Updated: Nov 11, 2021
This is the time of year (hate to break it to you but we’re six weeks out from the end of the year!) when I start reviewing the past year and planning for the new.
Looking back? I’m feeling equal parts amazement and gratitude. I’m amazed at how different the world of today seems to me than the world I grew up in or even just the world of a handful of years ago. Everything feels far more tenuous. I’m not sure if it’s my age, the planet, politics or Covid (probably a combination), but everything seems—not to get technical—weird! And at the same time, I’m increasingly feeling like pre-Covid normal wasn’t really normal at all. It’s as if we were a planet of frogs swimming in a rapidly warming pot, each of us looking around for comfort from the many others who were also heads down, paddling on under the increasingly uncomfortable conditions. Must be OK. Just keep swimming. But then, with Covid, the pot tipped and out we spilled: shaken, blinking, scalded. And now, we’re getting back up and about, looking around and taking inventory. The pot’s being refilled, and we’re being asked to hop back in. After you!
It is amazing. What a trip! And I guess it makes sense that the more tenuous things get, the more grateful we feel for the things we still have. I do: family, friends, food, shelter. In my little bubble, I feel blessed. Thank you, and I promise never to take it for granted ever again.
Looking forward, I am compelled to focus on three things that feel front and center and that are interrelated:
1. Climate Change: How can we address it in meaningful ways? As the crisis continues to grow, I want to be part of the solution. But how?
2. Capitalism: How can we get more people to recognize that the extractive economy is unsustainable and is a leading contributor to climate change, extreme wealth disparities and other problems we’re facing today? How can we build a regenerative economy that works for us all?
3. Community: Like processed food that’s been stripped of much of any nutritional value, leaving us with only empty calories, our idea of community has suffered, as well. I’d like to help figure out how to build back strong communities that give us purpose, connections and support.
Next year, I want to focus on these three areas. I’m not sure what that will look like in my painting, the partners I work with and the wider scope of my activities, but I want these things front and center in my life. Do you have any thoughts on people, projects and/or organizations that I should connect with? I’d be grateful for your thoughts. And I’d love to hear your plans, too.
And in the meantime—thank you for being part of my community, for encouraging my painting and for caring about this weird and wonderful world we live in.