Looking back to four years ago to November 2, 2016, and what has happened since then is a lot to process. At the time, news of the election outcome seemed impossible, but NPR told me time and time again on my way to work that the results were authentic. I think they may have had to repeat it so many times for their own sake as a slight quiver in their professional voices betrayed the incredulousness they were feeling personally.
When I got to work, the floors of IBM Design were mostly empty. Hundreds and hundreds of desks with monitors sat empty. A few televisions glowed blue without input—forgotten in the previous afternoon rush to celebrate an anticipated outcome promised by polling data. Normally a vibrant and jovial workplace that morning was quiet with a mounting feeling of betrayal as more and more persons emerged from the elevators—zombies returning to their desk out of habit for lack of a better place to be. As more folks filled in the space, they began to wander around common areas providing support and seeking it. Sniffling and quiet crying could be heard here and there when I made my own sojourn around the studio to check in on the folks I knew and cared for at the time. Shock and awe was all I found.
That afternoon a meeting was called wherein the executive leadership tried to help make sense of things. Historical references were made. Assurances of checks and balances assured. And a reminder that while we all felt raw and gut-punched that the world was not ending and the best in life was still ahead of us, especially if we decided to make it that way.
That was three jobs ago—three employee IDs ago. One-hundred and sixty designers. One-design class. Two thousand plus miles between where I used to live and where I live now. Two cats, who I raised from kittens to senior citizens, now deceased. Two homes—one sold, one bought. Four new iPhones. One Prince. One Petty. Two 007s. Abdullah. Christopher. And one amazing wife back living at home instead of on another red-eye to places no one really wants to live, let alone visit. A podcast. And a book, co-authored. And that’s just some of the highlights. Digging deeper would require another five-hundred words. Maybe more.
Events these days are so big and so horrible that it’s easy to forget to take a step back and reflect on the details of our personal lives. Four years ago, the world seemed over, and yet life still moved on. And in that time a lot happened—good and bad—but I would never have imagined so much. While it hasn’t always been easy, finding a way to move forward continually was the best thing I could have done.
Tomorrow it’s highly likely that a group of people will feel betrayed. More folks will be scared, frightened by what comes next—not having a clear picture of a positive future. But I want to share that if the results don’t swing your way, the world will not be over. Give things some time, take a deep breath, and put one foot in front of the other. The world is on its own agenda, but it does not have control of your life.