Hey there and happy new year
The first muse-letter of 2021. 2021! That needs to sink in a bit...
This year may seem like a continuation of the last and that we're all still talking in the same language about the same topics but that doesn't mean things can't change. It's not like the clock strikes midnight and everything is different but we can use that moment in time, that very second, as a reference point. I'm not necessarily advocating new year's resolutions, more a marker, a line in the sand we can look back on to see how far we've come.
Change is something I've been thinking about quite a bit recently, how I seem to both have an irrational fear of it but long for and relish it at the same time. The fear and longing operate on different levels in my being.
I started the last letter saying I'd been changing how the blog worked and these last few days has been a direct follow-on from that. This fear of and desire for change is perfectly illustrated by how I've completely changed the blog this week from WordPress to my own custom built solution. On the one hand I have dived in head first, the geek in me has truly wanted to embrace the change and do my own thing but, at the same time, another part of me is petrified that I'm making a big mistake, looking for all kinds of excuses. Even now that the change has already occurred it's still there saying "but what about this?"
That's the very nature of change and the uncertainty it creates, we will never achieve anything new if we don't take risks so the trick is in weighing up the risk and reward. What can we gain? What can we potentially lose? What can happen if it all goes wrong and how bad can that really be? We have to be honest with ourselves and not cling to false ideals; getting comfortable is nice but can be a problem and rose-tinted spectacles are just as dangerous.
There are times when things need to change, we need to change, I need to change. Recent events have shown this more eloquently yet more grotesquely than we could have ever imagined. Hiding in the past, or even in the present, is not an option - avoiding reality doesn't work as it is always there waiting for us when we decide to resurface.
I talk (or write) about getting lost down rabbit holes but that's really only half the story, I burrow myself away with no real desire or intent to find my way out again. It's a coping mechanism, an avoidance strategy, but one that I know is not healthy or sustainable. I'm not sure if it is an autistic trait or is rooted in depression or insecurity. Possibly a bit of all three.
There are multiple layers of avoidance happening: the writing project gets in the way of study for work while the site rebuild has usurped the writing project. The lowest priority thing has risen to the top possibly because it is also the easiest. The fear of the difficult as a synonym of change has superseded everything.
And that's what I have to put right.
The holiday season has not been one for reading, in fact I had to go back a couple of letters just to remember the last book I had picked up. As has become customary, I got a new haul of books for Christmas and have vowed to start reading before bed, even if only for a short while, rather than looking at a screen. The latest tomes are as follows:
- Seth Godin's latest "The Practice"
- "The Antidote" by Oliver Burkeman
- "Emergent Strategy" by Adrienne Maree Brown
- "Atomic Habits" by James Clear
- and two from Alan Jacobs - "Breaking Bread with the Dead" and "The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction"
Plenty to keep me going.
I've deliberately not linked to any specific retailers so you can use your book seller of choice should you want to.
And that's it...
That's all from me for now. I want to get back to more regular letter this year but, as ever, am not going to hold myself to a rigid schedule if I have nothing to say.
I hope you continue to stay well and stay safe.