Goddamn I love this time of year. Not only because of mimosas and mince pies and friends and fun (which, to be fair, are things I love a very lot), but because of how good it is to not be productive for a bit. It's old farming wisdom: you can't continually plant and harvest in the same ground - sometimes you have to let a field lie fallow so that it can recover its fertility. Sometimes you have to close your laptop for a few weeks and spend time stuffing your face with ice cream and reading terrible magazines. For your health!
There's a dorky exercise I like to do with myself every year around this time: I grab a piece of paper and write down all the best things that happened in that year. Then I flip that page around and write some goals for the year that's starting. I've been doing this since I was a teenager, and it's DELIGHTFUL to look back on your goals and laugh at them (last year, one of my goals was "learn to surf" which... lol), and to marvel at how the best things that happen in your life are usually the ones you could never have planned or predicted or even hoped for.
It's like Very Smart Person Winston Churchill (apparently) once said:
"Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential."
The process of planning is great: it helps you to think about what you want and bring clarity to your desires. But the plans themselves don't mean shit, because life is a remarkable, unpredictable bastard. So make lists of goals, but then forget about those lists because they don't matter; it was the process of writing them down that you needed.
You can learn from these lists, too. Every year, without fail, my gratitude list always ends up being filled with the names of people. And yet, every year my goals are about BIG ACHIEVEMENTS that I think will somehow make me happier. So this year, I'm trying something different: my 2020 goals are all about humble things like trying to be a better friend, partner, sister and daughter, and to spend more quality time with myself (no, not like that you PERVS, I mean like going for walks).
Anyway, I highly recommend this little reflection exercise. All you need is a pen, a piece of paper, and some fallow time.
(Pro-tip: photograph your lists and save them somewhere you'll be able to find it next year so that you can look back at your goals and laugh at the hopeless naivety of past you).
See you in 2020!
Wishing you mountains of mince pies,
Your friend Sam
UPDATES FROM SAM-LAND
Something that gives me enormous delight: my friend Tegan has this magical webcomic called The Weekly Scribble where she explains a complicated topic in a fun cartoon. And this week, she chose to illustrate the TEDx talk I did last year about why lifestyle upgrades don't make us happy. EXCUSE ME WHILE I DROWN MYSELF IN AN INFLATABLE POOL OF JOY.
And this other delightful thing: 100 balloon cats of gratitude floating off to you lovely people. I have no idea when they'll get to you, because the postal system is dark magic and thoroughly predictable.