The first days of this new year have brought oddly mixed emotions. Happiness and gratitude that all those celebrations with friends and family went well, mingled with sadness for the absence of all those we used to celebrate with who are no longer alive. Memories of the dead weaving (wefting?) through the warps of our lives (and not always sadly).
And then a peculiarly niggling apprehension, an uncertainty, about plunging back into work. About whether it’s really any good. And then I found this, written by Neil Gaiman, that wonderfully versatile and prolific writer. He wrote these words at the turn of 2011-2012, but they’re timeless:
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.
I particularly love: ‘Don’t worry that it isn’t good enough.’ And, ‘Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before.’ And, ‘Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.’ These words will be my mantra for the year (and for many years to come). They made me laugh and they’ve given me courage. Thank you, Neil Gaiman.