As we begin a new decade, I’ve been thinking about the periods of growth and stagnation in my own development. I’ve noticed that as I plunge headlong into my sixties, I’ve become a little set in my ways. My interests, values, likes and dislikes have been established, and I’ve seen no need to depart from them. That might not be the best way to age gracefully.
I have decided that my goal for 2020 is openness. The way to fight stagnation is to open oneself to new experiences and to other people. For example, when my husband and I were younger, I was game to see all kinds of movies with him, to attend rock concerts, and to share in his MSU Spartan fandom. Over the years, though, I lost my patience with action movies, loud music venues, and trips to East Lansing, Michigan. As a result, my husband and I are often two ships passing in the night, retreating to our separate TVs and interests. In order to grow together and not apart, we need to embrace each other’s passions to some degree. Maybe a date night at the new Star Wars movie is a place to start.
I am an inveterate homebody. I love nothing more than to stay home with a good book and my family. But getting out and being with other people is healthy. Last night, a dear friend of mine from college hosted my husband and myself at her home for dinner. It was so great to reconnect with her and her husband and to be social. My sister is another person who helps get me off the couch and out into the world. Because of her, I see more live theater than I ever would if left to my own devices. In 2020, I plan to be the seeker and initiator of more experiences with others in my life.
Openness also means the willingness to listen to others whose beliefs differ from my own. Especially in this charged political climate, it has seemed impossible to cross the partisan divide. As a presidential election looms, I plan to seek other outlooks on the candidates and the issues facing America today. Such openness will either confirm my current beliefs, alter them, or expand them to include more nuance, more areas of gray. I hope Americans on both sides of the aisle at least attempt to hear each other instead of constantly listening to the echo chamber of their own political stances.
I’m looking forward to a new decade. My children are (mostly) grown, and my time is more than ever my own. I plan to make good use of it as we head into the new Roaring Twenties.