Fresh Starts

December 28, 2017 @ 5:08 pm | Filed under:

Inbox Zero

Yesterday was all about tying up the loose ends of my reading life in order to start the year with a clean slate. I looked over everything I’m in the middle of—so many books!—and decided, after some reflection, to take Penny’s advice from the comments and dive into the old favorites calling my name in that stack, or some very like them. Ever since I read Thornyhold, I’ve been hankering after The Scent of Water and Wise Child. And Lesley mentioned Miss Read…and I happened upon a description of Mary Stewart’s Rose Cottage that sounds even more enchanting than her Thornyhold. Impatiently waiting for the library copy to arrive…

(It occurs to me Thornyhold also has something of the flavor of Linnets and Valerians, which I’ve not reread in a few years…)

Anyway! That was yesterday’s Old Year Week work. Today I turned my sights to correspondence and (gulp) answered emails dating as far back as 2016. Mortifying but true. Snail mail correspondence is next, and feels like a luxury, not a chore. I’m still working this week, but at greatly reduced hours, and, well, after the year I’ve had, that feels like heaven.

It’s funny—I woke up this morning thinking: Right. I’m going to grant myself amnesty at the end of the year. Anything (non work-related, and work includes my Patreon) hanging unfinished—email, DMs, comment replies, reading plans, household chores, book reviews—all of it gets swept away at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and I will start afresh. And then immediately upon having cut myself this break, I began answering messages I should have replied to (wanted to reply to!) more than a year ago. By noon, I was all caught up. Why did I let it pile up in the first place? Answering was a pleasure—as soon as I gave myself permission not to.

Tomorrow I want to spend some time making High Tide plans for January. I’ll try to share those here. I say try to because I’ve learned not to make promises unless absolutely necessary. Curve balls happen and then I feel guilty. 🙂 But I miss, miss, miss this poor old blog and I’m trying (trying!) to restore some lost habits.

Related to that, I’ve been (again! perpetually!) pondering what, if any, changes I want to make in my social media habits this year. I visit Twitter maybe once a day now, almost out of a sense of obligation: I follow smart thinkers and feel a duty to check in on the day’s social and political commentary. But I can only manage it in small doses. I went almost totally silent on Facebook this fall…popping in occasionally when that same sense of duty propelled me to activism. Which I know is the opposite approach of many (most) of my friends, who have resolved not to bring activism or politics to Facebook. Sometimes my conscience says: you have to talk about this, so I try (try!) to listen. But I logged out of FB on my phone and tucked the app into a folder where it isn’t staring me in the face. I deleted all the games off my phone and unsubscribed from all but a handful of merchant newsletters. The few I kept are for small shops whose owners write thoughtful articles instead of spamming you with sale ads. ::shudder:: Ads bring out the Grinch in me: Oh the noise, noise, noise, noise!

Instagram remains a pleasant haven, a place to smile over friends’ family photos and adventures, and to enjoy glimpses of charming artwork or people’s book piles. Wisteria and Sunshine is a nourishing virtual retreat, like visiting Thornyhold or Juniper’s cottage; and there’s a small creative community I’m part of that is a daily delight. Mostly, though, I’ve wandered away from community discourse…which isn’t very like me, but I’ve had so much work on my plate, and I think I needed some breathing-in time. I’m feeling the wind change, though. I love turning the page to a new year. Always have.

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6 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Penelope says:

    Time and space to breathe in the scent of one’s own life is needful … this brave new world of social media has so many good things, but is fraught with perils as well … and it’s so new still!! Social and neuroscience both are doing amazing research; the detrimental affects are already well documented. I wonder what we’ll know in twenty years? Anyway! Breathing space: good! Balance is good!

    New leaves, new books, new year … always so much to learn and share and discover 🙂

    • Penny says:

      Well said!

      “brave new world of social media…” That’s a great phrase.

      Here’s wishing one and all peace and balance and joy (clinks glasses with loyal Lissa readers)! xo

      • Melissa Wiley says:

        Spot on. I often tell me kids we’re all guinea pigs in this internet experiment–that I’m among the first generation of parents to raise kids in a digital age, and they’re the first wave of kids growing up with it. (And second wave, if you look at the contrast between my three oldest and three youngest–which is itself a telling fact, that there is a noticeable difference in their experiences with only a few years’ age difference!) I think I’ve moderated it better for my kids than myself. I’m a try-er, a taster, a lover of new things. If you’re the one testing all the new species of wild mushrooms, you’re going to get a stomachache now and then. 😉

  2. Penny says:

    This is a really great post – so much wisdom and kindness (to yourself!) which is always a good thing.

    In all honesty, I’m not on social media except to read a few special blogs, so I really shouldn’t comment on it. But I did above, so I apologize, I’m sure it has its good points as well. Somewhere. lol

    I’m pondering high tide too, so fun. 🙂

    Enjoy your day!

  3. sarah says:

    I got Thornyhold from the library on your recommendation, but have been caught up with Connie Willis (yet again) so haven’t started it yet.

    Social media is a strange hydra. Yesterday I found myself contributing to three different conversations, in three different places, about the same weblog post. Twitter is my downfall, I am trying to stay away but always fail. I’m not sure why anyone uses Facebook anymore, the feed algorithm is such a mess, and it switches back to “most poular” every time you blink.

  4. Kim says:

    I guess with the beginning of a new year I’m always trying to tidy what was and what is to come. I did decide to completely eliminate social media for a season. I’m hopeful this will help my distractions…squirrel!!!….I even dreamed about baby squirrels last night!!!…hahaha.