For this last newsletter of the year, I had thought I might do some sort of retrospective about 2021, though honestly, I’m not sure what to say about this ‘interesting’ year. And then it got more interesting. On Sunday, I drove to Oklahoma planning to spend a week working with a client there. Monday morning things changed and that evening, instead of working on the newsletter, I was back in the car driving south down I-35. I needed to be home to take Peter to his emergency eye surgery Tuesday morning (so far all is well just a tedious recovery process while his retina heals). But it’s certainly not what either of us planned.
In some ways, it feels like a fitting end to what we have all experienced. It has been a year of stutter-starts, unexpected changes at home and at work, and complexity in tasks that used to be routine. It’s why today’s quote resonated with me. The quote reminds us that plans going awry can open up opportunities we never would have found otherwise. Changes in routines are healthy, even when difficult. We even have a term for it – “growing pains”.
Last week I wrote about taking stock here at the end of the year, of taking a moment to reflect on this past year before we barrel on into the new year. This week, I write to remind each of us to be gentle with that reflection, to understand that perhaps this was a year of growing pains, a year of trying new things both by choice and by necessity. Not perfect, but, possibly, a challenge needed on the way to something wonderful.
As I’ve told a couple of groups this past month as we’ve talked about change, I don’t mean that 2022 will be miraculously better. I think it will still be hard for a variety of reasons. But the work we do with our colleagues and for those we serve is still important, maybe more important when life is difficult. To quote the movie A League of Our Own, “If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.” And while the past couple of years may be pushing the limit on this idea, it’s always been true of the work we do. It’s hard, it’s important, it matters – and all of that is why it’s great.
Wishing each of you a restful break during this holiday time. Remember we are just getting to the start of the.winter season and that time of dormancy is needed for spring to happen. We all could use a little time to wind down.