Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, co-founder of lifestyle magazine Lagom, founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, and an electronic musician.

This is not 2013 in review

Posted on 03 January 2014 Comments

Tradition dictates that it’s time for my annual round-up of the year that was, with some goals for the year that will be. This time around, though, I feel less inclined to stick with this self-imposed tradition. Perhaps it’s the countless brag-tastic posts that friends have been posting on Facebook, or the predictable new year messages on Twitter, but I find myself feeling less and less enthusiastic about sharing my life online. And that, as it happens, is exactly why 2013 was one of the best years of my life so far: I made a conscious effort to focus less on the web and spend more time in the real world with the people I care about.

This was in part motivated by our wedding in 2012, which made my wife and I realise just who it was that mattered to us. On the first day of 2013, we made a number of plans for things to do throughout the year, and a strong theme running through those plans was that we would see more of our favourite people. We succeeded and had a great year, but as promised I’m not going to go into a list of achievements, because I’m sick of reading that self-indulgent nonsense. As 2013 progressed, I found myself caring less and less about social media, less and less about online debates in the web community, and less and less about the representation of myself online. Partly by accident and partly by design, I became quieter.

This new-found ‘quietness’ and desire to move life back offline seems to be a consistent theme with a number of other friends. I wasn’t even going to write this post until I was motivated by Colly’s excellent — and completely brag-free — end-of-year round-up, in which he described his decision, ‘to be quieter and just get on with my work and personal life.’ The pressures of internet life have been highlighted in depth by my close friend Christopher Murphy of late, too. A few weeks ago, at Insites: The Xmas Special, the pre-Christmas meet-up run by me and Keir, there was an almost unanimous acceptance that we spread ourselves too thin; we focus too much on the web and our online personas; we let our personal lives suffer as a result.

Well, in 2013 — particularly the end of it — I worked hard on switching this behaviour, and will continue to do so throughout 2014. I feel happier for caring less. Or, specifically, caring about more important things.

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