I am a man of quirks and traditions. Over the years I have become known for doing certain things on a consistent basis. Whether it be just writing this blog or sending out extravagant holiday greetings, I like to give people something to look forward to, no matter how small it might be. When 2021 rolled around, I laid to rest one of my longstanding daily traditions.
For the past 14 years, I have had a page-a-day calendar called Life’s Little Instructions. Each day would feature a tidbit on how to be a happier, kinder, wiser, or healthier individual. Many times these quotes were hokey or outdated, but sometimes they actually hit the mark. For the first five years of using the Life’s Little Instructions calendar, it was these occasional nuggets of wisdom that encouraged me to purchase it year-after-year.
But after a half decade the instructions started to repeat themselves and the novelty wore off. So what would make me continue to go through the same song and dance for another nine years? Social media.
In 2009 I started to post the instructions to Twitter and in 2013 I started to post them to Instagram. I found that my followers actually appreciated them. The repeating instructions didn’t bother me enough to pull the plug on the enjoyment of others so I continued to purchase Life’s Little Instructions and post the content on a daily basis.
My Instagram audience enjoyed Life’s Little Instructions the most. Over the years I have had several regulars comment and share the posts. However, no one gave me more of an incentive to publish the instructions on my feed than Ellen Seder. For four years, this college gym pal of mine would respond to every post with a humorous or witty comment. Most of her replies were self-deprecating as she would analyze the instruction in context with her dating life, reality TV-watching habits, or love for Prada. Whenever I would post in the morning I would think, what is Ellen going to come up with today? Her comments always brought joy to my day.
The Life’s Little Instructions calendar kept me knowledgeable about the date, provided a lot of blogging ideas, gave me consistent social media content, and helped me not to take myself too seriously. However, I guess all good things come to an end.
I planned to continue my Life’s Little Instructions run in 2021. However, when I went to purchase the calendar at the end of December, I was told that a shipment of the Life’s Little Instructions product never arrived. The store manager said that the pandemic contributed to a lack of inventory. I turned to Amazon and found it, but if I ordered it online I would not receive it until mid or end of January. I decided I would discontinue my search. So, for the first time in 15 years, I started the new year without referencing my Life’s Little Instructions calendar.
A couple days ago, my mom was at Barnes & Noble. She texted me a photo of the 2021 Life’s Little Instructions calendar and asked if I wanted it. After thinking about it for a moment I said no thank you. It wouldn’t have been a big deal resuming my tradition after a week hiatus but I decided against it. My social media followers were getting along just fine without the daily instructions.
It is working out just fine for me as well. In 2021, I look forward to building an Instagram presence that centers on beautiful photos that mean something to me as opposed to eyesore calendar photos. Also, my Twitter followers will no longer confuse calendar quotes as something that I said or believe. Although at first it felt weird not posting the instructions every day, I am managing.
Thanks to everyone who followed and enjoyed Life’s Little Instructions over the years. It was a great run and hopefully they resonated with you every now and then. Don’t Blink.