It’s January, the time when we let out a collective sigh, reflect on our failures and missed opportunities of the past year, then make plans to do and be better. The time when we develop visions of unreachable grandeur and set goals we don’t intend to keep. Make a million promises to ourselves to meet the expectations of evolving, becoming something other than what we already are. The same is never enough. Looking forward and striving is to give meaning to the mundanity of everyday life. Becoming is ultimately a means of forgetting who we are, or at the very least not thinking about ourselves but living in the future personal utopia just past the horizon.
So, today, I ask you kindly, dear reader, to join me in resolving to reject all things that may give us comfort, but have been researched, tested, approved en masse, then reproduced ad nauseam until they become simulacra. I’m asking you to reject our monocultural moment in all its myriad forms. Resolve to avoid all people, places, and things designed and marketed to you as fun – lowest common denominator and mass-produced fun. Fun imposed rather than experienced. Instead find joy and fun in being present in your everyday surroundings, always looking up and experiencing. Abstain from all art and entertainment copied, reproduced, and scaled based on the received wisdom of an unknowable mass. Stop supporting the production of biopics, anodyne super-hero tales, moralistic war films, and glib horror stories. Turn off the music of egocentrism and self-reflective personas. Take risks, stand on the outside and look in with a critical eye. Appreciate art for its contribution to the conceptual conversation of the moment or art that asks the questions and incites the conversations you haven’t considered. Don’t allow yourself to be a market maker for a wealthy person’s diversified investment. Avoid over-lit malls, online megaplexes, or anything where spending money turns into competitive sport. Ensure you aren’t contributing to the development of an under-class, dependent on underpaid gig services that you are perfectly capable of doing yourself. Make an effort to use less, consume less, be content with things that have no price and require nothing of your environment. Give back to others more than you take. Illicit random moments of inspiration with pure, unexpected kindness.
It’s time to look inward and re-assess anything and everything. Let the weight of crowd expectations dissipate. Unburden yourself from everything that is a barrier to seeing the complex, unknowable, nuanced, and ultimately beautiful world that spins around you. Always be critical. Take nothing for granted. Don’t accept things as they are, but make them the way you think they should be.