People thought I was nuts while all hell seemed to be unleashed all at once. But I have seen this before. No, not the dust bowl Grapes of Wrath… I’m not THAT old. But I do watch a lot of old movies, and that one just recently.
Everything we Americans knew and took for granted went up on the chopping block. Homes foreclosed. Suddenly real estate investments that had been the solid American dream were no longer. Jobs evaporated and many Americans felt humiliation and shame for the first time--but soon it was clear that they were not alone, and the shared experience became a leveler for the first time. Thousands scrambled just to hang on to what they had, to no avail, as many watched all they’d worked for disappearing.
Lest you think I was somehow insulted--not at all. Naturally, the last thing on people’s minds were decorating their houses. The design goods market came to a screeching standstill. You could bowl in the aisles of now overstocked retail stores because the last thing people were thinking about was buying pretty things for their decor. Furniture stores that had been in business for generations went belly up. Manufacturers of home goods closed their doors. Even TV got out of the lifestyle business, save only for HGTV, who was stuck there and who reordered their lineup to offer shows that didn’t decorate but were all about how to sell, stage or liquidate.
I still held to my belief that a renaissance was pending. I saw the early earmarks. I took it as a sign to retrench, rethink and wait to see how the next years ahead would change Americans who would now go though the most relevant shared experience in decades.
We’ll, we’re here now. Limping a bit but on the other side. We’ve looked at the jobs we do and did in a different way. We’ve prioritized what our new ‘essentials’ are. We’re going inward more than before, giving ourselves permission to see ourselves in a clear light.
However I worry that in our amazing resilient, adaptive way, we truly understand where we are (smack dab in the middle of new possibilities) and don’t settle out of reverberating shell shock. I hope that what we’ve been through doesn’t have the reverse effect that it could, that it doesn’t lower our expectations for ourselves with the thinking that to just be stabilized is good enough. I hope that having been slapped down a bit, with greater understanding of humility and the rebooting of our core values, we also remember that we are in fact now entering into a rare renaissance phase pregnant with new and vital opportunity.
It’s a time where more aerial thinking can move us farther ahead than ever before, where the internet can finally help us find the niche communities we didn’t know were out there. We can use the web to explore ideas and garner support for our dreams versus simply talking about them or criticizing others ambitions. Instead, use the web to find others who have gone for their dreams and ask them how they did it.
A Renaissance is the ideal time to ask ourselves what it is that will make us happy, fulfill us better. It often ushers in a new age of entrepreneurialism where we can finally muster the courage to invest in our personal desires (having less to risk with more receptivity than has been in the ethers in a long time). Where we take those long-buried big ideas we thought were so ‘out there’ and put them back on the front burner again.
If not now, then when?
The next four years will be pivotal. What happens right now will set precedence for a very long time. But the renaissance window of innovation, clarity and receptiveness will not stay open long, so I encourage every one of you to use the time wisely.
Want to go to chef school? Want to start an online business? Want to work on your own and be the master of your own destiny? Now is the time to do more than just think about it… really explore those ideas that keep coming up. If something strikes you, start by Googling it! Reinvention starts with curiosity and a single question and the desire to know the first answer that will lead to the next… and then the next. If not now, then when?
You can do it!