One of my favorite gifts this Christmas was an old school datebook for the year 2016.
Truth is, I asked for this gift because I’m determined to remember this coming year. I don’t know about you but I forget a lot of things that go on during the year, like what I had for lunch yesterday.
I don’t really care about lunch but I do care about the books I’ve read, the people I’ve seen, the places I’ve been. I remember some of them of course but I don’t know what I’ve forgotten. Once in a while I look over the books I’ve reviewed on Amazon, books that I’ve forgotten I’ve even read, and yet there’s the proof–a pretty cogent review of that very book.
Does this matter? I think so, and I think the more we live in an online world, the more likely we are to forget. There are books in my library I’ll never forget reading, perhaps mainly because the physical books are still there as a reminder. That doesn’t happen with an e-reader. There, the books almost seem to exist in the ether.
It’s the same reason I want to physically write down what I’m going to be doing this next year. Writing reminders on online calendars just doesn’t work for me. My “To Do” list exists on a piece of paper on my desk. I’ve tried using those online post-it notes, or what have you, but they never work. Maybe I’m old fashioned. That could be but I want to remember.
In any year, I read dozens of books, most of them on the Kindle app on my smartphone. This year, I want to know how many books I’ve read and I want to remember something about each of them even the bad ones.
The good books always jump out at you. For instance, the best non-fiction books I read last year were “One of Us” about the Norwigian killer who killed 77 people in and around Oslo in 2011, many of them teenagers and immigrants. I also loved “A House In The Sky” by Amanda Lindhout who was held captive for a year and a half by radical jihadists in Somalia. Both books are deadly serious but don’t let that stop you.
As for places I’ve been, well, I remember going to the Motown Museum–Hitsville USA–in Detroit and a trip to the transcendent Adirondacks but I’m not sure which movies I saw or what meals were particularly memorable. This year, I hope to change all that and I hope that by living more mindfully, the year will also feel fuller, slower, and not as amorphous as years tend to do, especially as you get older.
Cheers and Happy New Year!