And so, we woke up, and it seemed the New Year had begun. Without even being sure that the last year had really passed, we all said a clipped and questioning 'Hello?' to 2021, coupled with a few furtive glances in the rearview to make sure 2020 was really behind us. My, what a strange 365 it has been.
A year where empires shook, and some fell; where millions around the world were felled by something that didn't even exist a short 52 weeks ago, Where streets shook with the foot fall of protests, and the sky itself seemed willing to set fire to large swaths of earth purely as some kind of perverted cosmic joke.
Art by: @simply_katy
And at the same time, a year where families rediscovered one another; where people started talking openly about mental health; vaccines were developed in record time, and BandAid finally figured out that the color 'nude' is actually a spectrum of pigments. Humans all around the world learned precisely how connected each of us are, and in ways big and small, they reached out to help one another.
A year where humanity rose and fell in the same breath.
Yet still, for the overwhelming majority of us, 2020 was the year where time stood still. Achievements, dreams, travels, careers, love. When the world went into lockdown, so it seems, did the multiplicity of each life within it. And so when the clock struck midnight last night, many of us - locked down, with nothing to do and nowhere to go - couldn't help but wonder 'did the year actually happen?'
But before this year gets tucked away into a drawer filled with a million light blue face masks and empty bottles of hand sanitizer, before it disappears into the ether of our memories and the 40 minutes on the giant zoom chat that was 2020 expires, we want to stop for a moment and take stock.
At the end of this year, who are we really, what did we do, and where are we going? Thus, TLP's Questions for a New Year. Because while 2021 might not have all the right answers, it can at least start with the right questions.
1) What are the three most memorable moments of the past 365 days of your life?
2) What are the three things you would like to change in the coming year that are within your control?
3) What are the three unexpected things you learned about yourself in the past 365 days?
We ask about the most memorable moments because they don't have to be the best, or the brightest. They don't even have to be happy. Sometimes what we take away from a year, and what most defines us moving forward, can be the most terribly mundane thing, but one that offers us perspective.
We ask about the things you want to change about the coming year because regrets do little to remind us of the fact that change is in fact possible, especially within our own lives. We each have agency; how we build the narrative of our lives may not be entirely in our own hands, but it may not be entirely out of them either. This question is our annual reminder of that simple fact.
We ask what we have learned about ourselves to remind ourselves that we are always growing, always evolving. be open to the joy of finding new versions of yourself, and never grow tired of exploring your identity, your dreams, and the world around you. This question shows us that whether we are 9 or 90, we are always able to surprise ourselves and those around us.
Don't worry, this isn't a test. You won't be getting points for your answers, and there are no gift baskets for the 'winner.' Read them through, chat through them with a friend, or post your answers. Or consider them quietly and take the moment to reflect on what these past 365 days have meant to you. They are simply one way we have found we have found to pause, reflect, and enter the new year with more intentionality - more conscious of our decisions and who we choose to be with each year, each day.
Wishing each of you a very Happy New Year from all of us,
The TLP Team