Saturday, December 31, 2011

This New Year

Woodie Guthrie's "New Years Rulin's" for 1942
{click to see larger}
via BoingBoing
I've developed a greater appreciation for New Year's resolutions in the last couple of years than I had previously. I once questioned the value of good intentions proclaimed once and then forgotten or even flouted, but I now see a great deal of potential value in the chance to genuinely reflect on the passing year and assemble a list of things you would like to do better in the new one.

Even the old chestnuts "lose weight" and "stop smoking" when pondered during an annual time-out represent a degree of concern and engagement with one's lifestyle and choices that we may not be able to muster during the humdrum of our daily routines during the rest of the year.

Although our culture seems to grow increasingly narcissistic, this is perhaps one moment in which we can productively turn inward and compose a new (or renewed) vision of ourselves that accomplishes something more worthwhile than Facebook or Twitter status updates or new profile photos. In refashioning what we expect of ourselves, we can perhaps also re-imagine what we might contribute to our shared cultures and communities, and how we might, through many small actions, be the agents of larger and greater things.

I have two big ones this year: 1) simplify and 2) slow down.