More Signal, Less Noise

The Q train is stalled. It’s running on the N line and has dissolved 45 minutes of my life. This is an excellent metaphor for something, I’ll keep it in my pocket. It’s also a great opportunity to ruminate on the end of 2016.

Oh wait! We're moving. . . 50 feet... annnnnd ... stop. Fantastic.

I've seen and read many bits and blurbs about taking stock of life at year's end. They cover the landscape regarding resolutions, not making resolutions; how it's an arbitrary bullshit marker having no significance, how it's the most important symbolic new beginning we have; "new year-new me". Another trip around the sun. A time for the YMCA to refill their coffers. 

Personally, the end of December and the passing of another year marks the season for unfettered emotional masochism.

This is when I look at where I'm not. It's when I consider my failings driven by inaction, fear, complacency, and distraction. It’s a self-inflicted "airing of grievances", and pulling punches doesn’t come easily. Granted, this is all tucked up in my head. Externally, I try to keep up the cheer, but I think it leaves a number of those close to me befuddled when my resting bastard face seems a bit more strained as the ball drops. 

Strategies are built, course corrections are plotted and a general feeling of relief comes as I look toward the potential for the next 12 months with flickers of optimism. As with so many lofty goals though, they usually sputter with fits and starts, or fade as routine takes back the weeks. Like those epic travel plans you made with your friends after 7 hours of whiskey at that bar in Park Slope, fruition is dubious at best.

So for this coming year, I'm attempting something simpler; a mantra, an algorithm to apply holistically: More signal, less noise.

With friendships and the people I love.

In how I treat myself.

With what I consume from the world.

With what I read, listen to and watch.

In what I produce.

In the words I speak.

In what I stand for.

Okay, for sure, it is lofty, preachy, vague and probably derivative of a dozen different philosophies, but it’s what I’m gonna run with. And maybe, having spent an additional 45 minutes sequestered in transit, yet writing this, I’m off to a decent start.

Happy New Year!