Compartmentalization: recipe for a happy new year

January 2, 2011


I have taken a month-long hiatus from my blog (and my life) because of a family member’s health crisis. Word of warning: when you become incapacitated, people learn all about every aspect of your life. I have seen the negative effects of compartmentalization in this person’s life and I’ve been thinking a lot about it.

Compartmentalization can manifest as keeping people in your life separate from one another, never integrating different friends and groups and activities, keeping secrets and tightly controlling information. Generally, I see this as harmful, hurtful and a huge waste of energy.

My Jan. 1 Twitter feed was full of challenges from authors and thought-leaders urging followers to make 2011 the best year ever. Because of the ongoing situation in my family, my immediate thought was, “Well, that doesn’t apply to me this year.” It is true that some bad shit is very likely to happen this year.

But as I pouted about that, my mind returned to the idea of compartmentalization. Can it be used for good? Can I have two 2011s running concurrently?

My first priority in 2011 is to serve as primary caregiver to my family member. I accept the role with honor and am utterly daunted by the task.

But my second, parallel 2011 contains my continued work with my career consultant. In this compartment, I’m excited and energized and I have great hopes and plans. I will remain focused toward the goal of designing my life and career in a way that aligns with my authentic self.

I know it’s just a mental construct, and the reality of my 2011 life will be fully integrated. But by holding the concept of compartmentalization in my mind, I have given myself permission to say that 2011 has the potential to be my best year yet! I wish the same for you!

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