Seth Brown | The Pun Also Rises: JOMO arigato, Mr. Roboto


It's 2019. And that calls for bold new resolutions. In the past, New Year's resolutions have been a time of ambitious plans to do great things. We promise ourselves that we will exercise more, get out to more events, finally learn underwater basket weaving, etc., etc. Promises are made that we will clean up the house, completely change our personality, and buy gum.

And by gum, in 2018 we did things! We did lots of things, like go out and stub our toes, and sculpt our hair into man buns, and consume Tide Pods by the dozens. Years ago parents would punish their children for swearing by washing their mouth out with soap. Last year the children voluntarily ate the soap, and the parents were the ones who were swearing. Yes, 2018 was a year for the doing of things, and look what happened.

So if we really want to do something bold and new in 2019, allow me to humbly suggest: Not doing things.

Think about it. For decades, we've started every year by pushing ourselves to do things and get out of the house. And where has it gotten us? Out of the house, and into the cold. Do you know why we even have houses? It's because it's much warmer indoors. We live in the Berkshires. Going outside in the winter is a terrible idea, and often one that leads to regret. Within a month, it will become unbearably cold, and going outside will seem a grizzly fate.

The bears themselves, of course, know to stay inside. They hibernate, eat honey, and watch Netflix, which honestly sounds like a pretty good date to me. It's a shame I'm not into bears. But we can learn something from them, which is the confident enjoyment of curling up at home and not doing anything.

We humans sometimes push ourselves to do things we're not even excited about due to FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out. But this year I've learned a new term, which is JOMO, the Joy Of Missing Out. And if JOMO sounds like a strange concept to you, just think about a time that you were considering dragging yourself to an event you had no desire to attend and then decided to enjoy a quiet evening at home instead. Or a time when logistical circumstances forced you to miss a party you didn't want to go to anyway. Or really any time you took a week to stop reading the news.

The fact is, many of us are happier when we're not trying to do things. Engaging in the world is exhausting, as is trying to keep up with everyone on social media, as is feeling like we need to go out and "see and be seen," by which I mean putting on actual pants. Sometimes it's a lot more enjoyable to just sit at home in fuzzy pants and read a book. Or, if you are of the Ursidae persuasion, to sit at home with furry pants and eat a book. Either way, hibernating is awesome, and it's something I'm going to do a lot of in 2019.

I know that as New Year's resolutions go, not doing things may seem like a strange one. But the way I see it, we all know that by February, most New Year's resolutions fall apart. So I'll probably end up adding this to the list of New Year's resolutions I've failed to achieve... which means at least I'll have finally gotten some things done.

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor writer, the author of "The Little Book of Mahjong," and enjoys country living in his own hiber-nation. His website is



If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions