The islands, themselves covered in black and gray rock formations, grow rich, lush jungles dripping with flowers and full of life. Rock shouldn’t be able to grow anything that beautifully, and especially not rock so regularly heaved up from the earth’s mantle. Yet, hot and tumultuous, it’s produced paradise.
Hawaii has given me a lot to think about — as has the start of a new year. Fresh starts seem the natural path for each January, but sometimes starting fresh means wiping the slate, too, on how we think about growth. If Hawaii — the land of beauty and wonder — can be born from the oldest earthly material, cleaved violently from the sea floor, why do small changes like New Years resolutions feel stagnant or impossible by January 3rd? And why does change so regularly mean separating ourselves from the root system of our past in the creation of anything new?
Hawaii is new springing from the foundation of old; it’s new ideas blowing on tradewinds, new growth from the mantle of the ancient, new communities rooted in the tradition and culture of the past. So, what does that mean of New Year, New Me? Maybe the real magic of life comes from embracing the situations we’re in while developing out of them an unexpected and expansive beauty. Even, and especially, when those realities are as calamitous as Hawaiian volcanoes, maybe the focus should be on springing forth life and magnificence from the foundation of the old. What more lovely gift can we afford ourselves but to be ourselves, even in the heat of change?
To be ourselves is to root firmly in the foundation of our lives and grow forth from that footing a spectacular and renewable vibrance. Do I start every year promising myself I’ll work a little less, exercise a little more, and create time for the authors I love? Uhh, yes, absolutely. Hello, 2018! I want to work a little less, exercise a little more, and create time for the authors I love. Do I also know that January is the month we go to Atlanta Market, and that the studio is in full production from mid-November until mid-April in light of that, and that the sentiment of working less is sweet and adorable and absolutely laughable? That exercise is the last thing I want to think about at the end of these work days? And that the authors I love will always have time in my life, but largely because they help me to sleep, and I need the sleep to do the thing? I know these things. So, in following Hawaii’s example, maybe the best thing for me to do is to say “2018: I will give you everything I need to give you, and I will give to myself, too. I will give to my body, and to my mind, and to my future, and I will do it as often as I can, as much as I can, without ridiculous titles or mechanisms or benchmarks.”
It would be so easy to say I either can achieve my New Years Resolutions or I can’t: I work less or I don’t; I exercise more or I don’t; I read at night or I don’t. But, this year is Simon & Ruby’s tenth (TENTH!) and I don’t want to do anything except celebrate that milestone with another year of quality and teamwork and incredible new collections. This company is a beautiful thing that I’ve built, and I’m proud of it and its growth and its wanderlust heart every single day. It is so very much my foundation: my past, my present, and the thing that surrounds me all the time. It’s only fitting to honor this foundation by making all the goals that come next work as building blocks atop it. This is our push season, and I would love a nap and a long run and four hours with my Kindle, but I also love our push season. So, I will give it everything I can give it, and I will give to myself, too. As often as I can, as much as I can, I will.
Rather than blast forth into the new year, excited to become entirely new, I vote we focus — maybe individually and maybe collectively — on creating beauty and life and unexpected growth from the foundation that has made us and that we, too, have made. After all, what’s more beautiful than that? Whether it’s the delicate greenery of the rainforests created by thick black rock, or the ability to sustain and love ourselves while tending to the abundant demands of this life, sometimes our best growth comes from acknowledging who we are and the foundation from which we’re growing.