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There is something that I've learned from the recession. Something important to my life and perhaps something others have experienced.  

There is a "Used To Be" part of my life and a "Now There Is" part of my life.  

IT USED TO BE....  

It used to be    I had a routine each day: Get up at 5:30am, Go to the gym / walk the dogs, Get ready for work, Go to work, Manage my team/clients/projects/(bosses), Travel to/from meetings, Socialize/Network, Go home, try to Relax and begin all over again the next day.  

Then   the recession hit, and hit hard.  I, like many others, became a casualty of the poor economy. Since I'm in the design/construction industry I knew it could happen, correction would most likely happen, so I prepared. I gathered all my project examples, photos and contacts and began thinking of my options.  

I realized that on that cold January day, I was set free . Free from a daily routine that wasn't what I truly wanted any longer; one that I physically and spiritually suffered from. I mean who in their right mind would want to have my 'used to be' routine, working 60+ hours a week for someone else?  I am now Free to do my own thing; Free to be responsible for my own journey, not just my journey within the boundaries of the corporation.

Almost immediately, I felt the pressure being lifted. I no longer had to work an enormous amount of hours and feel the economic stress pressures of someone else's firm.  If I am going to feel the stresses and work the long hours, it's going to be on my terms, my schedule and for my benefit. Something I've always wanted to do, but hadn't found the time or perhaps just didn't push myself or even had a slight fear about.  

NOW IT IS...  

Now it is a different routine each day: One that I decide and look forward to each day. My day now begins with the calmness of a summer's day breeze. I still get out of bed by 7am (although I have to confess that I sometimes sleep in until 8), go to the gym and walk the dogs; however now I take the time to sit outside with a glass of iced tea and watch the birds at the feeders. I'm seeing different birds that I hadn't seen before because I was already at the office by 7am. By 9am I'm at the computer online looking for a new job (even though I'm starting my own company, I may need to keep my options open) and networking via email/LinkedIn, setting up lunches/ meetings with colleagues. My afternoons are what have really changed. I allow myself the freedom in my schedule (mainly Thursday and Friday) to do things I never had time for (at little or no cost) – long hikes with my dogs, going to the park, painting and pastels, sketching city scenes, taking pictures and actually posting them for friends and family to see, go to the movies in the afternoon (the best!) and Facebook - never thought I'd do that, but I've reconnected with some long time friends I've missed.
Sure, I have the financial pressures of being unemployed and a lagging economy isn't helping; however I am a much happier and relaxed person. I feel like I did before my 'used to be' life.

The most important thing I've learned from the recession is how I choose the now and the marathon path ahead. And finally, above all, my 'Now It Is' will always be more important than the 'Used To Be'.



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