At the beginning of 2021, I wrote An Open Letter To The Year Ahead with a sense of foreboding and an ounce of optimism.
I was looking forward to leaving 2020 behind, thinking I was entering a better one. I was not entirely wrong...but not entirely right, either.
My message to the incoming year was:
2021 - don’t go crazy. You’ve outdone yourself and we got the message. Be gentle. Be ordinary. That’s all that we ask of you.
2021 turned out extraordinary, but then, every year proves itself to be extraordinary in the end. Did you realize that? No year in our lives is ever the same.
A message to the year ahead
Aside from the progress we've gained from the past year with vaccines, I've seen more people getting into the 'other side' of things.
The other side of their interests, personalities, shifting careers and mindsets, changing directions. Not to say that this hasn't been difficult, but the pandemic's biggest gift - or revelation - to us (if you can call it that) was opportunity.
We saw windows of opportunity to open a business, to get to know people we live with more intimately. We had more time than ever, and we used time wisely enough (at last!) to achieve one or two goals that we never made time for. This article mentions how quickly small businesses rose with a small capital, and no other equipment but a computer.
I know a make-up artist who started taking up design, a gymnast who is now making and selling his art. A single mom re-discovered her love for cooking and opened a small restaurant. A friend published her first children's book. Even Taylor Swift re-recorded Red, something no other artist has done before.
Those opportunities were new passions, jobs, and relationships, even.
This is the year to carry on.
To those who missed these opportunities, it is never too late.
Here's what Seth Godin says about opportunities, "The new economy is based on abundance of ideas and access. The abundance mindset creates goods that can be shared. We create ideas that do better when people share."
We get ideas and opportunities from our vast network. When we share, look at other people's work with respect and admiration, and stay humble enough to receive, the sparks fly.
Any day is a good time to begin.
A new story
We may have been battered by the last 2 years, but listen to what Godin says about gaining back our power:
"The story we tell ourselves belongs to us and only us. It’s entirely possible that someone selfishly or thoughtlessly put a story there. It’s possible that there isn’t enough empathy or fairness or opportunity. But once we see that we’re able to own our story, we gain a huge amount of power. And we retain that power for as long as we refuse to hand it over to someone else."
We can be the victim or the victor, we can be the giver or the receiver, or both. We can magnify the disappointments, look back in gratitude, or simply carry on.
Which story will you make this year?