life: examined is an invitation to get curious, a compendium of ideas, thoughts, and questions about living a creative, intentional life.
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Congratulations, if you’re reading this, you’ve made it to the year 2022.
Only a few days in and already 2022 feels eerily similar to 2021.
I don’t know what I expected, but I would’ve been pleasantly surprised had magical pandemic-fighting baby bunnies descended upon the globe to vanquish the ‘VID. But alas, it looks like we’ll be living with the virus forever and ever, amen.
Life is Uncertainty
As we head into another year of uncertainty (not that we ever have true certainty about anything), it’s time to call BS on the self-help industrial complex, hiding behind the guise of tradition through annual resolutions, that profits from our imperfections and shortcomings.
We’ll never be fixed or improved enough to keep up with the latest marketing campaign delivering destructive and unattainable beauty/weight/class/consumption standards.
This narrative needs fixing; it’s so pervasive that we don’t recognize it while buying into it. It’s all around us—we’re soaking in it.
Xenophobia. Fatphobia. Ageism. Sexism. Racism. You-don’t-have-a-butt-like-a-Kardashian-ism.
The most popular resolutions made each year revolve around diet/body size, exercise, looking younger (by any means necessary), or brag-worthy accomplishments like running a marathon, backwards and in the snow, uphill both ways. If you do that last one, please let me know how it goes.
It’s incredible any of us feel sort of okay about ourselves when the standards are impossible to attain—and why would we want to obtain them? A world of Photoshopped and augmented carbon copies sounds pretty horrible to me.
The Resolution Dictator
In January, the little judgmental dictator that runs the not-so-helpful part of our minds, high from the smell of fresh beginnings and a Champagne hangover from New Year’s Eve, thinks it’s a great time to make not one but several new year’s resolutions.
Obviously, that little dictator needs to pipe down!
Now is not the time to make a bet on a losing proposition lest you want to feel bad about yourself in 2022, which is sure to be redux of last year.
Why choose to heap misery upon yourself with sadistic goals that you’ll be too exhausted to achieve? A 2018 You Gov poll show that just 6 percent of people who made a resolution were able to fully keep them. And that was pre-pandemic!
I realize this sounds likes a downer. Sorry about that—so much for my uplifting pep talk for the new year.
But I’m not trying to be a bummer! Instead, I’m suggesting that starting the new year in a different way, other than making time-worn resolutions, could be just the thing to shift us out of this funk.
I’m with you on this journey through 2022, the highs, the lows, and the in-betweens, so if we resolve to do anything, let’s be kinder and more patient with ourselves and others (animals included). Let’s agree to drop the musts and shoulds and the crappy self-talk and lighten up a bit.
Living on a Cul-de-Sac in Pandemia
Like many people, I’m navigating life in Pandemia with a mix of privilege and luck, crankiness and resignation. I’m fortunate that I don’t need to work close to open-mouthed cough-ers and have enough resources to keep myself healthy without going bankrupt. Of course, it would be a different story if I still lived in the States on my current abbreviated income (thank you, COVID), but I digress…
Many people have been or will be touched by, made ill, or lose people they love from this virus coursing through our planet’s population. The best we can do is take care of ourselves, consider others when making decisions (because humans are interdependent), and recognize that we need time out from lofty plans and goals.
Fun + Tiny + Doable
And what if we pursue tiny fun doable activities (or idleness!)—like playing more, reading for pleasure, having another vegan brownie—or just sitting in the park noting different birdsongs?
Those things are my idea of a good time, but you get the drift. Keep it simple, keep your expectations low, and you’ll likely find joy and delight in being surprised by things that go well this year.
nota bene: Although I don’t make resolutions, I do choose a guiding word for each new year. I pick a word that gives me latitude to apply it to all or just some areas of life—abstract, but meaningful, without an end result tied to it. My word for 2022 is consistency.
Do you have a word for 2022?
We Will Look Back on This Age of Cruelty to Animals in Horror (a powerful & thought-provoking—with any luck action-taking—piece by Ezra Klein that’s worth a few minutes of your time)
In case you missed it (do you follow me on Instagram?), here’s my Spotify playlist —> mixtape: 2021. I started this playlist in March 2021. I’d planned to send it to newsletter subscribers as a spring mixtape. Then as a summer mixtape. Well, here it is, now. Enjoy some funky grooves, vintage tracks, and choice surprises—from me to you!
Favorite Portuguese to English Auto-Translation of the Week:
This is from a review of a restaurant in Lisbon:
Of course, on the menu they always pun on the name of the restaurant: "today it's for Disgrace", "share Disgrace", "the bastards of the acepipes" and "a disgrace never comes alone" are some examples.
Bastards of the Acepipes—my new band name!
Wow & thank you! I’m grateful to these generous readers for their support:
Ken, Tammy, Bryan, Karen, Thomas & Andrea, Jorge, Carmen, Kimberly, Ingrid, Suzanne, Fi, Marti, Jeanne, Heather, Simon, Harriet, Stella, Judy, Manny, Jean, Rich, Sandy, and anonymous humans for supporting life: examined through Buy Me a Coffee. Never expected, always appreciated!
Whether it’s a coffee, a comment, a like, or a share—I’m grateful for your support!
Until next time—be well, stay curious, and thanks for reading life: examined