Back to work – 2020 is awaiting!
This year is promising to be fabulous. I am starting this blog by extending to you my wishes of happiness and health, fun and growth.
Last year was a bold year. I think the sad experiences of losing a few dear ones at the end of 2018 prompted me to reflect on “the meaning of it all”. It was easy to succumb to the sadness of passing, looking back and reminiscing, but it was also important to shake the mild depression that followed and embrace what was in front of me. But, embrace it on my terms.
I got myself a bracelet – a source of laughter and, at times, semi comfortable chuckles for those who saw it – a nice silver trinket that says “f**k it” with a lovely design. It has become a tool for empowerment, a reminder for me to care a bit less, to live life with a tad less intensity and to choose the battles that I fight. The permission to be gently rebellious, assert my needs, and make choices based on what is truly important and worth fighting for.
In 2020 I will still be wearing this bracelet. Literally and figuratively speaking. And I am inviting you to do the same. I think it is healthy for us to decide where the boundary is between being genuine, true to self and acquiescing to the demands (real and imagined) of the world around us. I think we can safely say that the demands on us will become only increasingly more, and so, having a tool, a trick, a reminder of boundaries can make the relationships we nurture only healthier and the choices we make a bit easier.
The fad of Marie Kondo has touched me as well. While reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin a few years back, I noticed a similar trend. An empty closet can create a space – not only in the closet. The calm and joy that follow allow for a different way of thinking, openness to diverse perspectives and the creativity to come in. So, because it’s the New Year – how full are your closets? Are you busy with activities that don’t generate any value or provide joy? Are you willing to walk away?
Paolo Coelho said: “Trust people but remember: salt also looks like sugar.” In the spirit of de-cluttering and courageous boundary setting – are all your friends your friends? Are all your colleagues, partners, associates, clients the people with whom you want to be connected? Kill the relations that are toxic and be thoughtful about how you invest in those around you. At times, look at your “bracelet” and courageously walk away.
My personal need to give back is very high and having the luxury to be heavily involved in philanthropy is something that I value dearly. Last year, I assumed more senior roles on a few Boards. Being connected to something larger in my life gives me tremendous satisfaction and reminds me of my moral compass. I think we often live so fast that this aspect of higher purpose may get secondary attention. But, if you feel lost, too busy and are lacking a roadmap – helping a cause can help. And there are so many causes that need our attention. This year, you might want to consider, if the community aspect is missing in your life, to join a Board, a Board Committee, or contribute in any other way to something that compels you.
By the end of 2019, I obtained a third-degree black belt in karate. The process of working towards it, outside of years of practice, took four months and was very demanding. My body ached all the time, the stress of being tested weighed heavily on me almost daily. But I mention this not because I now have a shiny new belt. I mention it because this period represented focused challenge and learning. Karate, the conscious practice of practicing, the focus and challenge of pushing my limits and the appreciation of the responsibility of carrying a sandan black belt is thrilling. It was the learning and having the learning tested that made it so meaningful. It was the effort of striving to be the best, showing my personal best, persisting through the pain and humbly accepting the feedback that made it so great. I want to learn more in 2020. What do you want to learn? Where does your need of mastery, discovery and learning take you this year? How do you feed your hunger? This is the time to choose. Or, remind yourself that it is great to be uncomfortable and stretch yourself.
Lastly… I discovered the chai latte. It has quickly become an excuse to steal a few minutes of comfort and happiness when the days are crazy busy. And 2019 had a lot of the crazy busy days. 2020 will be crazy too. I think crazy is the new norm. One of my favourite jokes of 2019 was a mother telling her kid: “Dear, normal is just a setting on the washing machine.” If that is the case, carving out time for a moment of coziness and love can have an incredibly positive impact on self-love, allowing you a moment to slow down, re-energize, reinvigorate and start the next moment with a content smile and enthusiasm.
Happy New Year – may it be fabulous!