I’ve made a few promises to the world this year.


I say “promises” because for me, “resolutions” never stick.


Perhaps it’s my dopamine-hungry attention-deficient mind. It wanders like a dog off a lead. More and more, I’m halfway through a piece of work with a deadline on my back, seconds ticking, client whistling, and I think of another way to do it.


A piece of music on the radio, a bird singing outside, a phone call about not a lot and my train of thought goes into a siding like a train, and comes out looking like a plane. Or the inverse.


It’s an asset and a curse. Even that changes all the time.




Anyway, I’m distracted. Back to promises. Yes. There are everyday life ones, and one big one.


The life ones are simple. Yoga once a week. If I don’t, I might not walk by the time I’m 65. Yes, I’m falling to bits already. Blame my genes and over-good French living.


Cello practice once a day. Scales, exercises, a bit of Bach.  Someone said I might be good one day if I do. It doesn’t help having a sister who’s brilliant at it and knows it.  But that’s life. I’ll at least be my sort of good. That’ll do.


A good deed every day. I’m already half-decent at this. Kindness towards other beings, animal or vegetable, is what drives this world and what will save it. From now on, someone will get something out of my pocket every day. Or help crossing the boulevard. Or encouragement or a well done. Something.


Which neatly leads me to my big one.


From now on, I’m no longer going to collect likes online. The like, once a valid online unit of merit, has become a devalued unit of nothing. Its downfall started when bot-faced data-based lifeforms thought of ways of generating them without any effort. Double your likes! Earn more! Yeah! Like endlessly printing a digital currency to counteract a rate of inflation we haven’t got a name for. Look at what happens to countries who over-print money.


Likes are like follow-my-leader in a darkroom. One likes, and others follow. If it’s liked, it must be worth liking. To link your number of likes to your search engine position overturns the very idea of a meritocracy.


We should just rename them Unearned Statistical Data Capture Points. Period.


No. Forget likes. From January 1, my preferred unit is now the thank-you.


People thank each other for real reasons. Not gratuitously.


For being genuinely enlightened. For being helped. With a piece of writing, an insight, with the shopping, across the road or a pram up three flights of stairs. For time. For sending me something out of the blue. For a compliment or a mention, and meaning it. For grace. For being frank and not just agreeing. For wearing a smile rather than a look like a dead walnut. For real tips. For being shown stuff that we genuinely never knew about. For being trusted. For the stuff that’s never asked for but thank God it’s in there. For being asked back the second time. The third. For being paid.


There are a trillion real reasons to earn a thank-you. It’s why I like them.


Happy 2020, and thank you for reading.



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