otherwise would never have had the time or interest.
4)Since I can't do my daily beach walk (I really miss it), I have started riding my bike again.
5)I have saved $5.00 a day by not being able to have coffee at the Don Cesar or Starbucks.
6)I have had several amazing group FaceTime chats with family and friends, and the best part is everyone is available; it didn't take a spreadsheet to plan a time that worked for everyone.
7) I have grown my online business audience by several hundred members because all stylists are home, and they are discovering how amazing a virtual education experience can be.
8) I have the time to create two all-day virtual Pop Up Workshops with just a few day's notice in collaboration with other educators who all immediately said yes for the first time ever.
9) I was finally able to grow out my bangs so I have an accidental new hairstyle and kind of liking it.
10) Drum roll, please...I am learning to cook! I cannot go out to any restaurants and have actually enjoyed discovering new recipes and cooking for my family.
I have found that focusing on the positives vs. the fear and worry about having no income coming in, and the uncertainty of how long this will last has made it a lot less stressful. I have my moments, of course, but overall I think it is the world's way of healing itself.
We have all forgotten what really matters and been running around working crazy hours to buy bigger houses and nicer cars while our children are in daycare and with babysitters. I know first hand how quickly those years go by, and you never get a chance to go back and spend more time with them when they need their parents the most.
None of us know what the "new normal" will be like, but we are a part of history, and if staying in our houses can save lives, it is a small price to pay to live to tell the story of that weird year 2020. I just keep reciting my Mom's famous words, "this too shall pass."
I am writing this blog post from beautiful Ibiza Spain. My friend of over 25 years, a fellow salon owner and beauty business coach Donna Roggio has recently moved to the island after owning a successful salon for 19 years. She reached out to me with questions on how I went about creating my online education business for hairstylists and needed help in creating a similar model for the business side of the beauty biz. She said half-jokingly, “you should just come here to Ibiza, and we can work together here instead of trying to coordinate the time zone differences with our different working schedules. To her complete surprise, I said: “sure. I would love to; let’s pick a date that works.” Just two weeks later, here I am in this beautiful place with my daughter as my travel companion.
I have only been here a few days, and I am already getting so many lessons from this amazing island. The vibe is so relaxed and friendly. It is really hard to explain in words. I have been introduced to Donna’s friends, and not a single one of them has asked what I do, if I am married, or how many children I have. Every single conversation I have ever had up until this point has included all or most of these questions.
We tend to be a society of measuring up people by their level of success and accomplishments in the United States. I have felt this sense of guilt of not being in my workaholic mode all day every day. The fact that I don’t have consistent access to internet service has forced me to slow down and just “be” in the moment.
When I go to lunch at home in Florida, if my husband gets up to use the restroom, I immediately grab my phone and check to see if I have gotten new messages. Here I look around and admire people’s unique sense of fashion and enjoy people watching.
Cell phones have been a blessing and a curse. We are so connected 24/7 that when we don’t have our phone in our hand, we panic. It is hard to believe that I was able to travel and get anywhere. I wanted to go without using WAZE or Google maps. Some of the best moments I have had on vacation were as a result of being lost and asking for directions.
This beautiful city has given me permission to unplug. The world is still spinning, and everyone is still doing whatever they normally do and not suffering from me not emailing them back within 30 seconds of receiving their message. Having a language barrier has forced me to be a little more quiet. I choose my words much more carefully and use less of them, and the conversation actually goes a little better than when I am talking a mile a minute. I have become a more silent observer, a role I am not used to but have actually enjoyed.
I highly recommend travel to everyone. Get out of your everyday routine, see something new and different. Get comfortable being just a little uncomfortable, and you just might find a side of yourself you would not otherwise have experienced.
Being self-employed, you have no set schedule, no rules, and no deadlines. One would think that it is the ultimate goal to have that kind of flexibility, right? There is only one problem. I am not only my own boss; I am my own worst critic, and no other person’s expectations of me have ever been higher than the ones that I have of myself.
Having goals sets some structure into my entrepreneurial lifestyle and helps me to constantly move the needle forward. The flip side of it is never building in time for rest, relaxation, or time to simply BE. My entire life, since I can remember, I was forever living way too far into the future. My Mom always says when we were eating breakfast, I wanted to know what the plan was for lunch and dinner. Sadly, I still do.
My Dad was a self-made man who worked really hard. He was my example of the work hard and do what you love, and the money will come. Unfortunately, he was also the example of never take time off and keep pushing forward. He retired at 50 from his original business and ended up working even harder at his next venture and never stopped until his body gave him no choice. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and had one of his lungs removed. He survived the cancer, and thankfully he is still with us. Shortly after the surgery, we discovered he was starting with signs of Alzheimer’s.
So for my Mom and Dad working so hard all of those years so we could have a nice life, live in a nice house and go to good schools, etc. this should be the fun retirement years. They should be going on cruises and touring Europe without a worry in the world. Instead, my Mom is his full-time caregiver and is with him 24/7, constantly answering the same questions over and over again, reminding him who his children and grandchildren are.
I find myself in a place I have never been before. I have created a life that I have always dreamed of, living at the beach in a state that is sunny 300 days a year. I am experiencing a feeling of contentment that was always the end goal, always the dream, but feels confusing.
You see, part of the reason I am so uncomfortable about being so happy is that I realize that I have been confusing being content with being lazy my entire life. When I saw people sitting around and playing cards, or binging Netflix, I would think why are they not taking a course, or learning something new to become more successful. They are so lazy.
I am choosing to push through this feeling of discomfort and instead of leaning into the new me. The person who knows she has worked her butt off her entire life, and it is more than ok to start to relax a bit and be CONTENT. My goal for this and every year to come is to “be where my feet are.” Stop looking ahead and being a slave to my never-ending “to-do” list and live in the moment. After all the past is the past, the future is not guaranteed, and all we really have is the present, so why not just enjoy it. One day at a time...
We have all heard the expression New Year, New You!
A licensed cosmetologist since 1986, Elaine has personally trained all of her own stylists and taken them from beauty school graduate to color expert in less than one year earning over $60,000 annually.