Paradox View: 2013

Happy New Year!

As I sit and reminisce about the year recently passed, I am amazed. Stunned. Incredulous. 2013 was at once quotidian and extraordinary. I  changed in subtle and significant ways. At the same time, I didn’t change at all, I just added my right brain to the mix.  Should I do a top ten? A month-by-month? Stream-of-consciousness? Categories? Cause-and-effect? All of the above?

This is one of the “significant” changes. Before now I would have had one idea, one structure, and gone with it. Now I am considering all the options and constructing a new structure. I’m moving away from “mildly adaptive” to that other thing, which I can’t remember, and I don’t feel like looking up at the moment.

I still procrastinate. I still smoke. I’m still a slob. But all a little less so. Now I am mindful of those “failings” and I am creating (and implementing) strategies and habits to overcome them.

Important Books of 2013:

Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman. I’m only about half-way through, but it is the textbook of all the changes in me this year. It’s teaching me why I think the way I do, and how to think better. Slower. Mindfully.

Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter. This book should be required reading for every American. It forced me to think about my impact on the planet. I posted a comment to the author. That’s a significant change for me. I remember wanting to drop a line to Nora Ephron when I read I Feel Bad About My Neck. I didn’t do it then, and now it’s too late. RIP, Nora.

A Whole New Mind, Dan Pink. I have been thinking about the precepts of this book for a couple of years, since I saw the author’s PBS special. It was great to get a refresher of the six abilities (Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, Meaning). And it was a bonus to visit the Montclair Library, Bellevue Avenue Branch. A magnificent building. One problem was that most of the internet references were out-of-existence tinyurl pages.

Saving Fish from Drowning, Amy Tan. Pure magic. The characters have stayed with me. I was drawn to this book after seeing Amy Tan on TED. It was a link in the Idea Cloud from CIC.

Beasts, Men and Gods, Ferdinand Ossendowski. The first book I sold on Amazon Marketplace. Woot!


Lee Daniels’: The Butler. This movie was personally significant in several ways. I saw it first-run in a theater. That’s rare for me. I saw it with Joanne, during “The Month of Joanne”. The last time we went to the movies together was probably “Magical Mystery Tour” at the Verona Theater. I don’t actually remember if she was in that group or not. And this movie spanned my lifetime, so it was like a very personal history.

The rest of the movies I saw were On-Demand or Redbox. I’m pretty sure they included Red and The Intouchables, which were fun and fabulous respectively. I rent from Redbox most weekends at the shore because I don’t have cable. I think Barbara and I skipped the Super-Bowl movie this year. We were talking about some Animated Shorts thing but I’m pretty sure we just stayed in.


CIC: Creativity, Innovation, Change. The big one. The last exercise was to present the synthesis of the class which you can see here. This class taught me how to embrace, stimulate, appreciate the creative me instead of fearing and sublimating her. It was the stepping-off point to a more interesting and fulfilled life, for which I will be forever grateful.

A Beginner’s Guide To Irrational Behaviour. This course started me on a “thinking about thinking” path that has been a provocative journey this year.

Wow, it’s going to take a full year to recap a whole year. Time to start wrapping it up so I can get on with the business of 2014. Too bad I didn’t do all the blogging I wanted to in 2013 (see “procrastination” above), because then it would already be documented. Hmmm. Should I do a 2013 retrospective or start from here and now? Maybe a little of both.

Wishing you gratefulness and mindfulness in 2014.