Closing Out the Year
I woke up early this morning prepared to put in my last day of work before the new year. Then I saw an email instructing me to take the day off if I'd like. And I'd like. Very much. People need breaks from reading the madness that is the news, and since reading it has been such a huge part of my job every day for the past year and a half, I am thrilled to now be turning away from it for a week.
I'm also going to take the rest of the year off from Think List. Not because I have a strong desire to. I don't. I love having Think List as an outlet and would only write here more if I had my way. But a break still seems wise at the moment, both for your sake and mine. Forgive me if I change my mind later in the week, but for now, I'm confident that I can weather a week away.
Last night, I reread Haruki Murakami's short story "Drive My Car," which the film of the same name is based on. Later today I will reread Murakami's "Barn Burning," which the excellent film Burning is based on. I also bought a couple newer Murakami books that I haven't read yet, and I'm looking forward to spending long stretches with them in the coming days. Beyond that, I plan to round out my reset with extended yoga, breathwork, and meditation sessions. Some music, movies, podcasts, and afternoon naps are also in the cards. As is some time with my wife, unburdened by the stresses of our day jobs.
I will leave you now with these few end-of-year paragraphs from Matt Taibbi that I relate to very much. While he’s writing mostly in reference to the Twitter Files, which he calls a “road map back to something like reality,” I feel that I’m starting to see signs of our return to reality elsewhere online as well. Time will tell, I guess. But I’m hopeful. And it brings me some solace to know that there are voices like Taibbi’s in the world, cutting through the bullshit of ideological narratives in search and service of the truth.
Sometime in the last decade, many people—I was one—began to feel robbed of their sense of normalcy by something we couldn’t define. Increasingly glued to our phones, we saw that the version of the world that was spat out at us from them seemed distorted. The public’s reactions to various news events seemed off-kilter, being either way too intense, not intense enough, or simply unbelievable. You’d read that seemingly everyone in the world was in agreement that a certain thing was true, except it seemed ridiculous to you, which put you in an awkward place with friends, family, others. Should you say something? Are you the crazy one?
I can’t have been the only person to have struggled psychologically during this time. This is why these Twitter files have been such a balm. This is the reality they stole from us! It’s repulsive, horrifying, and dystopian, a gruesome history of a world run by anti-people, but I’ll take it any day over the vile and insulting facsimile of truth they’ve been selling. Personally, once I saw that these lurid files could be used as a road map back to something like reality—I wasn’t sure until this week—I relaxed for the first time in probably seven or eight years.
Something tells me the coming year is going to be a better one. Happy Holidays, everyone. Enjoy your loved ones, ignore the rest, and see you all again soon.
Amen. Happy New Year.