Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tabula rasa

The new year is arbitrary, ultimately, but we do get a bit emotional about quiet death of a year that was never ours to begin with. Me, I was sad to see 2013 go, though most of my friends were keen to douse it in lighter fluid and hatefully toss the lit match.

Last year I resolved to read a book every month which I most certainly did not accomplish. Still, the specter of "read more" was the friendly ghost that haunted me the whole year. I wrote down titles recommended to me, added books to online shopping carts, and my friends leant me their favorites. I finally read Lolita. The stack of books on my nightstand grew and the sight of them comforted me even if I often was undermotivated to crack a spine before bed. My nighttime ritual of choice remains this: holding my bright phone very close to my face and refreshing Twitter and Instagram and e-mail one last time before bed. Then I close my eyes and see pulses of light for five minutes as my brain tries to recover from the stimuli.

Fitting then that this year, I resolve to be less tethered to my phone. I told Nick this and he laughed in my face, rightfully. I think of myself as having respectable phone etiquette in public but still, when I am in a waiting room, I am fiddling with my phone. At red lights (I know) I am fiddling with my phone. When Nick and I are trying to enjoy a TV show together, I am fiddling with my phone and then asking for clarification on plot points I've missed. While I am being honest about my bad/sad? behavior, sometimes in the middle of a run, I will check my pace with my running app....and then see if anyone has fav-ed a tweet that I thought was good.

Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.

My motivation, I will sheepishly admit, is that at some point I hope to be a parent and I want my phone to be a useful tool, but not a cyborg palm implant. I don't want any small people including my phone when drawing a picture of me. While it seems premature, if I've learned anything through changing my diet and developing a fitness regimen in the last few years, it's this: good habits are hard to build, bad habits are slow to break.

Yesterday, I was superstitious about "starting as I mean to go on"  in 2014. I ran sprints in the park, ate plenty and well, washed the bed linens, and wrote in my log (what 27-year-olds call diaries, I've decided), started my first batch of kombucha. I set my alarm on my phone, but went to sleep without refreshing that last burst of information. This morning I made Nick and I a simple but substantial breakfast with whole grains and protein (egg-in-a-hole or in my household "egg in a toast") and walked to work through the 3 inches of fresh powder that fell overnight.

Sure, the cleansing blanket of white was a little on-the-nose for January 2nd, but I'll take it. I believe in omens when they're good.


  1. This is a good resolution. I might steal it. Lemme just check my phone one last time though.