December 30, 2019

2019 Was Interesting - I Hope 2020 Isn't

My back yard will soon see the Sun rising on a new year and a new decade.

2019 is coming to a close. It was interesting.

Interesting as in “May you live in interesting times”. 

I always thought that quote was of Chinese origin. Turns out it’s not.

In 1836 a British diplomat named John Francis Davis referred to a similar adage which circulated in China. 

He wrote,

“Better be a dog in peace than a man in war,” is a common maxim.  

“It is a general rule,” they say, “that the worst of men are fondest of change and commotion, hoping that they may thereby benefit themselves.  

But by adherence to a steady, quiet system, affairs proceed without confusion, and bad men have nothing to gain.”

The best evidence shows it was a Brit riffing off the Chinese maxim that coined the “Interesting times” quote that was meant as a curse.  

In that way, 2020 is likely to be just as interesting as this year was. Maybe more interesting.

It makes one hanker for less interesting times. 

However, society is so jacked up on fear, technology, and adrenalin that people are hooked on the stuff. It might be hard to quit. As a friend of mine asked once, "Wouldn't most people find enlightenment boring?" 

Not me. I am ready for a new year that is blissfully quiet, plain, and uninteresting. Let’s stretch and yawn, then proceed with clarity and calm to resolve our differences and common challenges.

When the time is right, let's lay out the mats and nap for a while. 

Preferably we can proceed in peace, without all the thrilling and ego-stimulating dramas that drive popular narratives. It is better to do nothing than a wasteful thing.

In the next 365 days we can collectively create a new story. We can work toward the development of alternative approaches to life that allow us to realize health, tranquility, and spiritual liberation.

Steady as she goes, I say. Don't over think things. Do everything by doing nothing. It's Nature's way.

Go ahead, 2020 - bore me to tears with your steady, unstimulating, ordinary, garden variety evolution guiding us toward a better world. 


  1. Anonymous12/30/2019

    'Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.'

    Oh for a simple life where nothing much happens! Unfortunately 2019 was the year of fires and drought (thank goodness not pestilence and plague also). It has been a more interesting year than we would have liked but Christmas has seen a bit of rain here and some relief from the smoke. Our mind-set has had to change to accomodate 'interesting' new ways of gardening and living, and indeed when I wasn't busy freaking out about the situation I was enjoying the learning.

    Well, I should be 'enlightened' by now as I have certainly carried a lot of water this year. That will continue in 2020 along with a determination to live even more simply and do even less harm to our earth home. There will be some chopping of wood, some making of music, some growing of food and some mending of all of the things that make our life work. I have been struck by how incredibly affluent we are compared to most on the planet, even in the middle of climate crisis challenges.

    Happy New Year Gregg and Linda, and to all my NBA friends.


    1. 2019 was especially interesting for you down there. We hope your new year is fabulous. It sounds like it will be with the ingredients you mentioned. There is indeed a lot to be grateful for. If one has a beautiful simple life, one has everything one needs.

  2. Happy New Year NBA! My goal is to retain a positive outlook in the face of all our challenges. I want to do what I can to show love, generosity, and stewardship. I will vote! I will work toward improvement. Best wishes to all of you, friends!

    1. Hear, hear! Our outlook is inextricably linked to our reality, so better to have a positive outlook. I prefer all you goals over surrender and despair. Happy New Year to you.

  3. Anonymous12/30/2019

    That's often a rhetorical question I muse over myself...why is it so bad to just "be"? With our chaotic society and world rushing ever faster, what we need is more people willing to slow down and just exist in the moment. I don't see birds, deer, ants, bees, rabbits, running about trying to improve themselves or hoard as many possessions or money that they can acquire, or trying to become famous or acquire ever more titles after their names. They're content to just exist. To live harmoniously with their environment, without trying to dominate or destroy it. I wish humans would start making that their priority.

    1. Anonymous12/30/2019

      Good point! Your comment really made me think!

    2. Just living can be an enjoyable full time job. I was never interested in a career and all the trappings of "success". I have always been happy just to be, preferably close to nature.

      It is enough.

      For the chronically stressed and depressed I highly recommend it.

  4. I love adventure and change. But only the right kind.

    1. Lots of both these days. As difficult as it may be, we can learn from the wrong kind. Can't lose.


Comments will be printed after moderation to eliminate spam. We are proudly a no buying, no selling website.

We enjoy reading all comments, and respond when time permits.

If you put a name to your comment we can all recognize you for your contribution.

Thank you for visiting and commenting.