And so we begin another trip around the sun, as collectively agreed upon. It’s a new day of a new year in social reality. So be it. It feels like a time to start over. A time to lick our wounds and to regroup and start over in various ways.
There’s a common sort of cynicism around new years. That you shouldn’t bother making new year’s resolutions, because it’s well known that people simply don’t keep to them. That you shouldn’t make grand proclamations, that this moment will pass and everything will return to normal.
I don’t want to return to normal. I don’t want business as usual. I want to grow up, I want to break free from the prison of my existing behaviours, habits, patterns of thought, beliefs and so on.
What do I have to do to make that a reality?
I think meditation is an important thing that I need to do more of. I think the idea I have of meditation is that it’s simply sitting still for a while, which seems kind of indulgent, kind of silly, kind of pointless. But it’s really about tuning the instruments of your mind and body, about coming to a stillness, about cultivating focus and presence. That’s important. And so I’m going to try and meditate every day.
Exercise is another important thing I need to do more of. Our lifestyles are designed and chosen for us, and a big part of that for me is being stuck in shitty commutes, of living in boxes, and of sitting in chairs for hours at a time. That’s not good for my body, and by extension that’s not good for my mind, it’s not good for me. Exercise is a powerful way of rebelling against all of that. I’m thinking now about how Jessie Graff exercises in between her work – doing pushups, doing pull-ups and so on. The only thing stopping me from doing the same is my mind. I have made some decent progress in the past year. I can now bench press 60kg, I can squat more than that (I managed to squat 90kg once, but I’m not sure if I can do it again right now – I’m a little worried about my knees). I deadlifted 110kg, though it revealed the limitations of my grip strength. My running competence is still woefully bad. I need to recognise that I can squeeze in a bench press workout into just 15 minutes, and that a run can take about 30-45 minutes or so. I really just need to make time for this stuff every day. It’s important in the same way meditation is – an act of rebellion against the mediocre life that is designed for me.
Writing is equally important, which is why I’m doing it now. A part of me wanted to defer writing this so that I could get it right, but I know that done is better than perfect and that deferring things means they never ever get done.
Chores and errands and obligations. I cleaned my windows a couple of days ago, and vacuumed my aircon filters yesterday. I need to move faster at doing those things. I need to recognise that the pain of not doing them is worse than the pain of doing them. I know this intellectually, I just need to move faster in recognising it and doing something about it as quickly as possible.
Decluttering and reviewing. I accumulate junk and nonsense at an alarming rate, and I wait far too long to get rid of it. The best way to reduce junk is to refuse to take it in. The second part is to systematically remove it at a regular interval. Deleting photos daily, weekly. Deleting random digital detritus weekly. Cleaning out my Evernote, cleaning out my Things todo app. Doing weekly reviews to see how I have been doing on these fronts.
I also want to invest more in my marriage. My wife is my favourite person – she is a very smart person and someone I’d like to have a stronger, deeper relationship with. This means spending more time together, scheduling dates in advance.
I want to make more time for friends. This means talking to more people, it means organising house parties (or ‘unparties’), inviting people ahead of time, figuring out what to do with regards to food and so on. I’d like to have at least one event each month this year that I can look forward to, and then look back on as something special that I appreciated.
There is no more time to waste. I’ll be turning 27 this year, which is also the age that Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix and a bunch of others never made it past. I will be making it to 28 and beyond. I will grow in strength and power and focus, in gratitude and kindness and love and warmth. I will be more understanding. I will seek to understand before asserting myself. I will reflect more. I will write more regularly. I will put myself first, as an act of self-love that’s intended to allow me to be better for the other people and things in my life that matter to me.
I will approach 2017 in a more granular, systematic way than any previous year of my life. I will take each month as it comes, break it down, set goals and targets, blaze through my todo lists, set aside time for recovery and detoxing. I will read at least one good book a month. I will go through my library periodically and remove things that no longer interest me, that feel like an unnecessary burden. I will get better at understanding food, and how it fuels me. I will get stronger physically and gain more muscle mass. I will let go of anger and frustration towards others, and accept that the world doesn’t owe me anything. I will disengage from pointless arguments and drama online, because it doesn’t help me build the life for myself that I want.