Grey Is The New Black—Navigating the New Now


First of all, is it Gray or is it Grey? According to Grammarly, it is either, depending on where you live, which metaphorically fits beautifully with this uncertain GrayZone that we are living in now. How are we supposed to navigate the GRAY/GREY when we are not even sure how to spell it?!

As the world slowly, unsteadily, and incongruously begins to inch its way out of quarantining and into some sort of “normalcy,” most of us still feel a good amount of anxiety around the best way to run our lives right now. With the national and state governments giving us inconsistent messages about how society should progress, some decisions are made for us and many we need to make on our own. Being intentional about how we make our decisions as we guide ourselves, our families, and our businesses through this unknown territory is no small task. It takes courage to lean into your values, seek input from those you trust most, and use your best judgment to steer your ship or ships through the remainder of this unpredictable storm. 

Like most of us, I am navigating this (feel free to insert chosen prefix)-storm on a personal and professional level, and digging deep (sometimes with the help of Rose’) to lead my family and  ModernWell in a safe and responsible manner. And quite frankly, my issues around perfectionism and control are kicking my butt right now as perfection, certainty, and control are NOWHERE to be found! We are smack dab in the middle of the murky gray zone, whether we like it or not!  I have an endless loop of questions that continue to beg for answers, oftentimes at 3 a.m., that include but are in no way limited to:

  • How can I best serve our ModernWell members and keep them and our staff safe?
  • How has this pandemic affected the ModernWell community? 
  • What will happen to the co-working community at large? 
  • What will happen to group gatherings and events? 
  • How do I keep my four kids healthy and safe in body and mind?
  • How is this isolation affecting their mental health and what kinds of lingering effects will this pandemic have on them in the future?
  • When will my 16-year-old be able to finish her behind the wheel lessons and get her driver’s license?
  • How is it going to feel to attend my son’s drive-thru graduation?
  • How does my son really feel about “the loss” of his closure from high school?
  • Will my son be able to attend college in the fall?
  • Will my daughter return to high school in the fall?
  • Will my son be able to keep his job of being a counselor of an overnight summer camp this summer? If not, what will he do?
  • How will my daughter find a job this summer now that her travel program is cancelled?
  • When will my two adult children who are now living at home be able to return to their apartments, jobs and lives in New York and Chicago?
  • When will my husband be able to return to work? Resume work travel?
  • Will my parents and mother-in-law stay safe and healthy?
  • How are parents with young children who are working full time jobs while home schooling and caring for their kids keeping themselves healthy and sane? 
  • How are those who are living near, at, or below the poverty line and those who are most marginalized among us feeding their families and holding onto hope?
  • What can I do to help?
  • How many more people will get sick and die?

Yes, welcome to my mind. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. I did not include the even deeper and often darker existential thoughts that also get sprinkled into the mix periodically. As a person who is forever curious, exhaustingly analytical, and who spends a questionable amount of time grappling with super light and uplifting types of questions like: why are we here? what is our purpose? and what does this all mean?, times of massive uncertainty like this are especially challenging.

While I am certain I have more questions than answers, as it seems to be the case for most all of us, politicians and scientists included, there is one question that probably needs to be at the top of everyone’s list: What can we do to keep ourselves from getting stuck in a negative, fear-driven, blame-inciting analysis paralysis spiral right now?

As I listened to President Obama address the 2020 graduates, he gave the graduates three main pieces of advice, which apply to all of us to all of us right now:

  1. Don’t be afraid.
  2. Do what you think is right.
  3. Build a community. No one does big things by themselves. 

So, as I navigate the many unknowns that swirl in my mind and create the extra heart palpitations that sometimes wake me in the middle of the night, I go back to my what has become a huge part of my life’s mission—To create a community where people can be inspired to reach for their dreams, take good care of themselves and one another, and feel a sense of groundedness and connection. I am committed to serving my family and the ModernWell community in the best way I know how—with love, care, commitment, and a very hefty dose of overthinking and heart-filled passion! 

For all of us navigating this GrayZone and our own sets of questions, remember to continue taking deep breaths, and be kind to yourself and others. Trust me, I know that this is easier said than done, but making our way in and through this uncomfortable time is what we are called to do right now. So says Brene’ Brown, who also points out that uncertainty is a main component of vulnerability, and from vulnerability comes courage. In her book, Braving The Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone she writes, “The definition of vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. But vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our most accurate measure of courage. When the barrier is our belief about vulnerability, the question becomes: ‘Are we willing to show up and be seen when we can’t control the outcome?”

So friends, as best you can, keep showing up. Show up with your uncertainty and vulnerability. Allow yourself to be seen. For yourself, for your family, for your business, for your community. Know that I am right here with you in the GrayZone and please remember these five important take-aways:

  1. Uncertainty is the new certainty.
  2. We are uncertain how to spell grey/gray.
  3. Gray is the uncertain space between black and white.
  4. Gray certainly goes with everything.
  5. So therefore, gray is most uncertainly the new black.

Stay safe and stay healthy!


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