The new year is all about change. We make resolutions. We start new routines. We imagine our lives changed — and that we will be the engine of that change.
What does the project of change entail? In my own life I’ve been thinking about this question a lot of late. The last few years have been filled with change. I got married. I lost my beloved father who, joy of all joys, married us a few months before he died. I decided to move my career in a new direction, and to take on the tremendous learning curve and hard work that entails. The whole world as I’ve known it has turned upside down, mostly for the better, and it’s taught me a lot about seizing the reins and letting go, all at the same time. Both are essential for change. We must take control by making decisions and backing them up with our actions, but we also have to relinquish control, remaining receptive to unexpected opportunities that may propel us forward, and to obstacles that may be redirecting us to higher ground. It’s this willingness to seize the reins and to hold them lightly that will get us where we’re going in the end. We aren’t the author of our narrative, after all, but the protagonist, and like the hero of any great movie, we will be tossed about by a fate not of our choosing, and we will have the opportunity to shape that fate with how we respond to the obstacles, and opportunities, in our path. When we make a resolution, and when then we make it so, we are engaged in this work. It is, to my mind, mighty work.