We declare 2020 Annus Horribilis. And we invite 2021 to be Annus Stupendous! The year 2020 dared us to be human: vulnerable, mortal, and adaptable. We realized how important laughter is to our wellbeing. And we learned that rage and grief are not one-off emotions. They are rough landscapes to travel through again and again, until we spot joy.
How has this year given you a map to find joy, even contentment, within a terrible storm?
I learned that I am more of a wild beast than a domestic creature. I thrive on spontaneity and variety, connection and travel. I used to feel bad that I needed variety, that I wasn’t focusing on only one thing in my business. But I learned in 2020 to own my need for variety and to embrace it, because it makes me happy. So I will bring that forward with me in 2021 and make it a part of my business plan. My friend discovered that she has zero tolerance for B.S. and for high heels. She wants to carry into 2021 her desire to do more things that are meaningful to her and to wear fuzzy socks in flip flops more. What will you bring forward with you?
Here’s a fun activity: Draw a map of the year as if it were a landscape, complete with what you learned about yourself.
- What were your personal peaks? What were your valleys?
- Where is the quick sand, the place you get stuck in the role of victim?
- Put an oasis on your map and label it with the things that fill you up.
- Draw a couple of rivers of curiosity. Where might they lead in 3 years?
- Don’t forget to include your home . Let it stand for relationships, too. What do you want to keep? What do you want to let go?
- What else could you put on there? The forest of uncertainty? Your 3-2-1 plan?
(I’ll send you a t-shirt if you send me a picture of your map drawn with enthusiasm and honesty to [email protected])
Life is the rarest of gifts. Time is our most precious resource. We have to honor those truths daily by living the most courageous, fulfilling lives we can imagine. To navigate what lies ahead, it helps to have a map to your true self.
If there is no way of knowing what life will hand us, why not do what you love? Why wouldn’t you ask for what you need? Or write that book, study Spanish, learn to play the flute? What stops you? Can you talk back to the voice, to that inner critic, that says you can’t?
We are much more powerful than we think. 2020 showed us that we can pivot and that we are deeply creative and capable. Choose to lean into what you love.
…to lean in the spotlight of streetlight with you, toward
What’s larger within us, toward how we were born.
Look, we are not unspectacular things.
We’ve come this far, survived this much.
What would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?
image credit: Helen Cann from her book, How to Make Hand-Drawn Maps