22 things to do in 2022

  • Trim the clothes pile. It is absurd for one body to need that many pieces of fabric. So, I’m starting 2022 off with a big donation to a charity that does free collections. I’ll be chucking in a shoe or two and a few books as well for good measure. There’s an immediate need to downsize my existence. It has ballooned and expanded beyond my control and now it has to go. I need space for my three hundred and forty-seventh notebook of words.
  • Finish some perfumes. I have a lot of glass bottles filled with aromas that make my day brighter. I have a problem, in that I have too many of those glass bottles. What started as one bottle in 2016 (Roses et Reines) has spilled over far too much and now I have too many. I have given a lovely bottle of Penhaligons to my mum who was keen on the bottle when I finished with it. That seemed like a brilliant opportunity to downsize the fragrance situation. In my defence, that particular bottle was huge and a gift-with-purchase. The purchase is small and tennis-themed, so I suppose I ought to wait till summer to drench myself in it again. So this year I plan to buy no perfumes and finish four. An ambitious endeavour.
  • Figure out what to do with the old laptop. It gathers dust in my room and it’s too slow to be counted as a machine anymore. It’s a flatmate to me now, sad and quiet, unless I go give it a wipe and an affectionate pat. Unfortunately I seem to have genuinely outgrown it. It best go into recycling for parts, but I genuinely have failed at parting with it thus far – I’ve genuinely been trying since 2019. This year has to be it.
  • Take a break from the body modification thing that I went in hard for last year. It was nice, but it is an expensive habit to keep getting inked or pierced, and the aftercare is rather tiresome. If it were instantaneously healed, I would have been more keen about it, but it takes time for my body to heal. It is very disappointing, I must say.
  • Get better at household chores. I mentioned how abysmal my housekeeping skills are in my last post. It seems like a basic life skill to possess, if only it wasn’t such a tedious task to work on cleaning and washing and whatever.
  • Have better boundaries with social media. It’s a cesspool and perhaps we should all abandon social media anyway, but while I can’t spark a mass movement, ignoring the urge to share stuff is a good one to work on. I need to do better at ignoring the sodding DM button because I’ve come to realise that I was always there, disproportionally compared to my peers. They’d already figured out how to just not be there and drop out of the whole virtual world of communication thing as and when it suited them. I suppose the balance of the equation only lies in characters who can do that to come back and find their virtual lives in perfect stasis, ready to picked up like a handbag you haven’t used for a while. And that stasis is achieved by those who exist on social media, creating conversations for others, waiting like obedient dogs. There’s an odd power dynamic in social media conversations. There’s a strange thing where everyone treats “waking up and choosing violence” as an applaudable thing on Twitter. It isn’t, and it took me a few months of analysing random things that popped up on my timeline to get to these conclusions.
  • Get better at sticking to a grocery list. This one is a bit weird but hear me out. I can’t possibly be the only one who goes to Tesco or wherever, starts with all the good intentions possible of getting one fruit option, a couple of vegetable options, one protein option, and one bread option, and then finds themselves shoving dairy-free tiramisu and egg custard tarts in the refrigerator. Every time I open a shelf and realise that I genuinely have six different tea choices, I want to scream at a past version of myself. And before the internet can brainwash me into thinking mindless consumerism is analogous to self-care and joy – no, my joy needs desperate levels of rationing, thanks.
  • Stop buying actual physical books. This is a controversial one. I love books. I love how books smell, I love how they feel in my hands, I love how much escapism they offer me, and how many ideas and facts they put in my brain. But in my current “downsize your life” endeavour, owning books is a problem. I can’t have too many books, even though I actually do have the shelf space for it. I can’t imagine populating my life with more things. And I am fine with digital books, although they only offer a fraction of the joy in the actual ritual of reading. I’ve also got quite into audiobooks thanks to the brilliant Neil Gaiman. The world of audiobooks also has more Colin Morgan doing voices and accents than I normally get in my day to day life, and I love it.
