Lifestyle Opinion

My Authentic Journey: Apart but Still Together

Courtesy of Jeannette Dardenne

Experiential stories that revolve around the importance of being authentic to not only yourself but to those around you. After years of never finding the time to ‘stop and smell the roses,’ Jeannette is unearthing many of her passions including writing, fashion, and thrifting through her online blog ‘My Authentic Journal’ (formerly called ‘The Vineyard Life’) – a creative outlet that allows her to share, learn, and grow with others. You can explore more of her stories at @jeannettepdardenne on Instagram or www.myauthenticjournal.com.

By Jeannette Dardenne

This has been a strange year; a time of closures and awakenings, of limits and discovery.

Now it seems that the possibility of connection is once again on the horizon.

In one fell swoop, recognizing our combined vulnerability, we locked ourselves into a tight, packaged, non-inclusive bubble. Life almost fell … backward.

At first the directions were unclear; we did not know how to protect ourselves and the ones we care about. We did not know how to maintain the resources, the income, the connections we needed. Speaking to friends, family members, and colleagues, I heard the emotions that rumbled through their minds for the long months of uncertainty. We were in this together.

Yet, from the chaos, a new set of skills were brought to life. Slowly, from out of uncertainty we listened and found our footing. We are resilient. We have the ability to do so much with<in> so little. We took a step back and reconsidered.

Directing our minds to reformat the usual routine of freely running around from thing to thing, place to place, person to person, a new path emerged. Shopping, travel and gathering turned to online sites. Browsing unfettered became cautious jaunts to the supermarket, bank, restaurant, park; carefully choreographed “adventures.” Stepping outside our four walls entailed maintaining distance within a safe bubble. We could/can do this.

Life changed for us, for all of us. But, acting together as a “united” front, we experienced this strange year, this strange time together. Living it, we know that this time will be talked about for years to come. We are learning more and more about both the fragility and strength of life as we emerge into the light. Our friends, our business partners, our family, our children will each recall this time in their own way. The long-term effects, unknown to us now, will surely be noted in memory and history books.

So how do we rejoice as the walls come down? How do we stand together? How do we breathe in deeply as we walk into the future? How do we let the light and laughter of the outside world into our personal space?

Time … will … tell.

Finding strength within and from one another, we will take comfort in knowing that the bubble will burst, the walls will come down and we will move on together. The possibility of connection is definitely on the horizon. It begins cautiously, but certainly.

Jeannette Punsoni Dardenne is an entrepreneur who started the popular Facebook group @eatinconnecticut – a community forum that connects foodies and the food and beverage industry for delicious conversations. She and her business partner now together run @eatinconnecticut and INGroup Creative – a public relations and marketing company that helps small businesses thrive. Jeannette is also a business advisor at the University of Hartford Entrepreneur Center & Women’s Business Center. When she isn’t helping others, she enjoys exploring the state and beyond with her husband and two children.

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