in random rambling

A goal for the new year

Last year was, in many ways, a rather difficult year for me.

There were certainly a lot of good things — we moved into our house, we adopted a puppy, and I switched to an interesting new team at work. But there was also a lot of unpleasantness and stress, and I frequently felt like I couldn’t manage to take a breath for fear of letting some urgent thing go undone.

Some of that is unavoidable, of course. We’re entering the third year of a global pandemic, our political situation in the United States is infuriating and dangerous, and family and work will often pick the worst possible time to spring crises on us.

But in my case at least, a lot of the stress I felt came from how I reacted to things. I felt like I couldn’t slow down, couldn’t sit and think, even though doing so was often exactly what I needed to do. The urgency was often something I imposed on myself, not something that came from the situation.

So, to the extent I have a new year’s resolution, it’s to slow down. To spend more time thinking, and planning, and reading, and less time reacting to whatever I find most stressful in the moment. Overall, to reduce urgency.

We’ll see how it goes, of course. Some things are difficult to control.