[Christmas present from my beloved Rowan, by one of my favorite authors, my first book of the new year…unless I finish it before then.]
I’m going to read more in 2020. I’ve always loved books and reading, as long as I can remember and, according to my mother, as long as I’ve been able to hold books.
But honestly, I’ve read less this past year. I started out with reading goals and did read a number of books, but I tailed off badly in the second half of the year. Or maybe it was the second quarter. I don’t think it was the second week.
I stopped reading books because I was busy saving the world on social media. That, of course, was not happening in real life, but in my mind, I was bravely entering the fray each day and holding up the cause.
Now I sound sarcastic here–mainly because I’m being sarcastic here–but I’m saying something serious. I spent too much time on social media last year. I’m going to cut way back and spend that time reading, instead. [Acute existential moment: Wait a second! Isn’t this blog a “social medium?” Are you saying you’re quitting something on the very something you say you’re quitting? Are you spelling out “I’m not eating junk food anymore!” in M&M’s? Maybe. But no, that’s not what I mean. Writing on my blog is one of the more productive things I do. I hope that what I write qualifies as “real reading” for readers. It does count as “real writing” for me.]
Specifically, I spend too much time in that nether-region of social media, not “planning” to spend time there, just “checking,” and then getting sucked in by some outrage or other. I like connecting with people and I like being informed. But the forms in which those take place on social media, and especially the distracted, glance-at-everything-but-don’t-read-anything scroll, is bad for my brain and my productivity. It eats my time. That’s a passive way to say, “I piss my time away on Facebook and Twitter.” I’m resolving to stop doing that in 2020.
I still see some positives in my participation in these communities. I receive responses that show me my speaking up makes a difference. I like offering encouragement. So I’m not quitting altogether. But I’m not ruling out that possibility, either. I know others who have and each one tells me life is better now. Hmm. I’m going to see how I do. I hope to spend much less time and focus better on the positives I can offer in the time I do spend.
The next resolution perhaps should rank top on the list but I think changing the above routine will help significantly to make this possible: I’m going to spend more time talking with God.
I know this trips all the alarms: What do you want for Christmas? Peace on earth. What is your New Year’s Resolution? To pray more and read my Bible and stop doing all bad stuff. I know those are good beauty pageant answers. But looking back at my 2019, I did not pray as much as I have other years. Worse, I did not pray consistently, meaning I was not making time with God a high enough priority (cuz, you know, busy scrolling through Facebook…). I hope this year to integrate my writing into my being-with-God, to be more present and mindful as I write.
I have a few others. I’m going to do more yoga. Since I moved back to the States, my yoga practice has fallen off badly. –Wow, it’s funny how I wan to phrase all of these in passive voice! Maybe I should resolve that I will use active voice and name my shortcomings as mine and not “the universe led me to stop doing as much yoga.” So we’ll try that again: Since I moved back to the States, I have gotten lazy and have stopped doing yoga consistently. That was a bad idea on about forty different levels: I pray less, I let stress build up more, I hold onto anger, I lose my flexibility, I get injured more, I don’t sleep as well, to name a few. (Good “I’ statements for all of those.) Therefore, this year, I will return to doing yoga consistently.
Here’s a funny thing: I think every year for the past nineteen or so, “writing more” has been one of my resolutions, usually my top one. I am going to write more in 2020. But it’s nice to look back and see I wrote a lot. As I said in yesterday’s post, I need to celebrate where I can.
Are you making New Year’s Resolutions? If you are, I encourage you to share them, here or with someone else. Saying things out loud and stating them publicly, even to one other person, makes you more likely to keep them. Words have power.