Greetings from the “dead of winter” in Columbus, Ohio - though the 45 degree and sunny days of January 2021 don’t feel like the usual Ohio winter, and you won’t catch me complaining.
I am resisting the urge to wish you a happy new year because, well, I am having an existential moment with the whole new year “thing”. Every year, the weeks leading up to and after January 1 hold a whole lot of reflection and hope - two things I can embrace wholeheartedly. And, I can appreciate the inspiration ignited by the fresh start of a year or month or week as much as anyone. For me, it gets a bit off course when we start longing for the “new” as if it is the antidote to all that was wrong with the “old”. In the case of a new year, it is (as my more cynical friends have pointed out), just turning the calendar page - and that isn’t going to change much about our lives or circumstances. And, how long before the “new” year is no longer “new”, anyway?
My years of working with art and antiques may be informing this opinion, but I want to suggest to you that “new” might be entirely overrated. Maybe the hopeful anticipation ignited by the prospect of “new” is misplaced. Could it simply be a blind spot for what we really desire: a restoration of the “old”? You know - the “old” that was good and happy and familiar and comfortable, before something came along to change it to unfamiliar and uncomfortable, and maybe even a little painful. There’s a reason they are called “the good old days”. Our eyes and minds may tell us we want new and fresh, but what our hearts long for most is restoration of the familiar but lost. And, friends, we can all agree that 2020 was a year of profound loss for so many in our community.
Hoping for restoration of all that we have lost is scary, I get it. So many factors are out of our control. What if the restoration is incomplete, at best? Or, what if the restoration is simply different than we would plan it? From experience I can assure you, the restoration that I could have never imagined has been far better than anything I had ever dreamed. Our finite brains have been trained to expect the worst and to avoid disappointment, abandoning adventure and possibilities in favor of a sure thing. A new thing - not necessarily a better thing.
I could be overthinking it, but I am in a season of identifying my blind spots, the deepest longings of my heart, and the ways I engage with the world in order to get them. So, as we roll over another calendar page, here is my wish for you: that in 2021 you will embrace adventure and dare to dream of an unimaginable restoration of hearts, minds, health, families, and businesses.
Happy restoration year, friends, and whatever that means for you.