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Kierkegaard on Looking Back and Living Now

Kierkegaard on Looking Back and Living Now

For most folks, New Year’s Eve is a time for reflection on the past year - or perhaps just a time to wipe the past year from your memory with a big bottle of your favorite hooch.

But for those of us who make calendars, the time for reflection on the past and meditation on the year ahead comes early. I’m not just talking about whether or not February has an extra day this year (it does); I’m talking about hope, fear, anxiety and curiosity about the future. Choosing art for each month, laying out dates and slowly (painstakingly!) checking that the dates are correct all stirs up a lot of feels, people.

In 1844, Kierkegaard wrote in his personal journal, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” So very true. And as hazy as the future always seems, it has become an incomprehensible blur in recent years. Everything is going faster, things seem less stable, politics are exhausting, and then, oh yeah the pandemic. By contrast, 1844 must have felt relatively easy (although there was that telegraph thing). What would Kierkegaard do? Have faith and take a leap.

Despite the past few years, I’m looking forward to the coming year. In fact, I’m making a little calendar-release-day resolution to take 2024 by the reins. The past three years knocked most of us back onto our heels, and I’m frankly sick of feeling a lack of control of the future. Sure, each January elicited a half-hearted “good riddance!”, and the vague hope that, as the great Howard Jones once said, things can only get better.

But this year, let’s manifest something different.


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