My 2021 theme: Year of taking part

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One of the podcasts I enjoy is the cortext podcast hosted by Myke and CGP Grey. They discuss technology with a focus on Apple, but they also discus lots around broader life.

One of the things they have talked about a lot is the concept of a yearly theme. Grey’s YouTube video about it is here:

The basic idea is for a theme to be something broad enough to be flexible, but meaningful enough to be actionable.

I’ve been thinking about a theme for 2021 for a while. As it’s the 1st day of a new year today I decided to pick a theme.

My theme for 2021 is: Year of taking part.

This post is a quick exploration of the theme and why I choose it. Plus a few early ideas for how it may manifest.

Why I choose this theme

During 2020 I focused a lot on keeping stable. Lots of exercise and work. Finding routines which enable me to be productive.

It worked. But it’s involved a lot of saying no. Withdrawing from things while energy was low so I can focus on keeping the core activities of my life afloat.

‘Year of taking part’ is about saying yes more often and getting involved in more things. It doesn’t mean diving in to everything but choosing to take part a little more often in whichever way I can.

Another aspect of the theme is to understand why I don’t take part in things. Identifying some of the barriers and hopefully resolving them.


Part of why I chose this theme is broadness. It can apply to any part of my life (home, work, personal) and doesn’t have to be a big change all the time.

The broadness also means I can experiment a little. Taking part doesn’t come with a requirement to be good at something. If I take part in a social event but hide for most of the evening it still counts. It’s the taking part which important not the outcome of taking part.


Over the last year I’ve not been as connected with my friends as I used to be. The pandemic has very much got in the way.

My hope is that this theme gives me a structure for narrowing some of the gaps which have formed with a hope that in time they will close.

Final thoughts

I’m looking forward to seeing how my theme evolves and changes over the next year and I’ll try to share what I am doing along the way.


Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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