“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus
There are just 44 days left in 2019, and with that realization, I’m looking ahead at 2020. What will the new year bring? Major political change? A swing away from nationalistic tendencies towards a global, we’re all in this together outlook? An acceleration in the economy or a recession? Environment progress or rapid climate change after years of neglect? A return of common sense and dignified communication or an increase in bitter, antagonistic rhetoric? I don’t see the future, but I’ll hope for improvement in 2020. Either way, I do know that change comes whether you want it or not, and it’s best to be as prepared as you can be for when it does.
So with that in mind, and a look towards the New Year, what’s the mission? Outside of a vote I can’t control larger political forces at play in the world that may lead to conflict, but I can control my general fitness and health through exercise and better nutrition. I can’t control whether we go through a global recession in 2020, but I can control how much money I spend and to a certain extent how much I earn. I can’t control the clickbait, extreme views that pull society apart, but I can choose what media to consume. If stoicism teaches you anything, it’s to focus on improving yourself, and don’t try to control what the rest of the world is doing. Step in when you can make a difference, offer support and encouragement, but don’t try to change people. That’s on them.
Reading, exercise, writing and travel have done more to improve my state of mind than anything else. Doing more of each makes a lot of sense, and will help build a stronger foundation as I turn the calendar into 2020. Looking at the future and assuming you’re in it is a fools game, but not preparing for the future is too. So building habits that offer value today and long-term benefits tomorrow makes sense. It’s a win-win when you pick the right habits. Change happens, and building resilience through positive habits helps us survive and maybe even thrive when it does. So that’s my focus as we march towards 2020, tweaking the good habits and phasing out the bad whenever possible. Acknowledging my small role in the universe, I’m hoping that occurs on both a micro and macro level.
Today’s post was directly influenced by The Daily Stoic, providing both the Heraclitus quote and the reminder that we can only change ourselves.