Well folks, it’s been an emotional year. I know I’m not alone in feeling that way, we talk to enough people every week who come through the shop to know that people are struggling. That’s because of a very simple fact; everything is not OK.
But that’s ok.
There’s never really been a time in history where everything is ok for everyone. It just means there is still work to do.
Whatever your political leanings, this last election, the Brexit referendum and the Trump election were game changers in terms of how campaigns are fought and won. Whatever your political leanings, these campaigns are not ok and have serious implications for our digital space and privacy.
The floods and forest fires and that are all over the news are not ok. But I’ll not add to the list of things that are not ok, because ultimately I would like this to be a positive post.
All this by way of saying, there are some years that are hard to wrap your head around in terms of the nature and scale of changes that are occurring. But I’m holding to the things that time and again, pull me up by the bootstraps and return me to a state of usefulness and hope. For me, these are always inevitably small things. Layering one small thing on top of another leads to a level of resilience that is too easily corroded when I’m focussing on the macro or large scale stuff.
It may be a cliche, but i do find the time between the Winter Solstice and New Years day to be a good time for a bit of reflection on the year behind and to map out the year ahead.
I wanted to share some of my intentions (or resolutions or changes, whatever word works for you) for 2020. Some, or course, are private and just my own particular markers. No-one needs to see the full scale crazy that occupies my brain! But here are some of them. If you feel so inclined, I would really love to know what yours are.
- Invest time in the restorative side of the climate fight. For me, this means starting with my own back garden. I’ve hunted down a gardener who’s philosophy re the ridiculousness of power washing paving stones aligns with mine. I want to plant and readjust to encourage as much wildlife as possible in a small terraced house garden. I’ll also be joining in any tree planting events that arise and continuing to research mosses and other botanical bits and pieces.
- Continue to hone a digital philosophy that works for me, and for the business. Up to now, this has involved taking all technologies off my phone for a month. Now it involves assessing what things will go back on there in turn by asking 1. Does this technology support something I deeply value and 2. Is this technology the best way to support this value? (I have found this to be a really interesting process, more on this in a future blog post perhaps. These questions come from a book called “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport) Conversation over comment, always.
- Create more and find ways to share, more unapologetically. Please find a way to share whatever you do, I think we all need it.
- Put my money behind spaces that value the sharing of knowledge, ideas and balanced journalism. On a #smallgoodwage this means a couple of pounds here and there or a small monthly subscription. I have started with a couple of one off payments to my favourite online spaces- Brainpickings.org and The Guardian. As I decrease my useage of apps such as Instagram I am exploring other ways of accessing voices that you don’t hear on mainstream media (the whole reason I liked instagram in the first place)- Patreon is a good starting point.
I don’t consider them “resolutions” as such, more “processes” or a series of small things that will need refining and tweaking as the months pass. It’s incredibly likely I will let some slip and need to come back to them. But having them written down does help me.
At the risk of completely oversharing and sounding like the cheesiest person ever, I have also found it really useful over the past couple of years to have a word that I keep in mind throughout the year. If I’m making decisions, I’ll try to do it based on whether I’m acknowledging that word. If I’m contemplating an action, I will hold the word in mind. It’s not as ridiculous and woo as it sounds, but if I’ve already lost you then you better look away now, because my word for this year is, very simply
By which I don’t mean “optimism” or any other passive type of hope, I mean active hope. Something I do, rather than have and move towards at every opportunity. And then choosing it again and again.
I’m hoping 2020 will be a year of balancing small good things and slightly larger good things.