When the clocks chime in the New Year, it will be either side of two extraordinary, seconds. One will be the first of a new decade, the 2020’s. The other will be the last second of the previous one. Together they frame a moment that dissects a twenty-year span of time, creating 2 distinct eras. Twenty years, by any measure, is a significant slice of human existence.
So another January draws us together and moves us on. January is for Janus, the two-faced Roman god of beginnings, gateways; transitions. In Roman theology, Janus strikes a rather unique figure amongst the pantheon of deities in that he personifies an exquisite concept; the lacuna. With one face looking to the future and the other looking back, he somehow sits comfortably in the “in-betweenness”. Janus is the lacuna, the spirit that connects all the yesterdays to all the tomorrows. He speaks to the very essence of time, energy caught in the vessel of our imagination; still yet moving.
Between stimulus and reaction, there is space, and our freedomViktor E. Frankl
No wonder New Year’s Eve is a time of both joyful celebration and sober reflection the world over. It’s a sentiment that resonates globally. Those two seconds are the posts on either side of the gate that leads to now; to what it means to be present and connected through time and space. It is why a particular place feels special and meaningful to those who are there. It’s a smile, a glance, a hug, a sound (music maybe), certainly a touch. It’s movement. It’s stillness. It’s something shared yet uncaptured.
The space created when we take stock of what’s gone before and what is yet to come is one of life’s great gifts. When we embrace change, together, we are linking arms and singing “Auld Lang Syne” and in that moment everything makes sense. We’re accepting what might be different, new and exciting. So somewhere in the mix is a sense of variety, variation, acceptable differences.
If variety is the engine of evolution, it is also the story of what it means to be human. Over the next 10 years, we can look forward to a deeper exploration of connectedness and the vibrating energy that gives our lives meaning. Much of it linked to a heightened understanding of how our individual choices affect one another and the planet we share, especially when those choices are amplified through digital technology.
stillness and Learning
At the same time, these two seconds are no different from any other. There has been and will always be space to grow as long as we are ready to perceive it. This space is, in fact, the medium through which all learning takes place. The familiar will always trump the new and so generate healthy tensions in the curious mind; stimulus and reaction. It’s an evolutionary necessity; how we make sense of the world. It keeps us together in a complex web of shareable references.
So maybe, like Janus, when we face the future with the lucidity the past gifted us, we get the chance to see beyond the moment without leaving it. We achieve the state of stillness, of being present. The future will always be a foreign country; a land of opportunity, new possibilities and redemption. Open to all who sail on the sea of curiosity with no means of navigation other than trust in fellow travellers.