Seems such an amazing date. Every January is a new beginning, but in 2020? This must be very resilient in the numerology game. Strong. Defiant. Heady. Barreling in at the end of the twenty-teens. A new decade, doubling itself. 2020. Once sitting way out there in the future. Way past the predictions of George Orwell’s book, 1984, with Big Brother and Doublespeak, one-time specters in the far off way-beyond.

Such hopes I have for this year. In the 1960s, while still in elementary school, a math teacher gave us tikes the vision of the future by assigning us the subtraction exercise of taking our birth year away from 2020 to see how old we would be by then. Within minutes, we zoomed through high school, college, possible marriage, probable kids, and landed on the other side of decrepitude – any age over forty would qualify. We’d be ancient! We stared at our penciled in answers trying to imagine that which was equivalent to comprehending the depth of the universe.

But here I am looking back at 1984. Many once futuristic gadgets, behaviors, and human development not only surfaced but surpassed those visions. Big Brother is watching. Doublespeak permeates networks that thinly disguise themselves as news outlets. There are cameras everywhere.

On a less ominous note of once fictional musings, I recall the cartoon show, the Jetsons, that space-loving family. George, the father, flew to work daily in his spacecraft in a sky full of morning traffic with no explanation of how flight patterns worked. His wife put food into something, pushed a button and it cooked. They communicated over a screen on the wall, think Skype. It seemed like magic. We now have electric cars, but they do not fly. . . yet.

2020. Buckle up. The year is already flying by. What will these hours hold? What will our story be? Will we intentionally walk through the day? And, when the day throws out the unexpected, the challenge, the bad news or uncontrollable circumstance, how will we proceed?

In the midst of the daily whirl, I offer Los Cuatro Acuerdos, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, a shaman of great repute, held out by such authors and motivational speakers as Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer. Don Miguel gives us:

  1. Be impeccable with your words.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t make suppositions.
  4. Do the best you can

Four sentences to live by. Ponder a world where people think before they speak, choosing their words carefully. Remember that the words coming at you reveal the owner’s state of mind and being, not who you are. The word “assume” breaks down to “makes an ‘ass’ of ‘u’ and ‘me’.” And finally, doing our best. Regardless if we are sick, making decisions when others have withheld important facts, don’t have the funding – whatever the case may be, we can do our best at that moment.

2020. I could not imagine it as a kid. It would have helped, starting back in grade school, to have learned the Four Agreements as a companion text to our math assignment. From the playground onward, life certainly needed less name-calling and more thoughtfulness, less hurt feelings and more facts, and reassurance that our efforts were worthy and helpful.

2020. I’m so grateful to be here and have another chance. Today, the math doesn’t count. My age is but a number. What I have learned counts. What I do with my life lessons matters. Today I will recall Don Miguel’s teachings and take another step, in the present, toward the future.