Up the resolution

Happy New Year! Now to the question of whether to do more or less, learn the cello, or be happy as a design sponge

It is 2015. I resolve to be a better designer and writer and father and husband and son and brother and runner and man and human and … this is already a bit too much. Start again.

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It is 2015. I resolve to be a better sponge. I will absorb wisdom from my environment. Everyone, everything, everywhere will be my teacher. I will fill my mind and soul with all that the world has to offer and create something new with it. I will soak up culture, like a great man-shaped flannel that has been used to mop up spilt art-yoghurt from the kitchen floor of civilisation, only to be rung out into a creativity-bucket and….

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It is 2015. I will tidy. I will organise. I will pragmatise. I will update my portfolio on a regular basis. I will respond to all email enquiries promptly. I will invest in a chair that provides proper lumbar support. I will rethink my invoice numbering system. I will establish a sensible project folder hierarchy. I will curl up in a ball and rock back and forth as I gaze into the abyss of my own banal to-do list.

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It is 2015. And I have to catch up on all the leftover bits of 2014. Dangling projects that are begging for completion; back-burner ideas jotted down and hibernating in scattered text files and notebooks; a website that needs websiting; beginnings that need endings (and vice versa). All cluttering up the place. I just need a few months off work to deal with all this work.

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It is 2015. Forget work, I’m behind on everything. There’s a tower of books in the corner that’s starting to look a bit dangerous – maybe I should actually have a go at reading some of them? Plus there’s that list of talks I desperately, urgently must watch. As for pop culture, what’s going on with that? What is this Serial thing everyone talks about? When did eyebrows start looking like that? What exactly is a ‘Taylor Swift’? Yes, I will barricade myself in my studio – nay, my bunker – and I will catch up with the zeitgeist. I’ll slip a note under the door to inform my family and friends and clients that I won’t be coming out until I’m done. I might be some time. They must go on without me, they must let me go. They must bring me cake every now and then.

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It is 2051.

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It is 2015. I have no idea what resolutions I made last year or the year before that or the year before that. Did I even make any? Did I break any? Resolutions are fleeting fancies. They are nothing but ambitions and good intentions crystallised and shattered under the pressure of the passing year. Splinters of intentions, scratching the corner of your eye, ideological irritants to be blinked out in tears and set adrift amongst the … I have no idea what I’m going on about.

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He adored New York City. He idolised it all out of proportion …

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It is 2015. I will do less, but better. Now there’s a fine, succinct piece of wisdom to apply to a year. Can’t go wrong there. Less … better. Or in some cases, fewer, obviously. I don’t mean ‘less, but fewer’, I mean ‘fewer, but better’. Or should it be ‘fewer, but each individual thing better’? Is it the actual quantity that’s getting better or the individual components that make up the total? How are we actually quantifying ‘better’? Should there be some pre-defined scale or metrics or something? This needs more thought.

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It is 2015. I will do more, but better! This is the year I will focus on the bigger picture, stop putting off all those grand ambitions! I will chase my dream clients and I will bloody well land them! That one great novel will be dislodged from my brain-gullet! (And I’ll design the award-winning cover myself!) I will learn to play the cello! I will travel the world, headlining design conferences in every city! The great freelance adventurer, living and working out of a suitcase! All I need is my family at my side and a decent Wi-Fi signal! And some money! GO TWENTY-FIFTEEN GO!

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It is 2015. I resolve to maybe buy a better suitcase.

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Daniel Benneworth-Gray is a designer based in York. See danielgray.com and @gray

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