My resolution in 2017 was to commit acts of rebellion, great and small, as frequently as I can.
I have to say that’s almost all I’ve been doing this year, professionally, at least.
I’ve succeeded in taking the museum in its own unique direction; a direction at first controversial but which now seems perfectly obvious. I recently took over the Chairmanship of the Asia-Europe Museum Network, an international network of museums – and I managed also, through meeting almost every member of my Executive Committee individually to seek feedback, to shape the direction of this association with a brand-new Strategic Plan.
I’ve continued to always question why and not take instructions at face value. I’ve succeeded, ultimately, in always maintaining my own view and position even in the face of insurmountable odds. And most importantly, I have not been afraid of saying no and of delivering bad news – always politely, of course; there’s no need to be rude.
2017 has been an extremely challenging year, to say the least. And 2018 will most likely bring even greater challenges. I can see them coming already.
And so, in the face of such adversity, I’ve decided that my resolution for 2018 has to be to KEEP CALM AND SMELL THE ROSES.
At one level, this means I need to continue keeping a stiff upper lip in the face of adversity. I have done that all year and I am certainly not going to let up. It has earned me respect, notwithstanding my considerable youth where the job is concerned.
At a deeper level, this means that even as I am challenged professionally to do more and to go even further beyond my comfort zone, I have to remember to take time out to succor my mind and my soul. I have to admit I haven’t been doing enough of that in 2017 – and so this is a commitment to myself to do more of the things I love (write, travel, cook) in 2018 and to spend more time with friends and family.
To keep calm and smell the roses also means to be able see beauty all around you, in the simplest of things. My job as a museum director, handling exquisite works of art and cultural heritage, has trained my eye; taught me how to really look for and admire details. And indeed, I have often been pleasantly surprised at moments of beauty afforded me if I simply look more closely, or looked at things from another perspective.
Finally, to keep calm and smell the roses means to always see the best in people and in the world – to be an optimistic, cup-half-full sort of person, regardless of the situation. I’ve always endeavoured to be this cup-half-full sort of person, and in the coming year of great uncertainty, I will continue to be the first one to look out the window to embrace whatever’s coming with hopefulness, laughter and good cheer.