I think most people will agree that 2020 was one of the most challenging years we’ve experienced in living memory. People have been waiting with bated breath for 2021 to begin as a way to gain closure on the big messy year that has been and start afresh.
It’s funny because nothing really changes. There is likely to be a few weeks when you accidentally write 2020 down as the date but 2021 will be the new normal soon enough.
I remember when I first moved to Australia and got my first real design job, I was 23 maybe and I was working with a guy who was in his 50’s. As we both sat outside on smoko one day he told me to beware as the older he gets the quicker the years pass. Being 23 I was like ‘that’s deep Geoff, now, can I borrow your lighter please?’
15 years later I know realise what he meant. The older you get the faster each year seems to fly by. Being a parent makes this even more obvious with your children acting as tiny human rulers that constantly remind you that time is passing the bigger they get.
Kids also give a different perspective of time since they have lived only a few short years. Remember how long school holidays used to go for? I know that making a 3 year old wait for 10 minutes can be excruciating.
So how do we regain our control over time? How do we live a more valuable existence where a day feels like a day and not just an ever changing number on the calendar app?
I don’t know.
I’m on holiday and have no idea what day it is so I’m probably not in the right frame of mind to be tackling such philosophical questions. I have had a few White Russians though so I’ll give it crack!
It’s about being present.
To stop and acknowledge things as and when they happen.
2020 certainly gave people (especially in Victoria) a forced chance to slow down. While lots of people really suffered with the forced isolation, lots of people reported new found connections to the people they live with. People weren’t able to rush around doing ‘stuff’ - School, gym, supermarket, dinner, lunch, brunch…
People started to question what was important and being forced to reset has given lots of people more clarity on how they want to spend their time moving forward. Less saying ‘yes’ for the benefit of others and more listening to yourself and your own needs and wants.
Here are a few ideas that might help make the passing a more tangible thing…
A friend on LinkedIn the other day said she had been doing a gratitude journal where you write down 10 points each day that you’re grateful for. The aim of this exercise is to shift one's mind set from only focusing on the negative to having to (sometimes forcefully) acknowledge the positive. I imagine the flow on effect of this exercise would be that you find yourself doing more positive things just to meet that day’s quota.
Learn a new skill. Something totally unrelated to anything - and hopefully something you’ve always wanted to do. Nothing quite like starting as an amateur, and seeing your skills improve over time. The long game is incredibly rewarding. I started to learn guitar for this very reason, but you could learn a language (Te Reo Māori is on my list) or learn to roller skate even. It doesn't have to be intense, just 10-20 minutes every couple of days. By the end of the year you’ll hopefully notice a marked improvement.
Celebrate everything! Why not? Good feedback from work, a new client, getting up for school on time. Stopping and taking a moment to say - listen something just happened and I’m kinda proud of myself or I’m so impressed by you and that thing you did! It’s so simple and it can really change the tone of the day.
As we start 2021 I hope that you manage to spend more of your time doing the things that inspire you with the people you love! We have one chance to live today so you might as well enjoy it.
Note: The internet was pretty terrible on holiday so this week's video is one of my all time favourites about pricing creativity. My font of the week is Eina which is the font I use for The Design Dept and my podcast of the week is one I’m looking forward to! Artwork for this bulletin was done by Alice when I was trying to write this and she wanted to draw on the iPad!
Happy New Year!