A New Beginning (?)

Each new year, some set goals or make resolutions. While I don’t really consider New Year’s Day to be particularly important, the idea of changing habits is something that appeals to me and the social construct of doing this on January 1st, particularly of a year ending with zero, affords me an opportunity to do this. However, I don’t really like the idea of giving something up for the sake of giving sometihng up. Rather, I prefer to find undertakings or perspectives that disturb me and replace them with habits that will hopefully be better for me, my environs, and those who deal with me or my environs. Here I will try to name a few activities that I plan on eliminating and describing what I hope to achieve in their stead. Also important in this: accountability. If you know me or read what I write and notice that I am not keeping up with my proclaimed intentions, it’s helpful for you to mention that to me. So with that…

A Life without Facebook.

One significant aspect of my online life has really grown to annoy me: Facebook. When I joined Facebook something like eleven years ago, I was excited about a platform that would allow me to engage with my family and old friends from home and childhood now that I live nowhere near most of them. (I grew up in Louisiana and live in Germany.) In the beginning, things were going well and I really felt like I was taking part in the lives of people that I cared about by engaging with their posts, stories, comments, pictures, etc. and through their engaging with mine. With time however, I have noticed a decided drop in the amount of content that I would describe as “interesting” or “relevant”, at least on an interpersonal level. Rather than finding out what my friends and family are up to and how they are doing, I have found myself increasingly exposed to memes (of greater or lesser quality) and propaganda (whether based on fact or complete fabrication). Basically, my timeline is full of junk, and I realized that I no longer hear from the people that I want to hear from on Facebook anymore. Given Facebook’s stance on gladly spreading disinformation (as long as the price is right), it’s time for me to go. By the end of January, I plan to delete my account. While it served a purpose for me for a while, gifting me contact with people I was missing and sometimes showing me that there were people I wish I knew and had known better, that usefulness seems to have passed. I hope to replace the time I spend on Facebook with

More Blogging.

For ages, I’ve wanted to spend more time writing, not only professionally, but also just generally. I think that the time I spent / wasted on Facebook could be efficiently be used to this end. Therefore, I hope to publish regularly (weekly… hopefully…) here. My goal is to cover some things about work, but also things that I enjoy (or don’t) more generally. I would like to write reviews about books, shows, music, and film and probably some recipes, as well as travel, but also comment on my work and the work of other scholars I engage with. These posts probably won’t all be as long (or well-structured) as this one, but who knows?

Less Meat and Sugar.

For environmental and health reasons (respectively), I hope to reduce my intake of meat and sugar. These changes will hopefully also positively impact my resolution to blog more by providing me with relevant content about what I cook and where I go.

More Vegan Meals and Walking.

Rather than merely replace meat with animal alternatives, I hope to eat more vegan meals (though not always) and am thankful for any tips that you might have in this regard. Replacing sugar with movement seems like the best move (pun somewhat intended). I spend an awful lot of time at a desk and need to get up and shuffle about aimlessly more (as is slowly befitting of my age). By increasing my non-animal intake and moving myself around more, I hope to set a better example of living for my daughter.

Less Listening to Respond.

I have a tendency (I think most of us do, or at least more of us than would care to admit it) to listen to what people are saying in order to respond to them from my experience or with my (brilliant) ideas. Particularly in a political climate like the one currently reigning, that is probably generally counterproductive and makes the situation worse.

More Listening to Learn.

Therefore, I want to listen more to learn from the experiences of others and really hear what they say and what lessons they garnerned from their experiences. Through social media (particularly—though not exclusively—Twitter, in this case), I realized that I have a lot to learn from the lives of others. The stories I’ve heard or read about sexism and racism (among other things) have really shocked me into a new awareness. I didn’t realized things were as bad as they are until I really started hearing how the experiences of others sometimes drastically differed from my own. (E.g., I don’t ever have comments on student evaluations that comment on my appearance, a privileged that is apparently not afforded many of my female colleagues. I didn’t even know that such comments were a thing until I heard from these colleagues.)

Less Working Time Alone.

In my discipline, we often—rather ironically, in my opinion— find ourselves working alone, even isolated. Honestly, I don’t think it’s healthy, and I think it contributes to an ever increasing issue with burnout and even the lowering standard of quality in what gets published.

More Collaboration.

Even though I’m kind of an introvert, I hope to get out of my comfort zone and colloborate with more friends and colleagues this year. I would greet the manifestation of such cooperations not only professionally, but also through things like blogging vlogging, or podcasting. Now that it’s 2020, it time for me to finally start acting like it’s 2010…

So, What do you think?

I’d love to hear from you and see who will engage with me on the journey ahead. Leave a comment or drop me a line. Let’s commit to be better in 2020, each in their own way. Happy New Year to you and yours!

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  1. Eduard W. Schlichtinger

     /  01/01/2020

    It‘s great to read this after a time that seems like ages. Your post seems like a plan, focusing on yourself and doing some kind of a review keeping up what still fits and getting rid of what doesn‘t fit any longer. What I often ask myself: is it really worth it to try to convince the others of your point or is it better to just enjoy your day (considering private life of course)?! I often prefer silent lonliness. I wish you and your little family all the best for 2020!

  2. If you write it, I’ll read it!
    I’d love to see blogging in general make a comeback in the 20’s. I wish I could just blame its downturn in the 10’s on Youtube, but it’s kids Fox’s age who are all over that. I think most of the people who quit blogging consistently over the last decade just switched their writing attentions toward the captions for their Instagram pictures. For some reason I don’t find reading (or writing those) as edifying or fulfilling.
    I dug that podcast you did on Balaam, so I’d listen to more of that, too!

  1. Reviewing My Goals for 2020: A Retrospect | Jonathan Robker: Exegete, Critic, Cook

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