A Personal Manifesto for 2024

Even when we claim how we want nothing to do with resolutions, we still feel guilty in not having them. A fear of missing out, of not piling into the gym, of not recommitting to yourself. Slouch. How dare you waste but this one simple life!

I say, no resolutions. I say, write the manifesto. Hang it on the wall. Make it known.

You could stand to write one yourself. I even made the thing to help you do just that (totally free).

As for David, in the year 2024, at the close of 2023, adheres to the following until it is no longer sustainable:

Less Commentary.

No Commentary? Stealing this one from the SneakyArt newsletter, where he writes about how he jotted down this resolution in a journal and then provided little context. It makes sense, doesn’t it? How often have we been out and about and thought “boy, I wish this person would shut up” or “I need to correct this person.” It’s all over the internet. They even make a special place for it: the comment section. I have long since resolved to stay out of the comment section on any article. Now, stretching into the world of social media, I comment even less. A while back, I attempted to retrain how I approached social media by resolving to either leave a comment on a post or unfollow the account. It didn’t work, the scroll remained mindless. There’s enough commentary out there and most people probably don’t care, or aren’t worth, mine.

Nothing New About the News

‘Nuff said. Or, well, there’s nothing different from one headline to the next. Every nightlight newscast is a doubling down on the tragedy of the day before. More details, more color, more heartbreak. “If you aren’t mad, then you aren’t paying attention,” they’ll say. How much attention do I need to pay? Anger requires twice as much energy to produce than the result it typically gets (a loose estimation, my math isn’t exact). It’s exhausting keeping up with the news. Skip to the arts section. And even then, maybe just do the crossword.

That being said:

My attention is For Me

The general idea of this Substack is to catalog a journey of reclaiming my brain. From the world, from technology, from metal illness and neurodivergence. Not necessarily “healing” anything, but for once maybe feeling what everyone else in the world feels on any given day. My attention is for me. From the places I go to the things I watch, mine.

Let Strangers be Strange

No commentary. No one has ever quieted down because you asked them to. People will always dance obnoxiously at concerts and scroll on Facebook in a theater. There’s not a lot of good in trying to correct a world to whatever the hell it is I think it should be. You never truly know someone. They’ll never know you. We’re all strangers, we’re all strange.

Be Into What You’re Into

The doctor’s orders are to chase dopamine. “Beyond alcohol and illicit drugs, do what feels good.” This is a new idea for me: pleasure for the sake of pleasure.

Make Art, Not Content

They call it “content” because we have no idea how else to define it. Maybe it shouldn’t exist. Aim higher. More art, no content.

There Are Tables at the Library

And they’re usually empty. Plus, a bathroom. Also, books and free wifi. All of the knowledge in the world, you just have to dig for it. Spend more time at the library. Go for more than a “quick visit” of picking up books on hold.

Rest. Every day.

This will look different every season. The nights and darkness are unreasonably long during the winter. Our ancient ancestors had a “third watch” in the middle of the night – waking up at one or two in the morning. Another log on the fire, some stretching, some reading or writing, checking to ensure no one has been consumed or frozen to death. In the summer, the opposite. The sun goes on forever, the nights are brief. In the hottest parts of the day is a rest, a siesta. Embrace all of it.

Process Over Result

Nothing on this list will be accomplished. It is merely a direction to go. Reclaiming my brain is an ongoing act. Every morning it starts anew.

Where would a manifesto take you?