Momentum gained in hindsight

All I want is forward motion.

At the risk of coming across a bit twee, I want to take a moment and condense my own thoughts on 2020 and hopes for the year to come. For posterity. And to thank each of you that read this newsletter for giving me space in your head and time in your no-doubt busy schedule. Like I did in the late 90s and early 00s, I mostly write these posts for myself, but your support in simply reading this is validating and encouraging to me. Thank you.

Twenty-twenty was the worst. I thought 2017 was a bad year for me, but 2020 took the whole cake, slammed it on the pavement, ran over it with a car, then remolded it into a cake-shape and threw it at passersby. I’m not one to wallow and am thankful I have a decently resilient disposition, but I, like so many, am ready to leave this year behind.

The problem is that the new year is an arbitrary signifier of change. New Year’s Day isn’t going to magically erase the problems we have. A day so many wait for as a figurative harbinger of progression is truly just another day. There’s a lot of wasted time waiting to begin moving forward. And maybe that’s a lesson to take to heart.

Forward motion takes a lot to get rolling. The literal realities of physics offer seeds of allegory for our life. It’s a hard slog to start moving forward, uphill, against the wind. But an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. This year brought an unbalanced force against a lot of us.

My friends in the service industry are hurting because there was no relief from risking their health every day just to pay their bills. Even worse, they saw their income dwindle as tips dried up from patrons. Restaurant, bar, and brewery owners in Texas, like many places, got little help to support their employees. I’m sad about the closures that have happened in Austin, but I ache for my friends in hospitality who continue to be overlooked and underappreciated.

In April or May (what is time?) my wife was let go from her full-time job, taking away our health insurance (which honestly wasn’t great, to begin with) along with her salary. At the same time, colleges and universities decided to stop spending money on marketing strategy. I’m happy that that is picking up, not only for my own livelihood but for the good of the industry at large.

But in having to stay home, to get creative, and to modify how we work, we’ve come out stronger and even a bit optimistic for the future. I think for all it’s hot garbage, 2020 has allowed me to set some focus on where I’m headed. And here I’ll plug my friend Seth Odell’s newsletter and his post about 10-year goals.

It’s time to start pushing again on the things we want to accomplish because it’ll take some time to build up enough inertia to counteract whatever the next unbalanced force ends up being. I’m still defining some of those things, but others are already starting to roll.

As we enter into a new year, let’s quiet the things that don’t matter and make time to be consistently moving forward the things that do. Let’s stop waiting to act; stop talking about what we’re going to do. Let’s place deeds before words.

I hope this holiday season has provided some rest and perspective for you. Thanks again for your support. I appreciate you.