If 2020 taught us anything it is that we have limited control of circumstance. We can neither accurately predict the future (2021 didn’t begin as hoped or expected), nor control how it unfolds – nor indeed control much of what is our present.
The world sighed a collective breath of relief when the calendar flipped, and we now find ourselves in the long-awaited 2021. Yet nothing has changed. In fact, things here in Canada, Ontario, and more specific to me, Ottawa, are now more restricted as the year begins than they were when 2020 fizzled out. Christ, even Ryan Seacrest looked bored and resigned as the ball fell in New York City to a muted and pathetic hum on the 31st.
Here we are then, 2021, and the coldest months are upon us. There is no skiing, no outdoor hockey, and we are restricted in many other outdoor activities. I suppose fittingly, there is little snow and temperatures aren’t even cold enough to freeze the rinks, ponds and canal we would normally flood to (pun intended) anyway to stay engaged during January and February.
What we haven’t lost though, is our capacity to hold agency. Our ability to exert power and act in accordance with, and express our individual will is now more important than ever.
Establishing Agency In 2021
In 2020 I focused on Growth. With cautious optimism I entered 2021 hoping to have a better sense of the path forward. There is no clear path. Still so much remains unknown – the state of our economy, how the kids school year will end and then begin again; will the current lock-down tighten before it loosens, or for that matter, will it even end after 28 days or just roll on in 28-day extensions? So much unknown.
I found a path the same. This path is the one I have now decided to focus my efforts for 2021: Agency.
In this context, Merriam-Webster defines agency thus:
agen·cy | \ ˈā-jən(t)-sē \
- the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power: OPERATION
- a person or thing through which power is exerted or an end is achieved: INSTRUMENTALITY
I would suggest it can be easily summed as expressing individual will.
So how does one go about establishing agency and finding ways to express, freely, one’s individual will? Especially while respecting and adhering to the greater and common good, and the rules and restrictions imposed in their achievement.
Winning In 2021
This will be, for me, what 2021 is focused on – agency.
At first blush I realize that I have already established some agency over my day. I find it in my routine, and that which I can control. I will continue to:
- Wake early (5 a.m.)
- Look forward to and then enjoy my morning coffee (device and digital free)
- Explore (at my pace) all that the Wim Hof Method has to offer – but anchor my day with cold immersion (at the very least)
- Eat healthy
- Drink water, lots of it, and limit my alcohol intake
- Remain available to my kids – to capitalize on my time with them, or just be there to help them achieve whatever agency or distraction they may seek (visits with ‘bubble friends’, an evening drive, a game of Mario Carts, etc)
There is though, so much more I can do to effect greater agency and to establish a greater measure of control of my day (if only in my attitude towards it).
So, alright 2021, I am ready for you and I will own you. I got my mornings sorted and I will get better with ending my days. I will always find a daily moment of agency while centered and focused during cold immersion. If I can’t ski then I will walk, if I can’t climb then it’ll be push-ups and planks. If I need to stay at home I will read – everything, and I will write (and write, and write, and write).
Lock me down you motherfucker, you are only making me stronger and more resolved. Challenge accepted – now keep up.