New Year‘s (non) Resolution for 2019
Just a list of simple things that I want to do this year
In the last years, I have always made some “new year’s resolution” (here are the ones I made in 2017 and 2018), but strangely enough – at least for me – this year I can’t think of anything. More than one people asked me, but I couldn’t come up with something even remotely meaningful.
According to Wikipedia, a New Year’s resolution is “a tradition […] in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life”. Actually, this year I can’t think of anything that I am unhappy of, and that I want to “improve”. I can’t say if it’s a good or a bad thing. This year it goes like this.
But I have a few things that I want to do, this year. They are not resolutions, just things that I enjoyed doing in 2018 and that I want to continue to do (and do more) in the next months.
This year I have read two remarkable books about the rise of Nazism in Europe. The first is Defying Hitler, a memoir written by a German journalist in the years from 1914 to 1939, only recently found in a drawer by his son. The second is The Tattooist of Auschwitz, a true story of how love can prevail even in places where every shred of humanity seems lost.
Reading these books, mostly to make sense of what was happening in the world today, I have realized how it’s easy for populisms and nationalisms to slip into Fascism and Nazism. That there are many similarities with our contemporary history, and that understanding these lessons is extremely important (“those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it”).
I have decided that I want to learn more, about History (and Politic). I want to start from the roots of our political thinking, from the basics. So the first thing I want to do this year is to read the great classics: Plato (The Republic), Aristotle (The Politics), and Socrates.
I don’t know how much I’ll be able to understand (I have studied Philosophy in high school, and I still remember how hard it was!) but maybe now, with more context and a certain “maturity” (read: age) things will be different. We’ll see how it goes :)
This year I want to do fewer public talks. In 2018 I had a great time giving a talk about “Atomic Design, Design Systems and React. Cool, but…”, and I’ve received very positive feedback from the people that attended it. But recently, every time I get on a stage to give a talk, I cannot but think that somehow I am taking away the possibility to be on that stage to someone else: a less known speaker (possibly even a first-time speaker), maybe from an under-represented group, almost certainly with newer and fresher ideas (in other words, not an ‘old fart’ like me :) ).
Also, last year I have started to contribute to an open-source project, Style Dictionary, and I really enjoyed the experience. It was a way to give back to the community, in my spare time, without the feeling of being “another white male on stage”. It allowed me to make new friends, especially Danny Banks, the main maintainer of the library (we had a lovely evening with our wives in a Korean BBQ in New York, fond memories!).
So the second thing I want to do this year is to do more in the open-source, and write more blog posts (here and on Medium). Both the activities are not precluding someone else’s chance to share their ideas and their experiences. On the contrary, potentially they may even inspire them to do the same.
Regarding blog posts and articles, last year I started to work on a series of posts about “Animation for Design Systems in React” (with a very specific focus: I’m not an expert in animation, and just an amateur in React), but I didn’t find the time to finish them, because I had other interesting things to explore and write about. This year I hope to find more time and finally finish my research, it was really an interesting (and quite new) topic to explore.
On the open-source side, I’ll continue to contribute to Style Dictionary, of course, but I want to try to create small projects on my own and see if I enjoy it (and if I have time to do it, of course). Maybe I could even try to do a showcase of the different animation libraries in the context of a React design system, killing two birds with one stone :)
Small actions, with an impact
The more I grow old, the more I feel the need to do my part in making this world a (slightly) better place.
In the last (ten at least) years, I have organized countless events, meetups, and conferences. Organizing events it’s become second nature to me, another way for me to give back to the community (and meet new amazing interesting people and make new friends).
Since these events are addressed to a large audience (our WEBdeLND meetups have an average of 70/80 attendees each month), sometimes is hard to “measure” the effect of these efforts, beyond the speakers’ and attendees’ feedback after the events. So the change here is slow and almost imperceptible.
So this year however I want to try to do (also) something else. The third thing I want to do this year is to do a lot of “small acts of kindness”: small actions, but with a high and tangible impact. I want to see the change in this world (too many things are plain wrong).
I don’t know exactly when and how, I think I’ll rely on serendipity and empathy. I know that whenever last year I did something similar, I really felt good, so this year I want to do more of that.
I’ll close this little-improvised post with a quote from a “classic”, just to stay on topic:
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” – Aesop