As the hot dumpster fire that was 2016 begins to finally cool down, we can now turn our attention to the new year before us. So fresh, so bright, so pristine! It still has that new year smell!
Some people mark the erosion of one more year from life’s calendar by making resolutions, cleaning, connecting to people, or a range of other rituals and practices. Whatever you do to usher out the old year and welcome the new one, having some guideposts for navigating the next year might help. Might we recommend these seven years of life lessons from the amazing Maria Popova of Brain Pickings? Read them, write them out, put them in your pocket or buy a poster. If you like, pick a favorite or two. Can’t decide? How about these two:
“Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. Ours is a culture that measures our worth as human beings by our efficiency, our earnings, our ability to perform this or that. The cult of productivity has its place, but worshipping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living — for, as Annie Dillard memorably put it, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
“Be generous. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued. To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.”
If you aren’t familiar with Popova’s work, be warned, the site is a veritable treasure trove of artfully curated information.