As we approach the new year, we light our hopes that 2021 will be very different from 2020. In 2020 we have endured things we didn’t anticipate: uncertainty, conflict, loneliness, virtuality.
In 2021, we look forward to savor things we never imagined going without: smiles, embraces, flirting, dinner parties…
As we prepare to cross this threshold, let us also mine this experience for its inadvertent treasures: the things we experienced by slowing down, the clarity we gained by identifying what is essential, the simple pleasures we had overlooked, the inspiring innovations that have been stimulated all around us, the hard questions we have had to work through, the projects we had time for, the friendships rekindled, the serenity imparted by letting go of things.
One of many difficult gifts of this year has been responsibility: for things we carry that can affect others, for taking initiative, for taking care of ourselves, for listening (to science, to Black people, to our bodies and intuition).
As your friend, I ask that you do not cross this threshold passively, in hope, but actively, with a new vision. (In fact when I looked for images of a “threshhold” I discovered that it’s a complicated joining that requires careful construction.) This year we have seen our fragility, we have lost control over our lives, we have surrendered freedoms and privileges. And we have also decided what to do, what we can do, how to protect, how to connect, how to live.
In my closest circles, two friends have planted their first vegetable gardens, three have started buying their food direct from farmers, three have let go of businesses or relationships that weren’t working, two have committed resources to creating home,
The trick is that where we confront limitations we also meet our power. Among our powers are: to reach out to friends, to spend money with endangered small businesses, to use solitude to take care of things we tend to deprioritize, to focus freed time and energy on training away bad habits and developing new skills, to cultivate and express gratitude.