Waiheke, Aotearoa New Zealand

January 10, 2021

Slowly.

As I'm writing to you, a chorus of baby sparrows and Tui are singing in the tree just outside my door. A cicada cuts in, harsh, buzzing. Cuts out again.

The hillside around me is still. No cars heading up the road, no music bumping. Here in New Zealand, we're on our summer break.

For about a month, from mid-December to mid-January, the whole country shuts down, most everyone takes off work, and we soak in the summer sun. Long days, filled with the smell of sunscreen and bar-b-que. Ripples of heat cut by a cool breeze. Nobody, anywhere you go, is in a hurry.

It sounds idyllic. It is idyllic. But it's also been a struggle for me every new year I've been here. My whole life, I've started the new year with energy and movement. Goals and plans and putting things into motion. January has been a time of new beginnings, life and growth, one of my favorite parts of the year.

But here? You sort of just can't.

In years past, I swam upstream, forcing myself to get moving even when everyone around me stayed still. I refused to go with the seasons and flow of this place. It was a new year. I'm getting started.

But this year, for the first time, I've let myself just do what the kiwis do, and start slow. To accept that maybe the year doesn't have to start with a bang, huge resolutions, lots of doing.

Maybe it can start more like a day does. Slowly waking up, taking it in. Looking around, with a little quiet and peace, watching the start unfold.

And you know what? It's not so bad. :)

I wonder, how do you start your year? Feel free to write back - I'd love to hear from you. :)

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was this video, ostensibly about an obscure British television show's title sequence. But really, it's about craft. Art. And the work we put in that nobody ever sees. And looking ahead at the year, it's really made me think.

🤦‍♂️.s. America americaing. Sigh. I know.

🚀.s. If you are someone who's starting the year with a bang, my 7-Day Sprint course is pretty great for it. Check it out. :)

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