  • Stop buying coffee. Honestly, it’s ridiculous how expensive coffee is in London. No one has ever needed coffee to be that expensive, and yet you should see the queues in front of Pret in my neighbourhood. It snakes out of the shop and tips over to the pub next door. There are about ten different coffee shops in a two kilometre radius around here. I have been guilty of indulging in all of them liberally. And every time I buy a fancy oat macchiato, I also get myself a nice pain au chocolat. This is genuinely not good for me and my arteries. No more of this regular visit to the stupid cafés. They’re expensive and pointless.
  • Read a poem a day. I’ve got a big book of poetry. I have read bits of it. I have not read the whole thing. This is a good way of getting through it. A poem a day, with annotations and thoughts collected in the margins.
  • Go to the library more often. I have a Reader’s Pass now. I need to get myself to the library more often.
  • Do a drawing a month. I did this one before with great success, and it was the one year when my skills did improve. This seems like a good one to try out again. Also, someone has to fill out the sketchbooks and provide the parents with home décor.
  • Do better with balancing authorial intent with le morte de l’auteur in my head. I often find myself struggling with the “I really like this” vs “this no longer fits the acceptable morality of this day and age” argument in film, music, and literature. Some of it is from the internet of course – although a lot of it there is rubbish, no, a book about racism isn’t the same thing as a racist book – but some of it is perhaps me overthinking as I walk by some canal or the other.
  • Walk even more. I walk a minimum of ten thousand steps a day, by which I mean that’s what the pedometer app is set to, I walk well over that. It’s been good for me and I feel far less doddery now than I did three years ago, which is when I first felt my body sort of stiffen up inside out. I was very active during my undergraduate years, all the dancing and badminton and parties made sure of that. But I sort of retreated inwards since and as I am not a particularly social creature, I end up being a sedentary beast quite easily.
  • Get vitamin D supplements and see if the lethargy in English winters can be explained by a simple case of deficiency.
  • Upskill the eyeliner game. I’ve been reliably informed that once the entire outfit is on, no one cares about the eyeliner being wonky. That is no reason to strive for eyeliner mediocrity.
  • Unsubscribe from mailing lists. Actually, this one might also be for you, the reader. Go unsubscribe from a couple of mailing lists. I have already started.
  • Do recycling better. I’m not great at separating garbage. I do the basic “this is all obviously packaging that is clearly recyclable” and “this is not clear enough for me” division. I don’t think it’s good enough. This might be a good year to get better at this.
  • Clean makeup brushes more often. Self-explanatory, this lark.
  • Continue my relationship with my day job. I wasn’t always this neutral about my day job. There was a time when I stayed till nine every night, because I felt that was going to bring me satisfaction. Some sense of reward. I thought that was how corporate offices worked (spoiler alert: they don’t, you have to be good at yelling on Slack about how this thing that “you” did is extraordinary. Very rarely at the people yelling also the people doing shit, but I digress). I definitely drank the kool-aid early on. And I also worked through the entire psychology of it and how I feel about my job in general, irrespective of where I am working. It turns out, it’s just something I’m alright at. I don’t particularly feel defensive of my work there, which is incredibly useful when it comes to receiving feedback. I don’t particularly want to posture that I am revolutionising the world, because I am absolutely not. I’m a cog and a pretty insignificant one almost all of the time. It’s fine and I have also completely gotten over the sting I used to feel early on at not having my name attached to my writing. It’s not particularly writing I want my name attached to either, except in principle, because I deserve it.
  • Continue my ability to sleep quite early in the evenings. This one is personal. When I was about 16, I decided that I was in love and spent night after night texting this boy. And that pushed me into a rather insidious spiral of insomnia. Even after that relationship imploded into its sad conclusion, I couldn’t go to sleep any time before four in the morning. I was also progressively waking up earlier year by year at this point. My sleep schedule was a joke for years and I only managed to fix it right before the pandemic hit us. I’ve more or less done well at maintaining it – I slipped once or twice, binging some show or the other.
  • Go as I started. Write a bit more, I suppose.

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Anusmita Ray

Anusmita Ray

I get paid to write tedious things that no one ever reads because they want to. Of course, I’m okay, why wouldn’t I be?