“x year sucked, next year will be better”

“ready for next year”
Saw this tweet the other day.
Somehow it stuck with me and I started thinking about it randomly in the shower.
Thought it’d be interesting to list some of the things that popped into my mind:
  1. Selection bias. Obviously this Twitter account configured the search to look for the year, and “sucked”.
  2. People will more likely remember the things that didn’t go as they had expected. The memorable, the high-high and the low-lows.
  3. We are wired for novelty. Changes is a precursor for memory. We remember events. What are events? Things out of the ordinary / routines, unexpected things. Things that are rare, new, or different.
  4. Bad things happens instantly. Good things compound over time. Thus less noticeable.
  5. Hedonic treadmill. People get used to shit. New phone is fun for a while. New job is exciting for a while. Lost a pet? You’ll get used to it after a while. Life goes on. You adjust your baseline.
  6. We dream of the future and we judge the past. Judge against what? Against our baselines.
  7. Which is part of what made procrastination so potent. We think we will have the motivation later.
  8. Inertia is potent. Resistance is real. Thus most live the same mundane year 50x. It’s just so much easier to get sucked back into what we know and are used to.
  9. Hope sustains life. No matter how naive and empty it is. We tell ourselves motivating stories and hypothetical future scenarios to get by.

I wonder, why do we do the things we do near the year end? Things like making resolutions, reflecting, making plans, wishful thinking. Hmm.

Mini tangent
After I found the link to the original tweet, I started skimming through the replies.

Found this one: https://twitter.com/andrea_r/status/1078094245737705473

From the surface, these tweets just look like a bunch of people complaining about their year. But in this case, this person had cancer. So you could say her 2008 legitimately sucked. Context matters.

It’s very humbling to know we perceive a very small subset of reality (very is an understatement here). We process and produce an even smaller subset of those. How can you say you know and are certain about anything, really?

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