Reality dawned this evening at about 5.54pm, village time. The delightful M family had left after their long-promised Irish Sunday dinner of roast lamb and all the trimmings. (And yes, I know today is Tuesday, but this is village time.) The lovely MI had been deposited at the train station to wend her way back to Budapest. The dishes were done and it was just that little bit too early to sit and watch the Young Montalbano. So, I logged on to check my emails to find that the rest of the world had obviously gone back to work today. Two emails in to the multitude begging for attention, my mind started to wander.
Some of the lamb-induced conversation centred on how smart the world is getting. We shared a concern that we are slowly relinquishing control of our lives to technology. Driverless cars are all well and good until a hacker breaks the access code, engages central locking and takes you to never-ever land. Smart homes are great in theory but what if the house gets smarter than you and locks you in, puts you on a diet of marmite and Dr Pepper, and forces you to listen to U2? And as for the smartwatches that let us answer our phone and check our emails? Do we really want to be that available, to see the end to ‘Oops, missed your call. Left my phone in the other room’ and the litany of similar excuses (?) trotted out when we simply don’t want to talk.
I started thinking of skills that could be endangered – needlepoint, handwriting, doing sums in your head, remembering just about anything – and as I internalised that hollow feeling that comes with needless worrying – like I can do anything to change the way the world is going – I went on FB to see where it was headed. JG had shared a post entitled Go deeper, not wider.
In it, the author imagines:
…. a tradition [they’d] like to invent. After you’re established in your career, and you have some neat stuff in your house, you take a whole year in which you don’t start anything new or acquire any new possessions you don’t need. No new hobbies, equipment, games, or books are allowed during this year. Instead, you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started. You improve skills rather than learning new ones. You consume media you’ve already stockpiled instead of acquiring more.You read your unread books, or even reread your favorites. You pick up the guitar again and get better at it, instead of taking up the harmonica. […] The guiding philosophy is “Go deeper, not wider.” Drill down for value and enrichment instead of fanning out. You turn to the wealth of options already in your house, literally and figuratively. We could call it a “Depth Year” or a “Year of Deepening” or something.
I’ll admit to being intrigued. A whole year without starting anything new or acquiring any new possessions? I quite fancy the idea, but maybe not this year – there’s a kitchen to be renovated and a terrace to be glassed in and I so want a sewing machine to run up some curtains and some cushion covers. But I might get a start on the hobbies/games/books…
As I still couldn’t face my emails I decided to postpone my return to work until tomorrow. And before rejoining the Young Montalbano (my NY watch), I read with interest what Peg Ludtke had to say about NY resolutions:
I could approach each day like I do making soup: aware of the possibilities, yet open to innovation and compromise.
That sounds like one I could borrow…