It’s a highly personal question—and one that elicits a broad range of responses when you ask a creative… or, in this case, 27 of them. As the vaccine rollout ramped up across the country, PRINT reached out to our Head of Sustainability, Brandi Parker with a simple (yet utterly complicated) prompt, offering her as much or as little room as she likes to answer:

Once COVID-19 is finally under control, how would you describe post-pandemic normalcy? In other words, as a creative, how will your “old normal” differ from your “new normal”?

Here’s what Brandi had to say…

If we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit we have been forced to face uncertainty—uncertainty that has infiltrated every possible nook and cranny in our lives beyond work. Some of us have adjusted, while others have tried or at least had a tougher time adapting to what we can. From the blurred lines of work and life to isolation and no end of the pandemic in sight—uncertainty has been the only constant.

The truth is, certainty isn’t guaranteed. Not even in pre-COVID “normal” life. It was all an illusion to justify how we were living our lives and pushing ourselves to work, create, produce and play…harder.

It’s as if COVID pulled back the covers to reveal that what we’ve been afraid of has actually been there the whole time. Like the now-spoiled reveal in that movie The Sixth Sense—we’ve all been dead the whole time. Just kidding! Well, kidding-ish. But, we were in and amongst uncertainty and could have seen it the entire time. We just didn’t want to, or more likely, weren’t in a place where we really could.

Uncertainty can be stressful. It’s been supremely stressful for those of us that still hold on to the false illusion of security, that anything out there is guaranteed. For those that did face it, we’re now in a place where we can decide if we’ll let uncertainty defeat us or empower us.

I’m letting it empower me. I’m letting the fact that I don’t know who or where I’ll be in two months drive me—celebrating the “now” instead of focusing so much on trying to control the future. How many people do you know that made a career shift, life change or a combination of the two during this time? These are folks that let uncertainty be their fuel—fuel they might not have discovered had COVID not forced the curtain to get pulled back. And so I choose to ride with this newfound energy, not against it.

A few months ago, I created a new role for myself as head of sustainability at Pearlfisher—the first of its kind agency-side, and a first for me. Who knows how it will ultimately be received by our clients and peers. That doesn’t matter right now. But what does matter now, today and into the future, is that I had the courage to make it happen, where pre-COVID, I didn’t. And it’s because I’m OK with uncertainty.

How will you let uncertainty affect you?

To read the full PRINT article and to see what all 27 creatives had to say, click here.