Matthew Dunaway January 2018

www.matthewdunaway.com · 205-705-3590

January 2018

FAREWELL TO THE YEAR OF THE GREEKS How to Make 2018 Worthwhile

There are 8,760 hours in a single year. How did you spend those hours in 2017? After all the time we let slip away to social media, re-watching shows on Netflix, or getting caught up in the latest breaking news, only for it to be old news 24 hours later, how many of those precious hours do we really experience?

condition.” The grand tales of heroes and the wise words of philosophers continue to inspire us through the ages. I doubt any American could watch a performance of Aechylus’“The Persians” and not find themselves wanting to cheer. Entering a new year, I knew I wanted to follow the pattern again with a new topic. I considered going chronologically and moving to Rome, or staying closer to home and digging into American history. Ultimately, I was inspired by an episode of the podcast “What Should I Read Next.”When discussing poems, a guest remarked, “You don’t consume poetry; you experience poetry.” This really resonated with me, because it’s true. Even when you have a challenging book, you tend to consume it. But poetry reaches into our minds and our hearts, demanding our attention. We hold a poem in our hands and have to fumble around with it, because the language and artistry is dense. The words often stick with us even after we walk away from the poem. With this in mind, I have decided 2018 will be the Year of Poetry. By this point, I’m certain someone has rolled their eyes once or twice. Poetry and Greek literature must sound terribly boring to some people. That’s fair, but I’m not suggesting everyone spend 2018 getting to know Robert Frost or Pythagoras. Instead, I’m encouraging you to spend 2018 expanding your mind on a topic you genuinely enjoy. Your 2018 could be a year of anything. I elected to pursue poetry and Greek literature because these are things that fascinate me, but as my

I encourage everyone to consider what they will consume in 2018 and how we can use those 8,760 hours for something worthwhile.

wife reminds me, not everyone is interested in such “highbrow” topics. Honestly, a topic doesn’t have to be stereotypically intellectual to be worth pursuing. If you’ve always been interested in gardening, why not spend 2018 creating a garden in your backyard? Or you can immerse yourself in the history of cinema, learn how to play an instrument, or read the greatest science fiction novels of all time. Pursuing new topics doesn’t demand much time. Audiobooks can replace annoying radio DJs during your morning commute, and reading before bed is a much better way to unwind than endlessly scrolling through social media feeds. I encourage everyone to consider what they will consume in 2018 and how we can use those 8,760 hours for something worthwhile. Please, feel free to share with me what kind of year your 2018 will be. And if you know of a poem I should include in my Year of Poetry, I’d be happy for the recommendation.

Last year, I made myself step away from the cycle of vapid consumption. I know there are certain gaps in my education, and I challenged myself to start filling them. By calling 2017 the “Year of the Greeks,” I dove into the writings of Homer’s “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey,” reacquainted myself with classical Greek tragedies, and really got to know the works of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. It was a wonderful experience! I’d read some of these works before, but it’s different reading them as a 16-year-old, a 20-something, and again as a father in his 40s. The words I read were penned 2,500 years ago, and yet they continue to impact our society and culture, mirroring this thing we call “the human

–Matt Dunaway

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