2010: a look forward

4231818452_9cd0241e5f_o

Happy new year, everyone. I love the first day of a new year! It’s like freshly fallen snow — pristine and beautiful and no one’s had a chance to muddy it up yet. It’s full of freedom and possibility. I have to say I have a good feeling about 2010. Personally, I have some exciting things on the agenda, like turning 30, for one, and another piece of news which I’ll announce later this month. I’m also excited to keep AoJ going and growing this year. In the last few months of ’09, my masters thesis took priority and there are a bunch of developments I’ve wanted to make to the site that I had to put on hold. January will see a nicer sidebar with a better “joyful linklist,” tighter categories and tags, and a “recent comments” section. I also want to add some “similar posts” links and generally make navigating the site a simpler, more enjoyable experience. In addition, I have a few resolutions for Aesthetics of Joy in 2010:

Praxis
In the last year I’ve concentrated on identifying and explaining joy from a scientific and an aesthetic perspective. Over the next year I really want to focus on ways of designing and expressing joy — applying all this theory to the myriad design problems out there in the world. In the end, the only way that these ideas will have any value is if we do something with them. Praxis is about putting theory into practice, finding ways to help designers of all different kinds bring joy into their work, and helping people bring joy into their lives, through aesthetics. In the beginning of this year I want to do some trial-and-error on a few ways of bringing AoJ to life, and I hope you’ll let me know what you think of them.

Interviews and guests
In 2009, I focused mostly on my own ideas of joy, synthesized from various readings and discussions. I did many interviews with a wide range of experts on different topics, but I rarely posted much about these interviews on the blog. This year, I’d really like to explore other people’s perspectives on joy, and present some interviews and guest posts on different subjects.

Testing the limits of AoJ
2009 was all about defining the essence of joy. Now I want to push the boundaries and understand the margins. I want to look at things that start out joyful but become less so over time, or things that seem unpleasant on the surface but turn out to be delightful. I want to hear counterarguments and examine outliers and puzzle over things that challenge the theories behind AoJ. What are joy’s limitations? Can joy be restrained? Can it be silent? Can it be colorless? Can it be mean, wasteful, or selfish? What is joy good for and what is it not good for? I want to understand how far we can take joy, and where joy can take us, to get a better idea of what AoJ’s role should be in people’s lives.

Practice / preach
And finally, I want to do more practicing what I preach. I’ve always had a fairly healthy inner child, but this year I’m ready to do a little experimenting on myself. First up: my quest to find a joyful form of exercise to liven up my routine. Any suggestions? Let me know.

Now that you know my new year’s resolutions, what are yours? Any joyful ones? What are you most hopeful about for 2010?

Image: pamhule (CC)

Hey, Guess What?

The Aesthetics of Joy is now a book! Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness is now available.

Learn more

Leave a Comment