For the latest version of this blog, go to http://palimpsest.typepad.com/frogsandravens
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Even though I haven't decided to commit fully to Typepad (there are some things that bug me, like it's clunky navigation menus) I'm going to give up on double-posting. It's just too slow and tedious over a dial-up connection.
So come on over to the new location, and watch the kinks get ironed out!
New Year's Resolutions are such tricky things. The beginning of another year does seem like an ideal moment to kickstart better behavior, but it's not like with the dropping of a ball you are transformed into someone able to make the changes any more easily. It is much easier to fall back into the rut than to climb out of it, let alone make a new one!
For myself, I'm hoping to eat better and exercise more (like everyone else making resolutions, no doubt -- the sale of gym memberships and exercise equipment supposedly spikes in January and drops off just as quickly). So far I've had one evening of eating well and several long walks; I'll try to build on that.
It would be nice if I could manage to be less negative and apathetic, too, but I suspect it'll take more work that I'm willing to invest at the moment (as this very sentence proves!). I'll settle for feeling like I'm making some sort of progress or learning to be content with how things are.
There have been several articles in the papers about how one of the maladies of the modern consumer society is an excess of choice -- 50 kinds of cookies, 10 brands of toothpaste, infinite varieties of clothing options, etc. -- and about the depression and paralysis that results from said. I'm sceptical. As a person who commonly finds herself outside the mainstream in many ways, I'd argue that the problem is not too many choices but too many varieties of undesirable choices. Having a hundred diet books that offer myriad ways of losing weight is not helpful to me; one well-written one on how to eat better and gain some weight would be. So if having "too many choices" means that there are 101 diet books including the one useful to me, instead of 10 books that are not, I cannot see how having "too many choices" is a bad thing. In this example, "too many" means A choice, rather than none at all. It is easy for me to think of many other such examples; my favorite brands of toothpaste, shampoo, even tea and milk and bread, are all out of the mainstream. If consumers were restricted somehow to only 2, or 5 (or 10) varieties of these things, I doubt products filling my needs would find their way to the shelves.
So too with resolutions and life paths. True, it is easy to feel paralyzed by the myriad options supposedly available to me. More though, I feel frustrated by the ways many of those options are closed to me and how others seem ill-suited to my desires and needs. The question, then, is whether to adapt to the mainstream and limit my fretting to how to choose between a variety of similarly unrewarding things (like clerical jobs, or, heaven forfend, sales -- both of which seem to always be advertising for more people) or keep hunting for that one odd option that seems more like me. The latter seems truer to me, so my last resolution is to keep up the hunt and to continue my transistion out of academe with as much style and grace as I can muster.
Yep, snow. The ol' Pacific Northwest got a faceful over the last few days. And now I'm back in sunny California, and, ironically, I'm colder in my own apartment than I was the whole time there. (Gotta get around to calling the gas company about turning on the furnace one of these days...)
Posts are probably going to be brief over the next few days; I'm testing out Typepad this month and seeing if I want to switch over to it permanently, and I expect that playing with the configuration (and/or transferring data) is going to eat up most of my online time. If you want to visit the work in progress, the URL is http://palimpsest.typepad.com/frogsandravens/ . I may try double-posting for a while, until I pick one or I get sick of doing so.