Early this morning, I had an appointment with the dentist. 8am, on January 2. What a nice way to begin the new year.
I was worried I would have to get an inlay. Another dentist had discovered some caries and advised me to get it done just a month ago. But then, today’s dentist ((That’s the thing if you’re traveling: Finding a good dentist. I think I might have found one today, at last.)) couldn’t find anything: “Nothing against your other dentist,” he said to me, after taking an x-ray of my jaw, “But there’s just nothing to do. No caries. Zero.”
The other dentist had just looked for 10 seconds and was sure there was work for him to do. He also wanted to upsell me some other inlets for a grand total of 2400 euros. That’s enough money to pay for several months of my living. This new dentist just told me: “Never touch a running system. Come back for a review next year, but I guess your teeth will be fine for a long time to come.”
A nice way to begin the year, indeed.
Talking about beginnings: We had a lovely New Year’s celebration on this tiny island in the North Sea. We dressed up as hippies, had a delicious cheese fondue, played games, made music (or noise, ask the neighbors), and then visited two village discos to receive 2013 until 7am.
I have always believed that a clean start on January 1 is a nice idea, but a hard thing to do in practice. December is stuffed with so many things for most of us: Decorate the house, meet friends and family, check out the Christmas markets, buy or build some presents, send holiday letters, call old acquantiances, et cetera. In my case, this rarely leaves enough time to wrap up the year that’s ending and to plan the new one.
It’s an old ritual that people make resolutions and promises during these days. It’s another old ritual that most of them are broken by February. Which is why I don’t make any resolutions, nor plan for the next year in December.
Instead, I started to take the month of January “out of time”. This year, Michael Nobbs will join in and make January a month of reflection and planning. Which is very similar to what I do: I use the month to plan and outline, to wrap up things from 2012, and to create a proper starting point in order to make the most of the new year. (It’s still “new” enough in February! Ask the Chinese, whose year of the Water Snake will only begin on February 10!)
So why the party, why meet friends, why even celebrate on December 31? Two reasons: One, it’s always good to celebrate and to enjoy the wonderful energy of millions of people enjoying a great party. Two, even if you’re not entirely ready for it, this energy makes January 1 the emotional beginning of something new. It’s this emotion and energy that guide me through my more rational and technical planning phase in January. It’s also a good (albeit random) date to start writing regularly again after taking some time off over the holidays.
Talking about writing: I’m currently filling out a questionnaire that would deserve the attribute huge-ass. It’s a questionnaire to apply for an obligatory health insurance for independent artists and publishers. I’ll also hand in some examples of my work. It’s not really a fun thing to do, but it’s necessary, and it’s also quite beneficial if they accept me.
So here’s the announcement: Even though 2013 isn’t properly planned yet, it will be an important year for The Friendly Anarchist: I’m officially becoming a full-time writer and publisher. I will put my full focus on writing (and reading) great stuff, and on sharing it with you on this site. (I hereby vow to get some business cards stating “The Friendly Anarchist, Officially Approved by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany” once the bureaucratic necessities are done.)
And yes, I intend to stay independent. I got another job offer a few days ago, and while it’s very tempting, I decided to forgo it and give this a try: Art and writing full-time. Nothing else. 2013 will be the big test.
And there’s more: I have not one but two book ideas outlined and partially researched so far, and one of these ideas will turn into a thing this year. It will be my most important release since Productive Anywhere and it will be the missing counterpoint to the productivity focus I had over the last year: Back to idleness, if you want, and deeper than ever.
Talking about depth: An interesting comment came in from Jonathan Ziemba, regarding my post Start to Care:
Fabian, your point of starting to care has uncharted depth. […]
Please expand on your experiences of how you started to care Fabian. On the real, genuine experiences that infuse your caring. And note, it has nothing to do with social class, measuring difficulty or drilling deep to gain happiness.
Here and now, start to care.
Now that’s a post I want to read.
Let me be honest: The answer to this request is too complex for me to put into words at this point. But: The answer is also what drives me every single time I write. It can most certainly be distilled from the posts that are closest to my heart. (Some of which can be seen on my new-ish Start Here page.)
One thing is for sure: There wasn’t any single revelatory moment in my life that made me care. And there are still many not-so-revelatory moments in my life that make me uncare. But so is life: Beautiful in its imperfection. And however it goes, I’m intending to stay in this game of life for many years to come.
Talking about life: If you’re reading this, somewhere on this planet, wherever you are and however you feel, you’re still alive. And you made it all the way to 2013. So, wherever you are and however you feel: I wish you a lot of fun, action, idleness, interestingness, health and always enough money to buy a round of drinks for your friends. Make it count. And don’t trust your dentist if he has dollar signs in his eyes.