As this past year drew to a close, several people on social media took part in what was called the “10-year challenge.” Basically, you posted a picture of yourself from 2009 next to a picture of yourself from 2019 and shared it for the world to see. The point was to illustrate how much can change in a decade.
It’s true that a lot happens in ten years. We’re about to enter a new decade. New decades, perhaps even more than new years, afford new opportunities and pose new challenges. In the next ten years, you will likely welcome new members to your family and say goodbye to friends and family you love. You will watch children or grandchildren graduate. Technology will continue to push new bounds, causing us to adapt methods of communication, travel and entertainment. As a nation, we will face new threats, internationally and domestically. And old fashions will cycle back as new fads (personally, I’m waiting for the return of 90s culture). While there is nothing wrong with the new, as we enter another decade, I encourage you to remember and celebrate the old. The great C.S. Lewis used to tell people that for every new book they read they should reread an old one. This is not intended to suggest modern books lack value—at the time, Lewis was a modern author! —but rather that old books provide wisdom and perspective we still need. As much as each generation likes to think they are the first to identify and wrestle with particular problems, those preceding us have dealt with many similar issues and can thus help us think about our challenges in fresh ways.
What if we applied Lewis’ advice to other areas of our life? As we enter a new decade, are there any old habits, disciplines or traditions you should consider bringing back?
Perhaps, you want to return to eating family dinners around the kitchen table. Maybe, you miss receiving hand-written notes and want to start sending letters of encouragement to the people in your life. When it gets warmer, you might start taking slow walks through your neighborhood so you can grow to know your neighbors. Is there an annual camping trip, sister’s weekend or friend gathering you used to participate in—could it be time to bring the gang back together? Perhaps it’s as simple as deciding now’s the time to once again give back to your community as a volunteer. Maybe it’s time to return to church, get a better night’s sleep or start picking up books again. These are only a few ideas. I’m certain you can think of more and better possibilities.
I’m excited for what the 2020s will bring. To make the most of the years to come, I believe we’ll need to bring with us the best of the years that have passed. Blessings on you and yours as you make room both for the new and the old.