Keeping Your Dreams Alive in Chaotic Times

istock by Getty Images “Rasica”

istock by Getty Images “Rasica”

The hours left in 2018 are now well within sight and soon we’ll all count down to the very last seconds as the ball drops in Time Square marking the beginning of 2019. How do you look back on 2018? How do you plan for the year ahead? My reflections on 2018 bring a flood of emotions: Gratitude. Anxiety. Anticipation!

These are the themes that are all too familiar—in a good way. I am always ever grateful that the opportunity to do what I most enjoy continue to emerge. There is an ever-present anxiety about how best to leverage all those opportunities, however. I experience personal bouts of FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out! Like many Latinas, I manage many roles—familia (parent, spouse, daughter), board member for two organizations, dual executive roles at Impact4Health and its parent company InclusionINC and --of course-- co-founder at LatinaVIDA! As much as I got a lot done in 2018, it pales in comparison with all the anticipation I have for what I’d like to do in 2019!

The hard part about making plans for the future though is to anticipate challenges, obstacles or difficulties that sometimes appear out of nowhere.

I’m certain none of you reading this predicted the extent of instability and turmoil of the political environment we find ourselves in today. Some of you are deeply impacted because you are Dreamers. Others in the armed services may face changes in your deployment. If you are the only US citizens in your family, you may be living in fear not knowing if you may be separated from loved ones. The constant chaos and the negative messages about our culture have made it hard on all of us. I feel I’ve aged a lot these last two years! Not since my high school days when I watched the Watergate hearings after school and watched the impeachment of Richard Nixon has the political turmoil in Washington DC been such a colossal source of unrelenting disruption.

How should we navigate the year ahead? We can’t bury our heads in the sand until its over. I hope each of you seeks out meaningful ways to volunteer on any number of issues that are at the heart of the national debate. Even if you can just volunteer a few hours a month, you will find a sense of relief that you are doing something positive. Stay informed about the issues with reliable sources and make sure you are not getting news just from inside your social media feeds. Otherwise you are living in a bubble of your own curated points of views which is never a good idea. And, keep your eyes open for the disruptions that might come to your career.

When I finished my doctorate in psychology, there were enormous cut backs in social program spending by the federal government and I had to look at very different career paths than what I had expected. I was so consumed by getting my degree that it caught me off guard. Today’ economic instability points to market changes in every sector. The career you have today or planned on may change.

How to respond?

Be a lifelong learner so your skills keep growing and you remain a valued employee or take a new role that positions you for different opportunities. There are so many ways to take an online course from major universities now at edX. You might also want to look at your closest community college or university for extended education and certificate programs. Albert Einstien is noted for saying, “once you stop learning, you start dying”. His wisdom is echoed in the dichos I heard from my parents—A la cama no te irás sin saber un cosa más/Don’t go to bed without having learned one thing today. Let me know your strategy for 2019 at @savvylatinainfo or sending me an email or leave a comment here. Live Your VIDA with intention! -Maria