A new year. A new decade. With climate change imminent, the economy in a tailspin, and civil society on the boil, the last decade hasn’t ended well. Looks gloomy? It doesn’t have to. As a bystander and spectator, you have options. Here are 20 resolutions to refocus your perspective.
1. Make Nature your religion
You don’t have to replace your religious beliefs with nature worship. Just make room in your prayers for the environment. And stop to notice the birds and butterflies.
2. Eat more home-cooked meals
Swiggy may be your go-to when hunger strikes, but cooking and eating together unites people. It’s also easier on the tummy, and the wallet.
3. Travel slow
If you see only sky when you look out of the window, you’re travelling too fast. Get on a train (not of the bullet variety) or a bus. And take a trip to a part of the country far removed from yours.
4. Journal your thoughts
Mental clutter is the enemy of clear thinking. Thoughts race and we rant to whoever will listen. Talk to yourself instead. Start a journal. Pen your thoughts. Review at the weekend to make sense of it all. You just might end up writing a book!
Also read: Why did the pedestrian cross the road?
5. Love a dog
You don’t have to get a dog to love one. Visit a kennel or a shelter. Humans don’t get this, but the root of all worries is a lack of acknowledged love. Dogs love back unconditionally. If you’re a cat person, my sympathies.
6. Support an independent artist
It takes guts to be an artist. To put your work out there and be judged is not for the faint of heart. Be they street musicians or painters, independent artists deserve a little more love. And not just on Instagram. Buy their work, gift their merchandise, and spread the word.
7. Be social, off media
When John Lennon said, “Count your age by friends, not years,” he wasn’t referring to Facebook. Social media followers amount to zilch if you feel lost in a gathering. Converse. Listen. Make your “social network” count.
8. Attend a peaceful protest
No matter which way you lean, taking part in a peaceful protest means you put aside your personal privilege to stand with a common cause. Just remember not to post selfies.
9. Use public transport
Save your car for the weekend drive out of town. Figure out bus routes. Print out the metro map. It’s the perfect cure for road rage.
10. Dump your phone for a day
It’s a frightening prospect, but try to spend a day without your phone. If you can inspire someone else to follow suit, the quality of conversation you will share is amazing. Plus, you can get a lot of work done.
11. Grow some food
If you have a patch of sunlit balcony, cultivate herbs and vegetables. If you don’t have this privilege, support small farmers near you, or invest in an organic farming collective that lets you take home a share of the produce. Either way, you win.
Also read: No laughing matter
12. Teach a skill
Real learning, the philosopher and educator Jiddu Krishnamurti said, comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased. The act of imparting what you know, impartially and unselfishly, can change your own life as much as the lives of those you teach.
13. Learn from a child
When in doubt, ask the kids. Or just watch them at play. Therein lie the answers to many of life’s complex questions.
14. Kick an old habit
I’m not advocating abstinence. It could be a word you say too often, or a behaviour that doesn’t suit you. Try a little awareness to realise when it kicks in. And gently ease it out of your system.
15. Make someone laugh
You don’t have to do stand-up comedy or read aloud from that Khushwant Singh joke book from a past life. Relax. Let people warm up to you. Sometimes, it’s just you that makes them laugh.
Live with it.
16. Honk a little less
Honking is a Pavlovian response. Thought is faster than action. You honk in your head a split second before you press the button. That’s the secret to not honking.
Also read: Say hello to the P-word
17. Remember, don’t Google it
The more you rely on internet search to complete your thoughts, the less work your brain does. Flex those cerebral muscles and stay in shape.
18. Make some music
You could sign up for that violin lesson and drive everyone nuts. Or you can drum quietly on the table until you learn to keep time. Choose the lesser of two evils.
19. Dance like nobody’s watching
Just look out for CCTV cameras.
20. Take fewer selfies