#1: The pace and qualities of a year
Plus saving democracy, decision stacks and Boris Johnson's sinister dog
You’re receiving this post on 31st January, ready for the new beginnings of Imbolc on 1sr February, the first day of spring in the Celtic calendar. It’s also the day I choose to begin my year.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the pace and qualities of a year. When do I speed up, when do I slow down? When do I broaden, when do I deepen? When do I unfurl, when do I retreat?
Here is my established winter pattern:
Mid-December is existential angst (my birthday is the 11th)
27th December - approx. 10th January is an unsustainable burst of productivity that I use to do my taxes and other insurmountable hell-tasks. Suddenly optimistic, I observe other people’s resolutions and think: “I too will meditate twice a day!’ I have learned over recent years to refrain from acting on any of this and to set absolutely no goals during this period
Mid-January through to early February is slowing down, reflecting truthfully on the previous year and sanding down my over-ambitious impulses until I've got intentions for the year ahead that are truthful, stretching and kind
One of my intentions for 2021 (which, as everyone knows, starts on 1st February) is to observe these patterns and cycles over the rest of the year. What is the pace and quality of my springs, summers and autumns? How can I structure my year to work with my energy, not against it?
Panthea Lee’s brilliant post about saving democracy. It’s the most nuanced, truthful, bold piece I’ve read about the Capitol rioters: “… As I’ve dug deeper into the world of the militant right, there are aches, longings, and angers I can recognize in myself”
What’s your social networking style? I’m thinking a lot about the different communities I’m part of and how I want to be within and between them. I’m a Broker with a dash of Expansionist, by the way
The Decision Stack by Martin Eriksson. I like it for a product strategy framework, but these kinds of strategy frameworks are limiting when applied to organisations, especially those with a social purpose. We need frameworks that nestle an organisation’s vision and strategy in the context of its networks of collaboration, rather than encouraging it to pursue a singular vision and strategy against competitors. Nick Stanhope outlines some great ideas about how to do this in A mission isn’t much without a Role
Western scientists only figured out where birds go when they migrate in the 1880s. Before then, there were various adorable theories: birds flew to the moon for winter, or hibernated underground, or transformed into other birds
George Monbiot’s clear-eyed and compassionate article about Long Covid and ME/CFS. In the UK, there are 250,000 people with ME/CFS and currently 377,000 people with Long Covid (most will recover completely, but a minority will develop chronic illness). By the end of this pandemic, you will either know someone who has experienced a post-viral syndrome or, if unlucky, you might have experienced it yourself. Everyone needs to understand the nature of these illnesses so we can inclusively adapt how we work and live
February is LGBTQ+ history month. Along with re-watching the astonishing It’s a Sin, I will be reading:
Trans Britain: Our Journey from the Shadows by Christine Burns
Other people’s superior newsletters
Hung Up by Hunter Harris. Snarky pop culture musings and important investigative journalism, like Why Doesn’t Martin Scorsese Wear His Glasses Anymore?
Many recipes from Claire Thomson’s Home Cookery Year, which is the only cookbook in the house I’m currently staying in. Favourites: courgette kofta curry and a potato, mushroom, chestnut and sherry traybake
Nigella Lawson's Crab Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Fancy!
Anna Jones' squash and chestnut tart
Pho, using Christmas turkey stock from the freezer. This cheat recipe is inauthentic but easy (if you’ve already got good stock)
A lot of spaghetti with bitter greens, chilli and garlic
Still laughing about
What resonates with you? What doesn’t? Let me now in comments below.