I downed tools on 2020 today, deciding to stop working for the last three weeks of the year so I can rest and recharge.
It’s been an incredible year in every sense of the word; there’s been the good, the bad, and the ugly. While I don’t particularly want to rake through the negatives, I thought it might be worth sharing five things I’ve learned.
1. Don’t expect things to be easy
The man who does not attempt easy tasks but wants what he attempts to be easy, is often baffled in his wishesSeneca
There’s no point in spending your life doing easy things. For me, these are things that have been done the same way before. Instead, I want to do the difficult thing and stuff that challenges me. The problem is when I’m tired I just want things to get easier for a bit. That’s not the way it works, unfortunately.
2. Money can’t buy me love
To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want itG.K. Chesterton
My biggest problems this year have been caused by interactions with those who have different approaches to money than me. I see numbers on a spreadsheet as a means to an end. To others, it’s seemingly a yardstick by which they measure their self-worth.
3. Keep something in reserve
There is no need to show your ability before everyone.Baltasar Gracián
I think one of my biggest traps before starting therapy last year was the need to be seen as a ‘good’ person and talented at what I do. While I still prefer people to think well of me, I’m now very aware that I cannot control other people’s perceptions. Which is quite liberating.
4. Stand up for what I believe in
Respect is often paid in proportion as it is claimed.Dr Johnson
I’ve often said to my kids that people can only treat you the way you allow them to. I’m pleased to say that this year I’ve stood up against racism, bullying, and gaslighting. Hopefully that’s earned me some respect, but it’s generated plenty of self-respect.
5. We’re all in this together
Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this: that you are dreadfully like other people.James Russell Lowell
It’s perhaps a funny thing for someone to write who’s approaching the midpoint of his life, but it’s only this year that I’ve really felt that I’m similar to other people. I’m not a special snowflake, other than in the sense that we all are.
I’d like to thank the good people at Outlandish for allowing me to work with then during the second half of this year. It’s been an eye-opening experience to work with a well-run tech cooperative that goes out of its way to be inclusive, transparent, and emotionally mature.
Right now, I’m not sure where 2021 will take me. I’ve got some work to dive into immediately in the new year, but beyond that I’ll follow my values and interests.