Every year I think of the (sometimes silly) promises I have made to myself – or the albatrosses of obligations I have somehow bought into – and absolve myself of them. This is in the spirit of seeking (only) joyful, authentic, positive pursuits, and releasing myself from the pursuits that make me resentful, angry or bored.
My absolutions for 2017:
Reading books that are boring. I have actually become good at this: putting down books that are not engaging enough. Specifically, I absolve myself of finishing John Grisham’s latest, The Whistler, about a (yawn) whistle-blower. I wanted to like this book. I have read and liked Grisham for 25 years. Except that this book is boring. I got 30% in and was using it to put myself to sleep each night. It’s still on my Kindle, but I will not finish it.
Watching TV shows that I don’t like – or stop liking. It’s 2017 and we are spoiled for choice. We can watch anything and everything. We can watch across genres and on demand. We can binge watch – binging on TV shows like they are giant bags of potato chips. In 2016, I started watching Mr Robot. It’s good TV – really good TV – only I got sick of the premise. I didn’t like characters. I can appreciate the writing and acting without liking the show, but I no longer watch it.
Instead, I watch shows I continue to enjoy because time is precious and life is too short to watch ‘bad’ TV (which also applies to good TV that you don’t enjoy anymore). In 2016, I also stopped watching Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Rosewood, and Last Man on Earth. TV I am (still) enjoying: This is Us, Designated Survivor, Outlander, Madam Secretary, Modern Family, and Brooklyn 99. Oh, and the 4 episodes of Gilmore Girls that popped up recently.
Eating vegan/gluten free/organic/dairy free/Ayurvedic/Paleo. For about 20 years now I have subscribed to the 80/20 rule for eating/drinking: 80% of the time, I eat low-fat protein, whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies and drink tea (green, red and black) and lots of water. 20% of the time, I eat and drink what I like. This works for me. I don’t need to be dairy free because I am not lactose intolerant. I don’t need to eat gluten-free because I am not celiac. I have IBS, which means I have to be careful about eating uncooked fruit and veggies, but other than that, I’m good. If you need to eat differently to me to be or feel well, I will wholeheartedly support you. But I will not subscribe to a new way of eating just ’cause – Pete Evans, you lunatic.
Moving up the corporate ladder. I don’t want my boss’ job. He spends the majority of his time creating spreadsheets, writing tenders and taking meetings. In fact he spends more time in meetings than I do out of them. This is not what I want to do. I work in education; I want to educate. Like most industries, moving up at my company will take me further away from the thing I love. 2017 will be about exploring the breadth of my role, and discovering what my counterparts around the world are doing and sharing with them what I do. I want to make a difference more than I want to make a profit. This does not bode well for someone who wants to move on up, so, it’s a good thing that this isn’t me.
What I do want to in the next year: I want to travel widely. I want write across genres and for different audiences. I want to be fit and healthy. I want to make more of an effort to see my friends and family. I want to make solid plans to live elsewhere, and/or to expand my role, and/or to take on another role. I want to continue to learn and grow and be challenged. I want to give. I want to love.
Absolving myself of these things and more will give me time and space to pursue my loves, my dreams, and the things that will make me happy.
On that note, Happy New Year, everyone. May 2017 be grand, full of adventures and challenges, and replete with love and laughter. Be well, and be happy.