Some Final 2023 Thoughts

I decided at the last second to do away with my usual newsletter format for this final newsletter of 2023 (I’m taking next week off to work on my new book, avoid the news, and eat unhealthy volumes of green bean casserole), and to drop a few final thoughts on my way out the (calendar-year) door, instead.

  1. I unintentionally stopped posting things on Instagram back in early October, and from there just kept forgetting that the network even existed. And I’d love to say it was a liberating, lovely experience, but the truth is I truly just didn’t even think about it, except to periodically realize I hadn’t thought about it in a while, and that I didn’t feel anything of note about that realization.
    • This is increasingly my stance toward most of the networks I’m on, and I’m torn about whether I want some new, useful-and-fun social competitor to emerge from the current paradigm (actively on-fire wreckage on one end, still-glossy embryonic offerings on the other), or if maybe it’s time to move on to some other method of stumbling-across and engaging-with unfamiliar people and concepts.
  2. Alongside that new book I’m writing, I’m in the process of recording and re-recording some of my older books (for audiobook purposes), and it’s been both horrifying (that somehow all these typos made it through the editing process) and gratifying (most of my ideas and approaches to sharing them aren’t as superficial and muddled as I’d worried).
  3. We’re living through a truly tumultuous period of politics and international happenings, and I earnestly believe it’s more important than ever that we’re aware of what’s happening while also being able to disconnect our psychological batteries from our ingestion of the information we require to be informed civic participants.
    • In other words: be aware of how you’re responding to the barrage of daily (often quite grim) information, take time away from the news when you need to (read fiction!), step away from horse-race reporting and “breaking news”-oriented broadcasts (maybe forever) and replace them with colder, intensely boring recitations of facts and figures, and don’t forget to backfill your understanding by reading up on history, science, unfamiliar industries and trades, etc.
  4. Something I’m trying to remind myself of for the new year is that I have more fun, and my habits and work are a lot more sustainable (my output higher-quality—folks seeming to enjoy it more, too) when I focus on being as refined a version of myself as I can be (as opposed to leaning on suppositions about how I’m supposed to do things, based on other peoples’ priorities, skills, experiences, etc).
    • There will always be moments in which I question this and start wondering if leaning a bit toward the “smart” way of doing things might be prudent, but I almost always realize (after such a lean) it was a mistake, hurling myself bodily back toward where I was in order to save my work and well-being.
  5. Most good habits have give to them, which helps them remain flexible as your lifestyle and needs change, while still serving as a sort of backbone for everything else you do.
    • That malleability also means they’re more likely to bounce back into place after a period (short or long-ish) of stepping away from them. This is worth keeping in mind during a period in which many of us attempt to deploy new, hopefully positive habits for the new year, despite such periods also being riddled with peculiarities and unusual situations (that are otherwise prone to kill fresh habits before they come of age).

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