I’m a pretty big fan of the concept of Themes, as devised on the Cortex podcast by Myke Hurley and CGP Grey. To tl;dr it: Rather than setting a New Year’s resolution—which is often overly specific and easy to fail at as a result—you instead define an overarching theme for the coming year.
The heck is a Theme?
Grey made a video explaining Themes a few years back:
Themes are a bit vague and nebulous, purposefully unlike resolutions. This allows the meaning of it to adapt to changing needs and circumstances.
Instead of resolving to lose weight, for example, you might create the Year of Health. That could include exercising more, eating better, learning to meditate, improving your mental health, recovering from an injury, or any number of other things. The idea is that any progress is valid progress—even if you fail to reach any specific outcomes.
For 2023, I’ve chosen two themes: I want 2023 to be my Year of Writing and Year of Reconnection, and true to both of those ideals, I figure I should post progress updates.
Year of Writing
The idea behind this theme is pretty self-explanatory: I want to write more.
Pre-pandemic, I was actually pretty good at pumping out prose. Not exceptionally good, but I could comfortably do four or five short stories a year, a blog post or two, and an immeasurable amount of encyclopaedic wiki contributions on top of that too. I even did a poem every now and again.
The Covid lockdown, for several reasons, killed that momentum, and it hasn’t really recovered since.
I already started ramping up blog post production in 2022 and that’s something I’d like to keep up going forward, ideally writing at least a couple of posts a month. Previous posts have largely dealt with self-identity—which I think is perfectly fine and sensible for my personal gosh darn blog—but I’d like to mix some more technical and web development-related topics in there.
And so far, I have! January had two blog posts, one of which was explicitly about a dorky web development thing, and I’m pretty happy with them both. We’ll just have to see how that goes.
Fiction didn’t make much progress in January, but I’ll hopefully get to it.
Year of Reconnection
Reconnection is a bit more of a personal conceit. Over the years I feel like I’ve drifted from quite a lot of people and communities I used to be involved with.
For example, despite being a furry for going on 18 years, I’d not actually been a regular furmeet attendee or attended a convention since 2010.
Some of this drift was inevitable: circumstances change, friends move away, people change. But in many other cases, the blame was purely my own: I left people behind, I failed to make the effort, I was the bad guy. I’ve recognised and carried that guilt for quite some time now, and I’d like to patch those cracks if folks are amenable to it.
Ironically, I started the month by disconnecting. I left Twitter. This might still be a blessing in disguise, as it’s removed me from the collective’s stream of consciousness. I can no longer assume I know what’s going on in other people’s lives, nor can they assume they know mine. We have a reason to talk again.
I’ve started attending furmeets again. Technically I started doing this sporadically in 2017, but it’s only in 2022 that I aimed to go every single month and started to feel like I was getting to actually know people again. I’m also going to be attending ConFuzzled later this year—my first furry convention in 13 years—and I’m actually looking forward to it.
Reconnection, I feel, might be the more difficult Theme to achieve success in. I’m an immense introvert. Starting a conversation in the first place is often a source of anxiety, and this is only made worse if it’s over the phone, or a video call, or a stranger, or a professional, or…
Yeah. Anyway, Themes are neat. Highly recommend. Onward to February.