Hello 2020. For the past few weeks, as I’ve been waiting to welcome 2020, I’ve been taking time to pause, ponder and purge things once cherished, but no longer needed. It’s a bitter-sweet year-end pastime. The pausing part has been great. More rest, with less stress, has had a marvelous result of improved energy, attitude, health, and focus. I’ve enjoyed moving around the city with less traffic over the holidays, leisurely visits with family and friends in person or by phone, and taking time to actually read Christmas letters.
Ponder the Year to Come
The ponder part has me thinking about the 2020 schedule and opportunities. Several events are already planned, on the calendar, and partially secured with a deposit. Others are still evolving. We have at long last come to the year of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage.
I began the new year watching the Mayflower float in the Tournament of Roses parade. My brother and I have our reservations for the Elder William Brewster banquet set for September in Plymouth, MA. The historic fiction Mayflower Chronicles: The Tale of Two Cultures is scheduled to launch in September, 400 years after the ship sailed from Plymouth, England.
Another thing I ponder is how to best engage in our political process. This year marks a century since people of my gender were first allowed to vote. It is a privilege I take seriously, but I dread the many contentious campaign conversations that will likely dominate much of what passes for news in this era.
A Time To Let Go
The purging involves the poignant process of letting go. Letting go of expectation younger relatives want the many cherished family treasures in need of a new home as we downsize. Letting go of books and the memories they generate and their emotional connection to those who gave them to me. Letting go of outfits so old they were made in the USA before making clothes in the USA again recently became the “in” thing to do. Letting go of household items that were once part of daily or seasonal life. Letting go of the notion I might actually use them again. In reality the only time I’ve seen some of them in recent decades has been when I’ve packed them to move to a new address.
The pause, ponder, and purge process involves a thorough review of my life in my seventies. So many memories. So many possibilities. So many things. The process is daunting; but the rewards are encouraging. I’ve found mementos that remind me of the many people I’ve met. I’ve reduced files, making it more likely I can locate what I really need. During the purging process I’ve found reminders of past challenges met and overcome. That’s been encouraging.
Blogging Into The New Year
The next few 2020 HowWiseThen blogs are provided by colleagues. I hope they will inspire you to do your own pausing, pondering, and purging. Then I’ll invite you to journey with me back to the Mayflower and Wampanoag history to reconsider what and how we record and tell our collective history. Four hundred years ago two cultures met and chose to work out a treaty; a treaty that could have laid a foundation for a more equitable and peaceful society if only we’d chosen to honor the terms of that treaty.
This year we again exercise our right – and duty- to elect our President and other leaders. It is a good year to become informed voters. It is a good year to pause and re-think what we teach about our history. It is a good year to ponder how we might go forward together, including more people and doing less harm to the natural world. It is a good year to purge words, actions, and attitudes that divide us along political, economic, religious, and ethnic lines. Perhaps such purging will make room for practices and policies that truly weave us together as one nation with liberty, justice and freedom for all who call this place home.
Pause. Ponder. Purge. A good way to start a new year. Happy New Year my dear HowWiseThen readers.