New Year to Not Do List

Isn’t what we don’t do as important as what we do?

We’re used to making New Year resolutions—lists of things we wish to do.

But this year, which looks like an uncertain one for many of us, having a list of things to not do could be useful too.

So, what are some of the things I’d add to my not do list this year?

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Not try to convince anyone that they are wrong and I am right using rational arguments. It never works.

Not blame myself or others for things that go wrong when there is no ill will involved.

Not overthink my time away and make myself sad in the process.

Not want things that I love or care about to stay forever the same, or put another way, not to forget that everything changes, that chaos and decay are always at work on the backstage of our lives.

Not hold on to a fixed self or identity—allow life and experiences to influence me for the better.

Not buy things I don’t really need.

Not be indifferent to global warming and what is happening to the environment—don’t treat global working as if it’s other people’s problem and do nothing about it.

Not to live in my head all the time while my body goes through life like an automaton.

Not to keep myself to myself all the time even if my nature tends to be solitary and withdrawn.

Not read only books that I like and that support the ideas and beliefs I already have.

Not feel discontented about where I am and long to be in some other place.

Not go to bed too late if I can help it.

Not wake up too late if I can help it.

Not live only for myself and forget about others, about their problems and their struggles and their needs.

Not feel bad if it will not be possible to travel or to explore new places because of the coronavirus or of some other developments.

Not fail to appreciate the good things that I already have.

Not see without seeing, eat without tasting, drink without enjoying every mouthful of tea or water.

Not expect unreasonable things of myself or too much from others—not think that more is necessarily better.

Not forget that things have not come out of anywhere, that everything has a history, and respecting that history even if it conflicts with my current views of it.

Not get bogged down in the theory of things.

Not argue with my mother too much, not even when I feel in my heart that she is wrong; not be short-tempered with her.

Not keep my problems entirely to myself if a good pair of ears are willing to listen to them.

Not forget to breathe and to take joy in it.

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As you can see, there are lots of things I’d like to not do this year.

Will I manage to not do them all?

Most likely not.

I’ll probably fail at not doing some of them. But that’s okay.

Life is work in progress, always work in progress.

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What about you?

What’s something you wouldn’t want to do this year?

Versions of You

How many versions of you do you go through every day?

Probably more than the clothes in your wardrobe.

You change from one person to another, from one setting to another, from one feeling or mood to another.

Are you the same “you” with your mother that you are with your friends?

Is the “you” that you are with your best friend the same “you” that you are with your lover?

And the “you” that you are with your lover is the same as the “you” that you’ve been with your ex-lover?

And what about the “you” that you are with yourself?

Today “you” are yourself and tomorrow “you” are also yourself.

What changes and what stays the same?

You look more or less the same every day—your eyes don’t change color.

Your arms or legs don’t grow or shorten.

You keep your shape.

You are sky.

But like the sky you change.

And then you are also clouds.

You ask yourself “Who am I?”

And you answer every day, with everything you do, with every word you say or don’t say, with your silence, too.

You answer with every desire and every hope and every dream.

Consciously or not.

But are “you” the same “you” that you’ve been before you began to read this?

Will the same “you” that goes to bed today wake up tomorrow?

If “you” keep changing even as you keep staying the same, how can I know “you”?

And can “you” know me, if I, too, am like you and go through the same process of change?

But I know that there’s no fixed “you,” that you keep changing with your emotions and your thoughts and your dreams and your desires.

And “you” know the same thing about me.

We know each other through change.

We can pretend we know each other.

And make up stories, good or bad fictions.

But are we not wiser discovering our ignorance?

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I’ve been working from home since I was 18. During this time, I made all the mistakes you can possibly make when working from home. But I like to think I’ve learned from them.

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