Another Year, Huh?

Or: My anti-resolution resolutions for another lap around the flaming gasball centering our solar system.

When: January 1, 2024

Where: Northern Kitsap Peninsula, Washington, USA

Ah, I see humanity has somehow managed to not wipe ourselves out quite yet and we’ve earned our “survived 2023” merit badges, huh? Time for yet another lap around the sun - may we continue to not extinct ourselves on this lap!

I’m not a particularly sentimental person when it comes to holidays: there’s years where the only reason I remember my birthday or, say, Christmas happen at all are because other folks won’t let me forget. It’s thus probably not terribly surprising to learn that I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions: if I were, I’d be setting myself up for disappointment, because the twice I ever tried making proper New Year’s Resolutions (“I will do X this year”), I didn’t quite reach X, and thus “failed” by conventional metrics. In both cases, however, I did reach X-N, some waypoint along the route to X, and learned valuable things. This has led me to generally think of “New Year’s Resolutions” as more of “New Year’s Challenges” - as I noted in “On Starting”, I tend to do well with jumping headfirst into challenging things for the sake of the challenge, and seeing where I end up. There’s no such thing as failure, only progress and learning. And so, such challenges are the topic of today’s blog post.

I spent some time at the tail end of 2023 thinking through what I’d like to challenge myself to in 2024. There’s tons of options - would I like to sail to some wild destination? Learn a particular woodworking technique? Have a certain amount of money in my bank accounts? “Finish” some side code project of mine? Ultimately, the answers to all of these are: “yes? no? kinda? all of the above?…”, which doesn’t lend itself to actually sticking to a goal and continuing to challenge myself. One day while tidying up the kitchen (oh hai, I’m back on land these days - I haven’t really blogged about this yet or updated /now, but it’s come up on Mastodon), the obvious answers were staring me right in the face: paper, plastic, and accountability to both.


For a guy who hasn’t sat down and read a book to completion since the winter of 2018-19 (when I somehow managed to binge read The World as It Is on recommendation of a rather politically-minded friend), I own an astounding number of books on a further astounding number of topics. From a pile of about 12 cookbooks (like this gem I scored at a punk shop in New Jersey) to several books about the tech industry and the ills it inflicts on the world, to books on learning how to embrace boredom, I’ve got an absurdly long To Be Read pile that never really shrinks. And that’s a damn shame, because many of the books in that pile are excellent.

Thus, my challenge to myself for 2024 is this (and I’ve scoped it to be attainable given my comically busy life and questionable attention span while ramping up on a “new” thing): cook at least one recipe from any of my cookbooks each month, and make a blog/digital garden (NOT Mastodon!) snippet about the experience. Read at least one of the nonfiction books by July 1, and then another by next January 1, and write a blog/digital garden (NOT Mastodon!) snippet about each.

That’s it. The timelines are intentionally forgiving, the bars are intentionally low. I’m not saying I “will learn how to cook in X style”, I’m not saying I “will clear out my TBR”, I’m asking myself to try a new habit, and share my thoughts with the world in a healthier manner than typical. That’s it. I can miss the mark, I can overshoot it, whatever, but I have to try.


Something I complain about at least once a quarter on the thought-spewing site is how much comically absurd amounts of packaging this world uses, and particularly, single-use plastics. But what good is just complaining to the void if I don’t make some steps to fix it? My challenge to myself for this year is somewhat two-fold:

Your Turn!

So that’s it! That’s my anti-resolutions for this year: to be more thoughtful, and publicly so, about papers and plastics. If this format of anti-resolution in the name of personal growth sings to you, I invite you to think about your own self-challenges, to blog about them publicly (get your #100DaysToOffload started, pals!), and to maybe inspire others to become better people, too, at healthier, hopefully more sustainable, paces than an absolutes-based “resolution”.

Happy new year, folks. Be well, be real, be wise, be foolish, but most of all, be human!