“The RUSSH offices have moved.” So reads our new email signature.
There’s an awful lot of pressure that arrives in those early days of January. Whether self-imposed or at the gentle insistence of loved ones, it’s as though we’ve been granted a sliver of space for reinvention; a small portal in which to become better versions of ourselves.
Imbued with a sense of blind optimism (or reluctant obligation) we vow to rid ourselves of our vices: we’ll drink less, smoke never, eat better, stretch always. We’ll build ourselves anew, shiny and strong. We’ll get new jobs. We’ll learn a language. We’ll clean the car, clean the bathroom cabinets, clean ourselves, too, scrubbing furiously down to the bone. We’re in feverish pursuit of the clean slate. And if we miss the window? Well, we might as well write this year off. You only get one shot, right? (I never thought I’d find myself paraphrasing Eminem, but here we are all the same.)
So why the time crunch? Is it because we find it easier to reconcile with change as the old year ticks literally into the new? Perhaps it’s because our mistakes and our hardships and all those emotional boulders we carried up life’s unending hills are still fresh enough in our minds to convince us that this year could truly be different? That we could truly be different?
Or is it because, whether we want to admit it or not, we are all stubbornly tethered to that communal calendar?
Life’s bull-headed persistence to charge on and on leaves us barely enough time to breathe, much less rectify our various shortcomings or take action on all those deep-seated dreams. So we cling to the familiar – our administrative lists, our little plans and repetitions. Change is the opposite of breezy, inherently weighted, and increasingly hard to hold in the midst of all our comfortable routines. We procrastinate; a day, a month, until suddenly six have passed like a brushfire, and we’re staring down the barrel of yet another countdown. “Now,” we think to ourselves, catching our breath in those early days of January, “now is the time for reinvention.”
In the final week of summer my colleagues and I packed our CBD office into reusable black tubs and pried the RUSSH logo off the wall. Commutes were rerouted, new cafes (and bars) were scouted, and we left our old swipe cards as we locked the doors behind us.
We walked into our fresh digs on the second day of autumn. New carpet smell, new postcode energy. And all this sorting, culling, packing and unpacking left us ruminating on that concept of change. How it’s ‘as good as a holiday’, ‘the only constant’, etc., etc. But more than this, how good it felt to start over outside our culture’s designated resolution bracket. How dangerous it can be to align our progress to a numerical value. How our new home contains so much future, and how that future can start whenever we want it to.
With this move we present an argument for eschewing the usual January resolutions (where’s the fun in getting all that change out of the way so early in the year?).
By seizing the opportunity for reinvention whenever it strikes – time of the year be damned – we benefit ourselves twofold: not only can change lead to personal progress and transformation, but it also has the added bonus of slowing down time. How so? Our perception of time is relative to our experiences – it’s rubbery, unfixed; slowing and quickening in accordance to our actions.
Studies have shown that it constricts when we encounter the familiar (routine requires us to use less brain power, so time feels to fly), and expands upon the creation of new memories. Memories act as anchor points for time, a phenomena explored by researchers Dinah Avni-Babad and Ilana Ritov in 2003: “Unless people experience major changes that break the routine in their lives and provide them with anchors to retrieve from memory, life can become one short, timeless sequence of routine inaction.”
And so, we at RUSSH are advocating for constant and transformative change.
The kind that keeps you up at night, the kind that compels you to clean the canvas and start over, the kind that fosters better habits and better relationships and better work and better living. The kind that unbinds you from the vice grip of the yearly calendar. It’s never too late (in the day or the decade) to learn, or take a risk, or change your priorities, or set your life on fire and rebuild, rebuild, rebuild.
“The RUSSH offices have moved.” Here’s to all that good future.