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Not Resolutions

 

Making New Years resolutions is not something I like to do, as a rule. The notion that this one week is the designated time we self-improve always rubs me the wrong way. Also, I’ve seen the gym during the firt two weeks of the year, and it is not somewhere I ever want to visit.

And yet. And yet the turn of the calendar is a natural place for reflection, and I’m enjoying a number of writers’ thoughts about 2012 and the upcoming new year. There are indeed some things I’d like to do better – or ways I might be better – and while I have no desire to call these resolutions, perhaps as reflections and intentions they will, over time and accrued gradually, enable some of the things I would like to see in my own 2013.

  • Especially over the last heavily political year, I spent a lot of time refreshing Reeder and NetNewsWire. I want to be selective about what I pay attention to, and I want to continue to refine my focus on those things. So I’ve declared Newsreader (nearly) Null: I’m unsubscribing from virtually everything, and I’m moving reeder away from my home screen. (What am I keeping in? The toddler-blog of a friend I want to keep in touch with, a local weather blog, and a couple of writers. I reserve the right to add, of course. I’m not a totalitarian about it.)
  • Conscientious focus: This is about work and home. I’m a highly distractable guy and I’d like to be less so. I want to change my fast-twitch distracted energy into something that helps me produce something. That impulse to check twitter because I’ve hit a block? Let’s replace it with five minutes of mind sweep review or a few sentences in Day One. That should improve my presence of mind at work and make it more likely that I’ll have interesting stories to tell when I’m not at work.
  • Self-consciously social: Introverts like me don’t naturally gather people around them, but something very important to me is making sure that my currently-only-child toddler has plenty of opportunity to be social – and not in the “social network” sense. I’m still working on this one.
  • Listening: Rdio app improvements the past couple of months substantially increased my music listening. I’ve re-listened to and enjoyed things I had not heard in months or years, in addition to finding new things to enjoy. I like it. I think music makes me better. Maybe if I hear even more of it I might get better at the guitar. Listening is of course about a lot more than music; it’s not just hearing what people say but being engaged with it, responding to it, processing on it. Here’s the thing about listening, really: Listening means attention that is reciprocal, that rewards that partner who is speaking and takes seriously what is being proffered; it allows for opportunity for thinking in the moment as well as in follow-up. It is a shorthand for being present and honoring the obligation that is implicit in having a relationship, whether it is at work or at dinner with my wife. Listening is loaded.

Things intentionally out of scope for this post: exercise, finance, fine cheeses, technologies, “workflows”, platforms, and Scotch.

Happy New Year!