Reflection 25: Is it the end or the beginning?

25th Anniversary ButterflyI have the honor of writing the last blog post of our 25th year—which just so happens to coincide with the end of the calendar year. It was New Year’s Eve in 1989 when my husband and I arrived in DC after driving from LA. RK&A was born soon thereafter. When I reflect on the last 25 years I find it impossible not to think about the changes that have taken place in our little evaluation world and the larger museum world.   Seriously, a whole new world order has emerged. And all of us at RK&A have tried very hard to move along with those changes so we could continue living our passion—working with museums to help them achieve impact in their communities.

Our intent for this celebratory year was to share our learning, and I hope we have done that for you. Our learning isn’t always linear, obvious, or easy to describe. The very act of writing these 25 posts has helped us process and internalize what we have learned, which helps us continually apply our learning to our practice. Honestly, sometimes we struggled to find a learning topic that we were ready to share. Sometimes the things we were learning felt too new or raw to share; other times we weren’t far enough along in our thinking where we had a handle on exactly what we had learned; and sometimes, if we were lucky, through the process of writing, we clarified our thinking and learning. Learning can be a funny thing; new ideas can feel scary—especially if they go against what we are accustomed to thinking or take us out of our comfort zone (see Reflection 24! https://intentionalmuseum.com/2014/12/17/reflection-24/).

I know learning can be fun (or so I am told), but sometimes learning can be really hard—like the times when we (Okay, I) wrote circles around an idea because the learning hadn’t quite jelled, where I didn’t quite have the words to express my thought, or when my writing sounded murky—obviously not my intent. More and more, though, with each passing year, I have come to respect and take advantage of time—that thing we never seem to have enough of. Time can be my friend if I let it; if I patiently let an idea simmer or if I deliberately take the time to become acquainted with a new way of thinking I can begin to ease into the new idea until it feels a tiny bit more comfortable—comfortable enough for me to begin playing with it. Without any self-imposed pressure (take note—that’s the important part), I just let it roll around in my head until it feels more familiar.

A past New Year’s Day walk; it was chilly but lovely.

A past New Year’s Day walk; it was chilly but lovely.

So I am working on the obvious emergence of 2015; a seemingly familiar idea because a new year emerges every 365 days or so—and I’ve lived through enough of them that this shouldn’t be a surprise. The unknown (e.g., the future), like learning, can be scary. And the weather isn’t cooperating either—at this writing it is dreary and gray—not the way I want to end one year and not very welcoming as the start of another. My vegetable garden is soggy and dormant; my front garden lacks interest. But I have hope because on New Year’s Day I will take my 10-mile walk as I have done for the past many years and ready myself for all kinds of new experiences and learning. I’m getting kind of excited just thinking about it. I do not know what 2015 will bring, but I know my glass will be half full and my learning will be rich. I can just feel it.

Happy holiday to all and a very healthy new year!

One thought on “Reflection 25: Is it the end or the beginning?

  1. A Toast to the New Year, to RK&A, and to ideas that come to us when we’re walking! “I have walked myself into my best thoughts”-Kierkegaard. “If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should explore and perish”-Charles Dickens.

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