Published: Jan 05, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Jan 05, 2013 04:44 PM
I spent New Years morning with a group of 20-somethings, and as they talked about their hopes and plans, I asked if they minded my taking notes and publishing some of their ideas. I said I wouldnt use their names, but the first-person voices are theirs.
Here is a bakers dozen:
• My sister had a baby two months ago. She has said no to all the baby trappings the apps that track when you feed your baby, those toys that supposedly boost IQ, all the must-have cool parent products. She carries her baby around in a sling and uses hand-me-down clothes. Its a crazy racket and totally unsustainable, she says, the whole baby industrial complex. Im not buying in.
• I am going to get up early and read for half an hour before the world is awake. I dont read books on a device I stare at a screen all day. I need a break from that. Even if books use up a lot of paper, I prefer them. Reading sets the tone for the rest of my day. Ill bring my book with me, read on the train on my way to work. If I put off reading until the evening I may not get to it. Or Ill fall asleep in the first paragraph.
• I spent time with a friend over the holidays. She lives in the Midwest and I live in the Northeast. We are going to write letters to each other this year, snail letters with stamps and return addresses. Were sick of chatting on Facebook.
• Im going to read a poem every day.
• I see movies like A Time to Kill or Body Heat and it just blows me away how much technology has changed since then. In those flicks youll see a desk with just a Rolodex on it and some papers, maybe a typewriter and a phone. Back then, when you left the office, the office stayed behind. My office is always with me, on my smart phone, my laptop. At any hour Im checking email, marketing on Facebook and Twitter. This year Im starting a new job that I wont have to take home. No more intermingling work and private life.
• Last New Years a friend wrote, stop complaining on a piece of paper and carried it around in his wallet for all of 2012. It got really dog-eared but it was a good reminder. This year, Im putting a piece of paper in my wallet that says, Be grateful for today. No more worrying about the future and regretting the past. All of that takes so much energy and isnt about today.
• The comedian Louis C. K. says his young daughters wake up and are always eager to face the day. Yay, the world is still here. He gets up grumbling, swearing. Im like him but Im going to be more like his daughters.
• I plan to take lunch breaks, actually leave the building, sit on a bench somewhere. Too often I shovel my food in, hovering over my keyboard.
• Im going to say hello to more people at the office people I dont know but see all the time, like by the coffee machine. Why not say something? Too often its: Ive already not talked to this person six times. Why make it seven?
• No is a complete sentence. Im going to practice saying no without frills. I cant come tonight but thank you for inviting me. Period. Theres no need to make excuses, to explain why, to go on and on.
• We plan to buy experiences this year: tickets to the Philharmonic, to plays, plane tickets to visit friends, rather than stuff, like new dishes, couches, jeans.
• Im determined to get more sleep.
• I got a computer program that lets me use my keyboard but disconnects me from the Internet I can set it for however long I want to be offline. I love it. Its called Freedom.
What are you going to do differently in 2013?