Jacob Charles Wilson

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New Year 2019

A black and white photo of JCW holding a big furry cat.

I don't know if I managed to achieve many (any?) of the resolutions I made at the beginning of 2018, but it was a significant year for the fact that I reflected on what I waste my time doing and that I began to take steps to change this.

I decisively quit social media management - a pernicious line of work that's hassled me day-in day-out for some years now. While this meant that my resolution to visit more European cities went unfulfilled, it meant that I did find the time to return to some of the books that have lain on my shelf for years - even to expand my reading. I made a habit of picking up a new book every week or so from BOOKS, the second-hand bookshop at 125 Rye lane, Peckham. The trays of books change weekly, most cost a pound or two, and you can find anything - I highly recommend it.

Early in the year I immersed myself in the netherworld of sewerage systems to ask why when we talk about fatbergs we always talk about condoms, wet wipes, nappies, and tampons. Over the summer I found my way through the tangled paths of garden mazes and Jorge Luis Borges' labyrinthine prose while writing a second article for The Plant. Not long after, I was asked to contribute to the wine magazine Above Sea Level, which led to me reading about Portuguese colonialism, phylloxera plagues, and the collapse of the whaling industry in the North Atlantic. In the last few weeks of the year I wrote my first two articles for Huck, on the nearly-forgotten photographic practice of Face in the Crowd competitions and on Robin Friend's cynical vision of the Bastard Countryside.

All the while, I found myself thinking about what I'm actually doing, about my place in the world, what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to move on from. How I use and more often misuse my time. After quitting my job I deleted the bloated apps from my phone, I turned all notifications off, and by the end of the year I had left Facebook, rid myself of LinkedIn, and shut down every online account bar the absolutely essential ones. I already feel the difference, I no longer spend most of my day looking down at my phone, when I hear a buzz I don't instinctively check my inbox, and I've reversed the awful habit of hitting ctrl+t tw enter whenever I feel a pang of boredom. Hopefully this coming year I won't idle away hours scrolling up and down, perhaps I'll put my spare time to use.