One of my favorite content creators is Patrick Bet-David and his business YouTube channel, “Valuetainment.” In one of his videos for business planning, he said that every year should have a name. I don’t have a business to make a business plan for, but he said the plan should spill over into every area of life…so I’m spilling.
Nothing I had in mind for 2020 really happened the way I’d imagined. 2021 was just a year of daily holding my breath, waiting to see what would happen next. But as I started looking toward 2022, I knew I couldn’t let another year just begin and end. I started planning, writing, erasing, sleeping, dreaming, rewriting, repeating. What would be my big goals for the year? I had already decided to start up a vlog, but I wanted a big idea, something that I can apply to the whole of my life. My first concept for the label I was going to give 2022 was “The Year Of Small Beginnings.” That sounded good. The vlog, my millionth attempt at getting in better shape, finally waking up early every day…maybe “The Year Of Slow Progress?” Slow is better than nothing, right?
Then I happened to run into some dear friends of mine that I hadn’t seen in years. Our greetings were somber. Our exchanges were low energy. Throughout my teenage years, these friends and I had been through a lot together. We had been (as cliche as it is) very much like family. Perhaps this unenthusiastic reunion of ours was not a rejection of that decades-long closeness, but instead, because of the safety we felt with each other to express genuine emotion. Whatever the case, I was and still am bothered by the interaction. These were people I love so dearly. There were very few laughs between us, very little hope shared or expressed. I would “update” them on my uneventful life, with all the family and friends that had either passed away or gotten sick and immobile, the weirdness of daily routines with masks and politicized medicine, they would share the struggles they were facing during all of this and the losses they had had. We just kind of wallowed in the dreariness of our lives.
I got home and started thinking about that very pitiful conversation with my dear friends, all the other increasingly frequent negative updates about the health of so many of my loved ones, and the growing chaos in the outside world. So I went back to my document on my computer, my “business plan.” I finally knew the name I should give 2022.
Even though there’s no doubt some things will be unfortunate, miserable, and maybe even terrible this year, even though bad news will continue either in my personal life or on the national or global stage, even though sickness, pain, and death will likely remain major players this year, I have decided that no matter what comes at me, my goal, my big idea that I will apply to the whole of my life, my title, my label…I’m determined to make 2022, “The Year Of Spreading Joy.”
How? I’m not sure exactly. My initial reaction to myself in my head is to think I need to pay off someone’s mortgage or cure cancer. But maybe if I begin by looking at my work day tomorrow as an opportunity to execute this vision for the year, with a smile, bringing breakfast to my coworkers, being interested in people who don’t make it a habit to be particularly interesting, going out of my way to compliment someone, maybe…just maybe…by the time 2022 comes to an end, I’ll look back and see that by actively seeking opportunities to spread joy in all the little moments eventually added up to a pretty joyful year.
So here’s to spreading joy!