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Ask Elaine: Chaos is inescapable. Embrace the pivot.

(Joshua Kissi/for The Washington Post; Washington Post illustration; iStock)

Dear reader,

If it feels like you are living in a constant state of change and chaos, it’s because you are. We all are. Our work lives, love lives, social lives and the culture we occupy all look different now and — whether we like it or not — life isn’t going back to the way it was. In an era when the only inevitability is change, pivoting is more than just an overused buzzword — it has become a valuable life skill.

Among the many things school doesn’t teach is how to successfully change course with intention, integrity and a greater sense of your own intuition. As we collectively grieve and co-create a new normal, questions about how to be and what to do next plague us all.

While transitions of all kinds can be terrifying and even painful, they are also opportunities to live fully and to take hold of life’s greatest adventures. Consider this column your sounding board, your gentle push, your gut check, your sanity check, your course correction, and maybe even the straight shot, no chaser that you need to get unstuck and move forward with clarity. Whether it’s a big move, a new job, new parenthood or another life transition that has you at a crossroads, let’s chat about it and see if we can navigate necessary endings and bright new beginnings with a little less angst and a lot more ease.

Have a question for Elaine? Submit it here.

While there is no PhD in pivoting, if life experience is the best teacher, allow me to list a few of my credentials:

After spending more than a decade in New York City climbing the ranks of magazine journalism and reshaping what was once a fashion magazine for teens into a platform that prioritizes political discourse and elevates marginalized voices, I took a leap of faith to bet on myself, leaving behind the dream job that shaped my identity in many ways. I have since written a best-selling book, launched a career in television and built a more balanced life that continues to unfold with purpose and passion — and I’ve never once looked back.

At 35, I am now a first-time mom who recently delivered our beautiful but unplanned baby in an unmedicated home birth — something you couldn’t have paid me to do in my 20s. But what I learned after ditching our traditional wedding plans to jump the broom on my Brooklyn stoop in 2020 and then moving cross-country in the pandemic to purchase our first home is that life comes at you fast and finds delight in disrupting your best-laid plans.

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Read Elaine’s first column on Aug. 16.