Spending the darkest parts of the year exchanging stories is a human habit as old as time has meaning. The stories we tell ourselves, the stories we tell about ourselves, and the stories others tell us about ourselves all shape our sense of who we are, what the world is, and our place in it. Though Wittgenstein never precisely articulated his philosophy in this way, others have distilled his teachings to “words create worlds.”
We’ve all faced challenges this year, however different the faces of those challenges might look. For many of us, at times it’s felt as though the world is out of our control, that we are hapless passengers on a ship in a raging sea. But every story looks different when explored from a different perspective. We can learn new things by telling the same stories in different ways: from the perspective of your past self, or your future self, for example. By following the narrative of a symbolic object, or by having a different character narrate the action.
As we look forward to another year, I wonder what story you’d like to tell yourself at its end. How do you want the new year’s story to go, and what do you need to think, have or do in order to make that story the way that you want it? What new possibilities are there for this new year? What might you like to leave behind in the old year? What’s changed for you over the past year, and what changes do you want to invite in the new year?
From here at this inflection point between old and new, I wish you a happy and healthy 2021.