Winking at the new year

Winking at the new year

Happy New Year!  I like to think about projects and goals each new year, which are much easier to accomplish than pure "resolutions".  This blog is a long running project, before that I was a journal writer for many years.  I think there is value in looking at something and telling yourself "I\’ll do that and I\’ll do it the best I can…just for myself.".  In today\’s email episode of Seth Godin\’s blog, he says to ask yourself a few questions as a way to take inventory of what you are building with your life.   Specifically, he asks "Are you more trusted? More skilled? More connected to people who care about your work? How many people would miss your work if you stopped contributing it?"  I think those are tough questions that most of us will feel much failure from the answers.  But here\’s a new year upon us to yet try again and to correct our missteps from the previous one.

Which brings me, in a round about manner, to the diary of Samuel Pepys.  Sometimes your work and your projects (either personal or professional) don\’t readily appear important to the world.   Such as it was with the diary of Samuel Pepsy written for about 10 years from 1660 to about 1670.  Pepys kept this journal in a form of shorthand as it was meant as a personal record, not for publication.  In fact, he even recorded more intimate occasions and devised a form of secret code to keep that from prying eyes.  The importance of this diary came to light because Pepys lived through a period of time that was rich with catastrophes and happenings such as the Great Plaque and the Great Fire of London.  It was a daily journal, much like you or I would keep.  Observations from the man on the street and maybe the only surviving account of what it was really like to live in those times.  I\’ve read a lot of it, but not that much in the scope of what is there.  If you\’d like to read some of his diary, you can find the beginning of it here, then you can navigate from the journal volumes on the side of that page.

 “Perhaps the most irrational fashion act of all was the male habit for 150 years of wearing wigs. Samuel Pepys, as with so many things,
was in the vanguard, noting with some apprehension the purchase of a wig in 1663 when wigs were not yet common. It was such a novelty
that he feared people would laugh at him in church; he was greatly relieved, and a little proud, to find that they did not. He also worried,
not unreasonably, that the hair of wigs might come from plague victims. Perhaps nothing says more about the power of fashion than that
Pepys continued wearing wigs even while wondering if they might kill him.”

Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life