2020-A Shared Illusion

I’ve been spending a bit of time on what I intended to be a retrospective post about the year 2020… but struggling. Perhaps that is appropriate, as 2020 was characterized by nothing if not struggle. Perhaps I should consider this piece on different types of alignment to be my official retrospective post, which explores some of the struggles that I experienced this year, personal and professional, and introduces some ideas about how we can better achieve alignment in our teams and lives… 

Perhaps this piece on the art of wandering downhill should be my official retrospective, exploring some of the ideas that inspired the launch of Agitare in March of this year, an effort which has seen incredible success launching a community and which has opened up new doorways for me professionally in its wake…

Perhaps I should highlight one of the several posts I shared this year about my continued journey through the process of grief in the wake of our daughter’s death…

One thing on my mind about 2020 is how incredibly varied the landscape has been–an amalgamation of both curses and blessings. The lows have been incredibly low, but the highs–higher than most.

But I’m also thinking about the fact that there is no actual categorical difference between December 31st, 2020 and January 1st, 2021. This Thursday and Friday will not be a year apart–only a single day. The same strengths will propel us. The same constraints limit us. We are the same selves, occupying the same systems, with character and construct that changes only from moment-to-moment, not year-to-year.

So instead of the same old “2020 was X and 2021 should or will be Y” narrative, what if we recognized that it is incumbent on us to do the work of making today different from yesterday and tomorrow different from today, and that change is, by and large, incremental in nature.

We could kick things off tomorrow, on December 29th, and not let the silly categorical designations of year, month, and date keep us from making the most of right now. Let’s make this hour different from the last hour. Let’s choose to make this particular minute even better than a minute ago…

The idea that the 365 days that we call 2020 was categorically different from the 365 days we’re about to kick off is a silly, shared illusion. Calendar pages do not drive change. People do, and they do it by facing and embracing the complexity of human alignment to a cause. We move forward together step by step, propelled by our own will and muscle… and that doesn’t have to be in concert with the rhythm of our solar system.

2020 was in some ways the worst year of my life, but that did not stop it from somehow also being the start of a number of things new, exciting, and wonderful, as numerous relationships and ventures were begun there which will reveal themselves to be… what?

“Surprise in infinite play is the triumph of the future over the past. Since infinite players do not regard the past as having an outcome, they have no way of knowing what has been begun there. With each surprise, the past reveals a new beginning in itself. Inasmuch as the future is always surprising, the past is always changing.” – James Carse

What comes next–the outcome of what was begun before–isn’t up to the orbit or rotation of celestial bodies. It is up to me. It is up to us.

Let’s get started.

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