Waiheke, Aotearoa New Zealand

January 17, 2021

Year-Shaped.

The long holidays in New Zealand are finally ending, and the people and roads around me are finally stirring back to life.

Over the past few weeks, I've finally gotten enough time and space to get some real perspective on life, the shape of the year, and how I'm spending my time.

Practically speaking, it looks like my 2021 will again be spent in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the kind of international travel that was the hallmark of my life - and these letters - is going to have to wait another year.

Wait. If I learned anything over the past 12 months, it's been how to wait. Like everyone else, I've wrestled with the uncertainty, the unknowability, the impossibility of making plans in a world built on quicksand.

When I was in my early 20's, I spent a few years studying Zen Buddhism. I recall the teacher sharing a story - how they'd found themselves rather unexpectedly stuck - in a job, as a parent, and in a city they didn't like - and how their practice had turned toward finding the freedom present even inside those constraints.

I'd love to tell you that that's also been my practice this past year, the lesson I've learned - but it's not really true. I've found little freedom through the restrictions and isolation - but a whole lot more capacity to endure and wait than I previously thought I possessed.

But over the past few weeks, there's been a real acceptance of the shape of things. I'm not going anywhere in the coming year. Ok. So what can I do?

And that answer, as it's turned out, has me really excited. I'm going to keep the details a surprise for a little longer, until a few more things are in place. But if everything works out, I think there are going to be some really fun letters and adventures to come. :)

As you look ahead at the year, how are you navigating the uncertainty?

Have a perspective-filled week, be well, and be safe,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was absolutely this amazing piece that combines two things I love: rap and chess. If you're in that venn diagram too, you're going to love it. :)

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