Friday, December 29, 2023
I spent a minute this week thinking about what I want for 2024.
I don’t need a new year to do something different. I don’t need a new year to change anything. But as we know, there is something inherently … new about it all, and it’s a built-in opportunity to do…
It seemed so far away, a wisp of a dream on the horizon, plenty of time to come up with plans and resolutions and promises. Forever, maybe. And now we’re here, or nearly there, and somehow it’s about to be another year and I have to learn how to write a whole new date.
Used to be you messed up a few checks before getting it right. But who writes checks anymore? And without them, how are we supposed to EVER practice the new date?
Fun fact: the date of this New Year’s Eve is 123123. Someone cleverer than I invited us to waltz into the new year. I found that tremendously amusing because I had just been gliding around the kitchen to Waltz of the Snowflakes. It’s impossible not to.
I’m not a fan of resolutions. And yet here I am, resolving to do things as of a calendar change in a few short days.
I don’t know why I feel an aversion for resolutions, considering I immediately come up with them the minute a new year approaches. This isn’t the figure out why blog. It’s the figure out what blog.
I feel like I want to reboot everything in 2024. I want to start over on my entire life. What I eat, how I spend my weekends, how I talk and who I talk to. The route I walk from the bedroom to the office. Maybe in 2024 I will start going the other way around the kitchen island.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with how things are now, exactly. Some things can be improved, sure. Other things just are. But it feels like I’ve been eating pizza for an entire year and I really just want a steak. Pizza is great. I love pizza. I want to eat pizza again. But… not today. I’ve had enough.
Enough routine. Enough of this routine. Enough of this stuff, this room, this thought pattern.
I want the not this version of whatever this is.
I don’t know how not this manifests. I wake up on January 1st and do… what?
No more daily blogs for one. 2024 is going to be as much about not doing as it is about doing. Not doing a daily blog frees up quite a lot of time to do just about anything else.
Reading, for example. When you spend an hour each night in your couch crater writing, then probably another hour searching through 15,000 photos for the right one to put at the top of the page, then another half hour proofreading and hating the word door and trying to come up with an acceptable synonym, there’s not a lot of extra time to read.
Especially when reading involves someone else’s words, and I really want nothing more than to escape words for a while.
I set myself a goal for 2024 to read a book per week. More would be nice. But we’ll start there. I easily hit that goal in years prior but this year my reading list topped out at 14. Some of them weren’t even very good.
I will also give myself permission not to read a book just because I started it. To date I have never not finished a book I started. Sometimes that means the same book sits on my table for six or ten or nineteen months while I plod my way through it. Sometimes I have to restart said book because by the time I pick it up again I’ve forgotten what I read.
If it wasn’t good the first time around, it’s certainly no better the second.
There are too many things I want to read to get stuck with what I don’t.
I want to meditate again. I did that for something like three years, every single day, until sometime within the past few months I kicked all my blocks down and stomped off. But it’s been nagging at me because my brain is calmer when I meditate. Just 20 minutes a day of sitting still and letting the thoughts come and go. Go being the operative word. Not obsessing, not storing them for future blogs, not thinking deep things about them.
Does that mean I have to do it every day? Well…
Yes and no. If there is one thing I’ve learned about myself in all these years of trying to be me, it’s that I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person. I’m either going to meditate, or I’m not. I’m either going to write every day, or I’m not.
I realize this is self-defeating perfectionism so maybe 2024 is about less self-defeating perfectionism and more just doing.
Or maybe 2024 is about accepting my limitations and living with the fact that I’m an all-or-nothing person and letting myself be it. Doing whatever I do, obsessively, until I don’t. And then doing it again.
With permission, of course.
Maybe 2024 is about permission. To stop or go, to be or not to be.
Maybe I need to stop trying to solve everything because the fact is I don’t even know what I’m trying to solve. Is it a puzzle? A math problem? The answer to life, the universe, and everything?
How to build a Lego orchid?
A friend sent me Lego orchids for Christmas. In 2024 I am going to build Lego orchids a lot sooner than I built the Lego succulents that my brother sent me last year.
2024 is going to be about doing more of what I like. The stack of paint-by-numbers that have been collecting dust since Covid. The cocktail notes I started collecting that turned into a box of kindling. More puzzles, if I can ever feel my fingertips again after finishing the last one.
Since I’ve already cross-examined myself on my aversion to finishing what I started, maybe 2024 is also about better defining what finished means, at least when it comes to the open ended projects.
There’s more, but if you believe my word counter we’re already up over a thousand and there aren’t enough days left in the year. I’ve really only touched on small things, and even though they add up to bigger things, there are still the big things. The existential ones. The philosophical ones. The ones that, most often, surface at 2am and decide that’s when they want to be dissected, addressed and solved. The ones that ticker-tape their way across your ceiling in the dark and dare you to close your eyes.
Maybe those are best left to 2am.
I will close this reflection with a Speed Round. These are the things 2024 is going to be about: doing more, worrying less, talking to people more, sitting in craters less, being nice to myself more, caring about what other people think less.
More analog. Less forgetting birthdays.
More vegetables. Less (:::SOB!:::) bread.
More parsley, because doesn’t parsley make everything just a little better?
More world, less screen time.
More brainpower, less reliance on technology to remind me of my brother’s livestream because even though it is a recurring event on my calendar and is supposed to buzz my wrist and ding my phone every single week at 6pm, it only does it when it feels like it so even though I’m sitting staring into space doing nothing and could have watched the livestream I will miss it anyway and will perpetually be having to explain to him why I missed another livestream even though it happens every week at 6pm.
I suspect, ultimately, that whatever resolutions I make or whatever cute little plans I think I have, 2024 will decide all on its own what it wants to be about. But at least that will make for some new blogs.
Photo: a trail marker at a local park. Doesn’t really matter where you are, you’re going to go in a circle and end up back where you started anyway.