Year of Active

Curiosity killed the cat. It’s a common proverb used to dissuade someone from unnecessary investigation. Originally it was “care killed the cat,” but if you want to know about that just check out the Wikipedia page. That’s an example of further reading. Something that writers, teachers, podcasters, youtubers and more put in the notes of their presentation to allow those more curious, those people that are willing to dig deeper an opportunity to do so. I’ve always taken pride in my curiosity. Why then do I avoid these opportunities to learn more than what I’m merely told? Why is it that when I speak with my friends about politics, when I learn about a new concept at university or when I watch an interesting video I leave it at that and never think to investigate more? Well, because curiosity killed the cat, right? I was told that there is in fact a second line to our famous proverb. It’s an unofficial one, but I like to retort with it whenever anyone quotes the original. “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.”

Last year I decided to try and do something about it. I decided that I was going to make a New Year’s Resolution, to “read more about everything I learned”. I had decided that I was going to take advantage of my education, take advantage of the resources I had. I was going to learn everything about everything. Then life got in the way, I couldn’t manage my time and in the end I learned very little about a lot of things. I learned what I had to in order to pass my year in university, I learned what I had to in order to have something to say in the political discussions of my housemates. I passively learnt about nothing through videos on YouTube, through podcasts and through the headlines of news apps. Nothing really ever sank in and if you asked me now what I learned, I would be able to tell you that black doesn’t match with navy.

This is an example of one of the many things that a New Year’s Resolution aims to improve in a life. Often people realise that there is something that they would like to change about their life and they make a New Year’s Resolution to do just that. Maybe more than one, maybe a whole list, a whole agenda. They all end up the same as mine. Six feet under by the end of January. In a stroke of situational irony, I found the solution while listening to a podcast called Cortex. In it they spoke about yearly themes, what they had chosen and what it meant to them. A yearly theme (to me, as I understand it) is a title that you give to your year, to direct it in some way, to influence your decisions and to encourage some positive change. It’s difficult to explain why this might be any different to a single, vague resolution like “become healthier” or “learn something new”. For me at least it’s better than that. It allows me to add some shape to my goals as I set them throughout the year, it makes things more manageable. Plus it’s nice to be able to pinpoint something about your life that you’re not quite happy with and take steps to change it (realistic change being the key model).

This year, from the moment I publish this post, I am working on my Year of Active. Not active as in activity and doing more (God only knows I do enough as it is); not active as in physically active, exercising and running and going to the gym; not active as in proactive, solving all my problems before they appear. Active in this case refers to the opposite of passive. Most of my life I’ve done things passively. I cook without really thinking about the tastes I’m creating, I dress without thinking about what is particularly fashionable and I learn from lectures and videos and podcasts without reading more or learning more than what I’m told. I’ve always taken pride in my curiosity, but curiosity killed the cat and there was never any satisfaction to bring it back. From now on I’m going to set goals, learn and make decisions all guided by this theme of active. I can cook better meals, dress in better fashion and get more from my degree if only I get off my ass and do a little to learn about it all.

I enjoy writing blog posts, even if this is my first in a LONG time. On a separate note I love sharing what little fun facts that I learn. I figured this would be perhaps not the perfect, but certainly a good platform for doing both of the above. From now on I think I’ll use this almost like a notebook, a record of the things I learn about and the things I dig into as I understand them. Today it was yearly themes and why they are better (in my opinion) than new year’s resolutions. Tomorrow it could be why some oranges have seeds and others don’t, even if they’re in the same packet. Who knows what I might want to ask, but at least this time I’ll have some sort of answer.

What about your yearly theme? Do you have one in mind? Let me know, sharing is caring 😊

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