“It’s hard to recall if there has ever been as much of a desire to turn the page from one calendar year to the next.” A nice sentiment if I hadn’t been quoting from what I wrote last year about leaving 2020 behind. Well, here we are again, another pandemic holiday.
One thought about the name of this weekly email Are We There Yet, as pointed out by a client and friend, is that, in life, we never really get there. The journey, therefore, becomes as important as the destination. Regardless of what we do or what life does to us, we like to believe we have much more control over what happens than we actually do. Does that mean we should just throw our hands up, stop planning and entirely go with the flow? I don’t think so. While we don’t control everything, there are things that we can control. One of them is how we react to events that weren’t on our radar, like a pandemic. One option is to just react as things occur but another is to develop a process or framework for how you will make decisions as circumstances change or plans are disrupted. This process can be applied not just to changes that negatively impact us but also to opportunities that arise. This process is the essence of planning, not trying to forecast the future. Although, I will say, we have lot more toilet paper stored up than I could have imagined pre-pandemic.
While this latest Covid surge is distressing and disappointing, I’m going to try to remain optimistic. If we look back over the past two years, we have all had a transformation and I’m in awe regarding how humanity has adapted to the disruption. I do not want to minimize the trauma that many families endured, but I do see the bright side of how much we have learned during this crisis.
As I noted in a previous piece, the optimist mantra is that it will all work out in the end, and, if it hasn’t yet worked out, then you’re not yet at the end. Maintaining this attitude can be difficult at times for everyone but, is likely healthier compared to pessimism and definitely more fun.
I hope you all have a very happy holiday season and look forward to whatever 2022 brings us.
This week’s selection is:
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larsen
On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally—and willing to fight to the end. Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest, and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Larsen takes us back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.