new year, new me: 2020 edition

wrap-up #02

Manila, 12 January—The other day, as we were winding down our Friday, I heard one of my co-workers say out loud: I can’t believe we’re only ten days into this year.

I couldn’t believe it either. This week has been, as expected, an exercise in frantically filling up January as fast as possible, and just like that, January’s already full to the brim with travel and other assignments. I didn’t expect 2020 to hold back, and so far it hasn’t, or at least, not during its first ten days.

Are you a New Year’s Resolution kind of person? One of the funnier resolutions I’ve heard so far was from my manager, who said that this year, her resolution is to NOT create more chat threads for work. HAHA. I love it because it’s so concrete, and it straddles the fine line between doable and impossible.

Anyway, I’m glad she said that out loud because now I know how to support her (e.g. be more circumspect about the threads I loop her into, or about my own chat-thread-making habits—ah, work in the 21st century!) I think it’s important to say resolutions out in the open because they’re so much easier to do when there are people around you who would support you.

I’ve been listening to Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast lately, and they’ve also been talking about setting goals for this year. And because it’s a gorgeous, perfect year—I mean, 2020!—I can’t blame them for labeling their New Year’s Resolutions lists, “20 for 2020”.

I tried coming up with my own list for 2020, and came up with the following below:

  1. Reading target: 12 books, any genre, physical or e-book, but would exclude school materials and fanfiction (a difficult parameter to set because last year I read a lot of really long and really damn good fanfiction)

  2. Writing target: (hahahaha) um 52 weekly write-ups, any topic. Something creative every… quarter? *squints* This is messy.

  3. Capture system target: Institute a commonplace book somewhere. This is a struggle. Is it online? Is it offline? Is it a mix of both? Should sit down and figure this out.

  4. Workout target: At least once a week.

  5. Travel target: One adventure per quarter.

  6. Sleeping target: (hahahahahahahaha—also) Try to sleep before midnight maybe four out of seven nights a week.

  7. Social media/smartphone target: No social media before 8 a.m. (I need more rules for my smartphone, really. I should take some time to figure this out.)

  8. Housekeeping target: Quarterly general clean-up and declutter a must—both physically and digitally. My files are a mess all the time.

  9. Milestone target: I really should graduate from MBA this year. And renew my passport.

  10. Financial target: Reduce credit card use by… 30%?

That took a lot longer than I thought it would, and some items have to be threshed out further, but I did enjoy having to think about things to list down—the year ahead is so open, and there’s so much that can be done with it—it’s all just a matter of being deliberate with your time.

In another episode of the Happier podcast, they talked about having a one-word theme to describe the year ahead. Someone shared that their word is Curate, because they wanted to be deliberate about the media they consumed, engaged with and paid attention to. I think it’s a sound goal; lately it’s been so difficult to find a quiet space to think. We’re always prone to distraction, and noise is everywhere—and by noise I don’t mean just sound, but noise in general: All these stimuli that poke at us but aren’t important.

I thought about Curate as a word once—what if I cut out everything unnecessary from my media diet? I found this to be too difficult because I’m a media person. It’s who I am—I’m curious about the contexts of memes, and I know how to enjoy good Internet humor and the occasional showbiz chismis with friends and co-workers (bad habit, I know). This doesn’t mean I don’t also enjoy a good thought-provoking longread or podcast, or documentary as well.

I also found that I can’t completely remove myself from interacting with political material and other issues in online spaces either—I mean, disinformation is already embedded as it is, and I feel like in whatever small way I must contribute to the overall effort of populating digital spaces with truth.

Given this, I think I’ve found my word—my one-word theme for this year is Dwell. This 2020, I will choose what issues and subject matters to delve into and dwell in. I know that the quality of my attention can be flexible. This 2020, I will choose my attention battles and adjust accordingly.

What's your New Year's Resolution?

Let’s help each other out

Anyway, I’ve mentioned that New Year’s Resolutions are hard, especially when you’re going at them solo. I hope you don’t mind if I seek your help once in a while in achieving mine.

Here’s how you can help me with my goals this year:

  1. Share a book you’re reading. If you’re reading something you think I’d enjoy, please let me know!

  2. Share your workout playlist. I love working out to music and I’m curious about what you’re listening to, hehe. (So you’d have an idea, here’s my current catch-all playlist for all the songs I go to the gym with.)

  3. Share your system. How do you organize your life? Do you have a commonplace book? How do you police your smartphone habits? How do you organize your files? I’m a sucker for systems. What works for you?

  4. Share your writing. Because it’s the best way to get inspired.

How can I help you with yours? Let me know!

Some last notes:

  • Fiction by Eliza Victoria (via Fireside Magazine): Where You Are Now is Better Than Where You Were Before. This went to unexpected places. Eliza does so much in only so many words, and of course, her queer characters always feel so real, and she’s always so tender with them. I always love the nerdy touches of science, and oh, that ending. Beautifully done. Read this.

  • No Two Ways by Chi Yu Rodriguez: Bisexual female lead is my buy-in for this one. It’s a quick, fun romp, and the characters are so funny and vivid! Humor and kilig are spot-on, and I would definitely watch this as a movie.

  • We finished Descendants of the Sun this week! It was so good! The entire thing end-to-end was like 16 hours, but it felt like a year! I think my favorite arc was the Earthquake arc one. Also: They really spent the last two hours of the series making everyone cry. It was so damn effective.

  • Thinking about trying this music organizing system on Spotify this year.

  • Ongoing listen: The Passenger List. It has Kelly Marie Tran!

Sorry I think I went on a bit, no? Hehe. See you next week!