A New Us

When I was a child, I played a dice game at the local fair. The smell of hot dogs and cotton candy loomed above me as I sat on the bar stool, tossing the dice in hopes of winning a prize. In my tender seven years, I had never tried my luck at the booth with all the glittering prizes, preferring to spend my allowance on sweets or a doll. But there was something different in the air that day. A knowing. A prompting. An urgency to go beyond what I thought was possible. Handing the booth operator my only one dollar bill, I cradled the cup holding the dice before hurling them into the playing field. And there they were: two sixes that secured me a stuffed dog I named Scruffy. Although I have rarely won anything since that day, the unexpected exhilaration of receiving a gift so random never really left me. It fostered within me a sense of hope that sometimes things work out after all.

That feeling has come in handy in the last twelve months. For if ever there were a time to embrace the power of slow, this was the year.

Image courtesy of Priscilla du Preez/Unsplash

For most of you reading this, 2020 may have started out with high hopes and rigorous resolutions. The annual NEW YEAR, NEW YOU routine most magazines purported come January 1st seems trite in retrospect. Weight loss goals, gym memberships, the yearly promise of “doing better” somehow. By now all that commitment to self-optimization merely feels exhausting or petty or vastly unimportant.

364 days later we have certainly shifted perspective. Pain and loss, recuperation and renewal all seem to have blended into one fuzzy incoherent mass of existence. Loved ones have gone as unexpectedly as my win on that hot summer day in the late 1970s. Exuberance has often been replaced by excruciation.

In the silent vagueness that has become our lives, we march on to the beat of time. We adapt. We modify. And we look toward the horizon for yet another day on this Earth. And that is a very good thing indeed.

Not all has been lost. We have also been granted one of life’s greatest gifts: the understanding that we truly are all connected as a global community. What we do impacts not only our neighbors and friends, but others the world over. Out of that understanding, a newfound sense of humility emerges.

As a result of what Ivan Misner calls the GREAT PAUSE, we have been able to connect in ways unimaginable. Time abundance has afforded people the opportunity to meet on digital platforms such as Zoom and Skype. My daughter celebrated her 21st birthday with people in multiple time zones. I attended a meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand that never would have been possible before. Many logistical issues fell away as life became streamlined and singular. It gave humanity a chance to come together swiftly. And in many ways it did.

May that be the lesson we take with us as we flip the calendar to a new tomorrow, along with that sense of hope that indeed some things do work out after all.

Tomorrow is not only a NEW YEAR. It is also a shot for a NEW US.

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