I had a year-end post half-drafted last week, but returning to my laptop today, I cannot find it which means it must not have saved. And so ends 2020, though I can’t really blame the year for this, it’s really my fault for trusting the auto-save function.
Truth be told, though I missed out on some things this year, 2020 wasn’t terrible around here. It was quiet, for sure. We had to cancel a lot of shows and planned events. But I also benefited from skipping a ton of work and union-related travel, having Brian around more, and feeling fully accepted as a teleworker for the first time since I started working from home five years ago. I won some union cases, had the opportunity to manage my work unit for six months, read nearly 80 books, helped start a new non-profit organization, took up running, and got way stronger through the powerlifting habit established last year. I did see some friends, in smaller and more intimate settings, and I appreciated so much those moments when I did. I spent a lot of time in the woods, and by the ocean. I learned the contours of my neighbourhood one step after another.
Towards the end of the year I took stock of what had fallen away as well and started to reprioritize adding the things I’ve been missing back into my life. Writing, music, and meditation have all happened in 2020, but a bit too intermittently for any real development of my practice. I am recommitting to my creative and spiritual life in 2021 and have set aside time for all my disciplines in my weekly schedule (which means giving up goofing around on the Internet time mostly). When the first quarantine happened in March, I stopped using any daily planner, and with that, I let a lot of daily practice go. It’s been a reminder that if I don’t schedule things into my life, they don’t happen.
For the last six years I’ve done the Year Compass as a way to close out the old year and plan for the new. This year I haven’t been feeling it, so I’m not going to do it – however, I am sticking with the tradition of picking one word to carry into the new year. I have to be careful with this, as some of you know. The year I picked “Motion” I ended up making a sudden (and unexpected) move to Gabriola. This past year was guided by the word “Rooted” which I carried with irony from March onwards (not least of which because someone told me that in Australian slang, rooted means “fucked”).
This year it seems the words coming up most strongly for me are “re” words – as in “again” or “return to”. Rebuild, restore, recommit…. and finally I’ve settled on “Renew” because I feel that it most signifies my desire for the year to come. I would like to renew my creative and spiritual practice, which are increasingly entwined. I would like to renew the musical shows at Birdsong, not to mention my commitment to promoting musicians and music through launching a songwriting residency program. And I would like to inhabit beginner’s mind in all things, thus coming to each and everything as new again – a practice essential to survival in 2021 and beyond.
I don’t believe 2021 or the years that follow are going to be any “easier” or “better” but I do remain committed to living the best life I can despite what happens next. My New Year’s wish for all of us is to do better together and for each other as we step over the doorsill into another unknown year ahead. If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that we need each other more than ever – and so I am grateful for each and every day I spend with each of you. xoxo Happy New Year!