Hello friends and Happy New Year! I’m in the midst of extricating myself from the annual holiday stupor, which is alcohol-free these days but still full of the highly-intoxicating-in-large-doses mixture of indolence, rich food, and that general air of “fuck-it-all” one gets by year end. Also, I had the chance to be with my family for the holiday, which, while great, is its own intoxicant.
The occasion for that was not a happy one, however — we lost my aunt after a long illness. I won’t lie; it was a brutal ending to a brutal year. It’s hard enough to lose someone you love; it’s even harder to do it during a time when it’s impossible to properly gather and celebrate the life of that person. It gave me newfound appreciation for the role of this human ritual — there was a small, in-person memorial service that was streamed via YouTube, and while I’m glad we were able to at least have that, I hope to never watch a virtual funeral again.
My aunt was a teacher, lawyer, and activist who had deep roots in Northern Kentucky, and she was the kind of person who knew someone everywhere you went. When she passed, we got so many emails and calls and texts from people who knew and loved her, and whose lives she had touched in one way or another. We were and are so proud of who she was and the life that she lived.
When someone like this dies, it is impossible not to ask yourself whether your own life is one the people you leave behind will be proud of. Are you spending your time on the things that matter to you? Are you sharing your good fortune? Are you using your gifts to help others?
These are the questions I’ve been pondering as we ring in this bright new year. Weighty. Complex. Difficult. But ultimately, are there any better questions?
So YEAH! It’s a new year, which, however symbolic, gives us a clean slate. So let’s fuckin’ live it, and let’s live it well.
On that note, here are some things to think about this week.
A couple of issues ago I talked about how big of an impact working with a coach for the past year has had on my life, and how I planned to start offering coaching services myself. Here’s a bit of what I said about it:
“If you’re not familiar with coaching, it's kind of like therapy, but more forward looking/goal oriented. The main goal is to help people get out of their way to accomplish their goals. As a process, it’s all directed by the client — more than anything else, the coach helps lead them through a process of inquiry and training that helps them to arrive at what to do next.”
If you’re curious about coaching and want to learn more about the process and/or working with me, you can book a free call with me here. I’d love to help you get what you want out of 2021 and beyond.
“If the unexamined life is not worth living, it’s equally true that the unlived life is not worth examining.”
Loved this quote from a commencement speech by Parker Palmer. His “Let Your Life Speak” is a book I return to over and over. Would make a great January read.
“How different the life cycle looks if we substitute the word ‘growth’ for ageing. The word ‘age’ has become so contaminated by contempt and fear that it’s tempting to dispense with it altogether. Better, though, to try to reclaim it, detoxify it and attach it to the whole life cycle, rather than just offloading the idea of ageing onto later life. For to age is to live and to live is to age, and being anti-age (as so many products proudly proclaim themselves) is tantamount to being anti-life. By embracing age we embrace the life process itself, with all its pain, joy and difficulty. If we can cultivate a respect for our own growth, and develop the ability to greet our ageing self with both pleasure and realism, and without the need to either idealize or deride its younger incarnation, then we’re putting in place important capacities that will serve us our entire lives.”
— Anne Karpf in “How to Age.” I picked this book up when I turned 40 and have been returning to it when it all gets to be too much.
On the podcast front, this was a great episode of Making Sense that features William MacAskill, the founder of the effective altruism movement. I got a lot out of listening to this conversation between two people have thought very deeply about how to make the most of your time and money to derive maximum benefit to others.
Lyrics of the Week
You may ask yourself, "What is that beautiful house?"
You may ask yourself, "Where does that highway go to?"
And you may ask yourself, "Am I right? Am I wrong?"
And you may say to yourself, "My God! What have I done?"
It’s always a good time to watch this video.
A Tiny Reminder
The past is gone. So let it go.
…and a Tiny Assignment
Yes, yes, we’re all very excited about 2021. But it’s ok to ease into this day, this week, year. We’ll be here for a while.
I’m so glad to be back! Much love from Tiny Revolutions HQ.
p.s. Share this newsletter with someone you love and want the best for.
Hi Sara - would it be possible to email you about coaching?