Living in the Interstitial Space between 2021 and 2022

Eleanor Allen
4 min readDec 29, 2021

I am spending the end of 2021 surrounded by gorgeous snow-covered mountains in Colorado. While we have been enjoying a sunny and unseasonably warm winter in Denver, the snow has (finally) started falling in the mountains. We need snow in the mountains (so we have water in Denver next summer), and I am grateful to be here now in this winter wonderland. Being out of my normal routine here in the Rockies, I feel time is in slow motion. I am in the interstitial space between a year that is ending and a year that is beginning. The mountains always welcome me and invite me to self reflect. The other day a friend asked me: “What will your next chapter of life be about?” I hadn’t thought about it much up until that point. I have thought about it since I arrived here. I am now looking forward to writing this new chapter of my life and being the protagonist.

Colorado Winter Wonderland

About three months ago I announced that I would be stepping down as CEO of Water For People once a replacement is selected in the spring of 2022 (see my October blog post about this decision). Then I began looking for a new job. At first it was daunting. How do I start? I have only switched jobs three times in my life and only looked at one new job each time, which I got. I didn’t have experience searching for a job. I didn’t have a current resume. I also realized I did not follow a traditional career path and had put together quite an eclectic collection of professional experiences at this point. What should I do next to round out my career? Do I go back to engineering? Do I stick to nonprofit and global development? Can I somehow combine all these experiences to continue to pursue my personal purpose: improving the quality of life for people and the planet? I have concluded that yes, I can do any and all of these things. I am currently looking at several exciting and distinctly different jobs — any of which would be a great role and a welcome opportunity. I am confident that I will find something in the next few months that will officially begin the next chapter of my life. I am not in a rush; I am looking forward to this new door of my life opening and walking through it.

These last few days I have been enjoying snowshoeing with my husband as the kids hit the slopes on their own. We have officially retired our skis and snowboards. No lines. No people. No cost. Quiet, relatively flat, and blissful mountain trails are fit for our purposes. We enjoy the solitude, the nature, and each other. I am grateful that we still have fun together — with and without our kids. As I allow my imagination to paint images of what is coming my way during this next chapter of life, many of the experiences I envision are with my husband. I can’t wait! He is still the love of my life and my companion in adventure — just like he was on our wedding day almost 29 years ago.

We had the mountains all to ourselves

My friend also asked me: “What will you do during this next chapter? Do you aspire to write your memoir?” No. I do enjoy writing — sometimes — like now, when I have something to say. I also like to write other people’s stories. I documented my mother’s life last year. I am currently documenting Water For People’s 30 years. My own memoir? No thanks. Other writing? Maybe.

In response to my friend’s question about what I will do in my next chapter, I thought about what I chose to do in my free time now. I like taking pictures. I like spending time with my family. I like putting together photo books of our adventures together. I like being with my dogs and training them. I like painting. I like reading. I like cooking. I like riding my bike. I like being with friends (my love language is Quality Time). I like meditating. I am getting more spiritual (not more religious) as I get older. I can enjoy just sitting (ideally in nature) for long-ish periods of time. Thinking. Contemplating. Practicing mindfulness. Reflecting. I anticipate that 2022 will bring opportunities to do all these things plus accomplish my new job successfully that I will (hopefully) like too. I am looking forward to starting 2022 with a renewed commitment to positive impact, empathy, and optimism for the future.

What is your next chapter going to be about? When will it start? What is important to you? How do you spend your “free” time? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Eleanor Allen

Passionate about making the world a better place. Chief Everything Officer (CEO) of Catapult For Change, PBC (www.catapultforchange.com).