When I started to think about a year end episode for JOY, I found the whole exercise to be quite daunting. And also, fuck off. I mean can we all agree that just surviving is enough right now? Do we have to put ourselves through the task of re-evaluation right now this second? Not to mention to do so at a time of year that for all intensive purposes is like the worst possible time to do it. Yeah, let’s reevaluate our life right after a major string of holidays that are real fucking triggering for a lot of us. It’s kind of hilarious actually. If we look at the facts, the new year is the worst time to put ourselves through this gauntlet of aspirational self discovery. I wouldn’t wish that emotional torment on my most worthy adversary. In my house between October and New Years we celebrate multiple scorpio birthdays, as if that isn’t enough, thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. The quick turnover of themed signage decor alone is enough to cause vertigo. Not to mention the fist pumping adrenaline rush reality of fulfilling holiday orders for my product based business in Q4. All fun and worthy of an 80’s work song montage but the kind of fun that involves intense planning and a lot of work. To be honest, come New Year’s my only goal is to be left the fuck alone with some luxury skincare products. So if you are out there thinking you need to have a plan for 2022, or a word - don't you just love those? - or a theme, a manifestation, an organizational system, on and on. Okay. Great. Goals are good. Write those down and maybe look at them again in a month or so when you don’t feel so vulnerable. It’s by design to keep us spending and feeling unworthy after a major holiday that keeps us spending and feeling unworthy. It is put upon us. Your goals are not an emergency. They can wait until you shake off the end of 2021. Take a deep breath. Here we can do it together. 

I read the following on a skateboarding account on IG last week. It is a quote by German philosopher Meister Eckhart and it goes like this, “Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” This stopped me in my tracks. It’s BIG. Really BIG. I mean, what if? SO many things. First I love the idea of willingness. It alludes to the fact that being a beginner, embracing that perspective is an action. An agreement to be green, new, unknowing, to start. And also, it’s hard. Beginnings are exciting, but also require work. We must push through all the doubt, our shadow, our past, to have faith that the discomfort of this beginning will yield something good. In a sense, this agreement is an act of faith. And for it to be one that we recognize is possible every single day. That’s awe. To acknowledge that just yesterday is the past. Now fixed. But now, right now, we can be new at something. Anything. And to guess that we have the capacity to be  humble and be in a space of not knowing. Sometimes surrounded by people who are knowing. Or at least knowing just a little bit more than us. 

It made sense to me that this quote appeared in a skateboarding space. The act of being a beginner every morning is a promise realized through skateboarding. It took me a while to understand that skateboarding is being. Not doing. Those four wheels always keep you a beginner. There is no full mastery. Even for the masters. But we do it anyway. We make the agreement that it is worth the discomfort of always being a beginner because it is simply the most fun one can have. And that maybe that’s the whole point. 

But you don’t get to the other side of that equation without trying. Something, anything. Curiosity is the catalyst that enables the analysis of the equation. Is this more fun, helpful, enlightening, liberating, inspiring, helpful than the discomfort that comes with being a beginner? My personal experience points to that answer almost always being yes. 

So instead of a word, or a challenge, or a brand new something or other that we hope will satisfy in the new year, what if we just decide to be a beginner. At everything or at just one thing. Maybe it’s being a beginner at having hope, or learning to run. Trying out a pogo stick, speaking Arabic, or getting sober. Being a better listener, asking for what we need, scratch that, asking for what we want, tending to a garden, or baking bread.  Maybe we decide that being a beginner at surviving a pandemic is a fine place to start. In 2022, let’s gift ourselves the spark of curiosity and grace ourselves the leeway of being green. But let’s do it in March instead of January, okay? 

Happy 2022.

Thank you for being here.

Listen to this episode of JOY IS NOW here. 

Thank you for being here.

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