ABC 137: That is what you mean to me
The last week of December is for two things: leftovers and reflection. Tonight, I will be serving both.
Let’s start with the leftovers. Below are the articles you clicked on most this year. I promise, like mediocre pizza, they’ve only gotten better with time.
This beautiful meditation on the art of dying (my favorite too!)
David Brook’s argument that the nuclear family was a mistake
This retrospective on how the pandemic defeated America
Now onto reflection.
Reflection is underrated. If our brains were a salad dressing, reflection would be the mustard. It’s what makes things stick.
Our short-term memory has slots for about seven items at a time. Our long term memory, however, has unlimited storage capacity. Reflection helps translate what we learn into what we remember. How cool!
Rather than send out another article, I want to end the year with some reflection. Next to the heart at the bottom of this email, you’ll see a little chat icon. There, I’ve opened up a space for community reflection on a simple prompt: What’s one thing 2020 has taught you?
Click on the icon and see what other ABC readers have written. And if you’re so inclined, add a little reflection of your own :).
See you in 2021,
P.S. The song of the week is a dreamy piano ballad, a perfect soundtrack for some reflecting. The full playlist is here.
One thing I will take from 2020 is moving more slowly. At first it felt like a constraint. There was a lot LESS. Less bopping from here to there. Less seeing people I love. Less adventures. Less security in the health of those I love. Less trust in our government. It felt like there was just less beauty and wonder. With the less-ness, I inevitably started doing less and moved way slower. Not to dismiss the very real horrible impacts of 2020, I am grateful for learning to move more slowly. I started observing flowers peeking out of cracks in the sidewalk on my walks. Rather than rushing to work, I watched the cedar waxwings eat berries outside my bedroom window when I woke up. I took in the smell of my morning cappuccino and thought about how to craft the perfect bowl of cereal. I started picking a bouquet of flowers once a week to take turns sitting in an old paprika spice jar in my room. I practiced smiling with my eyes in the mirror, and then put intention into my brief and masked interactions with strangers. What I learned from 2020 is that I can always slow down, notice, and find gratitude in the little delights in my day.
2020 felt like a year of sameness. I was forced to find new markers of the passing of time, of difference, of growth. In the absence of travel and holidays, I had the accumulation of dust and the length of my hair. But I also had plants sprouting new leaves and the cycling of books in and out of my Little Free Library. Loved ones passed, friends got married, babies were born. I made art, I grieved, I protested. Despite feeling frozen in time, life went on, and so did I.