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It’s a new year, a new decade and a new cycle of the Chinese zodiac calendar. There are lots of forces at play to make this year epic!

At the beginning of the year, Blair and I sat down for our second annual organizational visioning and started off with a huge high five! I think I am still completely in shock that we actually get to work at the Department of Imaginary Affairs.

I always find that Januarys have a unique energy. I am energized and inspired by starts. I thrive in the anticipation of what’s possible and I love to ponder all the options and outcomes. At the same time, January brings a rush of catching up. All the appointments and to-do’s that lingered and stalled over the holiday season are coming back and need attention. So I find myself writing the January post of #thisisimaginationatwork on January 30th…and now February 1st…

But nevertheless, I still feel all the buzz of new beginnings.

This January, we had 2 starts. January 1st and January 25th. On January 1st, the western world reset their year by setting their resolutions and emerging from hopefully some restful time off. On January 25th, the eastern world started their year with loud and colourful celebrations, lots of superstitions about luck and prosperity and welcomed in the Year of the Rat.

The Year of the Rat is the beginning of the Chinese Zodiac calendar and as legend has it, the Rat was the first animal to cross the river. The Rat did so by jumping on the ear of the Ox. This is why many believe that the Rats are the wisest creatures amongst the zodiac animals.

Having grown up in Canada, the Rat is typically seen as a pest. They aren’t glamourous. They are a problem to be dealt with. Instead, I choose to see the Rat as representative of resourcefulness, eager for partnership and achievement. The Rat didn’t have all the resources on their own, but they were able to find their way.

This is the energy and thinking I am bringing into 2020 with me. As we move into the end of Year 2 of our SDI contribution for The Stories of Us, I am reminded of how much we have done and how much we still strive to achieve. We talk a lot about The Stories of Us, and it is truthfully our biggest project, but not our only project. This year, we are investing time and energy into growing The Storybook Project, Future Happens Here and some new projects are already in the idea hopper. We are looking forward to a year of partnerships that are allowing us to do so much more than we could on our own.

In the coming months, I look forward to sharing more about what’s been going on. But first, what are you doing? What challenges are you facing? How could we work together? In the coming months, I am hoping to hear from more of you to know what else we could do together. We are always on the lookout for new partners and collaborators!

Here’s hoping your 2020 is full of Rat energy!


Jenn found herself in the nonprofit sector 15 years and has spent her professional and personal life since then guiding conversations through questions and yearning for imagination. Jenn identifies as second-generation Chinese-Canadian, a Mama to two kiddos, a passionately struggling idealist, a recovering perfectionist (aka Super Virgo) and navigating pandemic-induced anxiety. Jenn exists professionally as a designer, researcher and facilitator. In her (limited) spare time, she can be found crafting, eating junk food, cuddling with kiddos and floating in water.

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