The Life-changing Magic Of Peak Self-optimization
2019 might shape up to be the year of peak self-optimization
The first meme of 2018 was Mariah Carey publicly complaining that, prior to her New Year’s Eve performance, no one had brought her “hot tea.” It was funny and in keeping with Carey’s legendary diva antics, but it was also a GIF-able summation of the year’s desperate need for soothing. President (Donald) Trump had closed out a horribly tense first year in the White House; Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria left devastation in their wakes; a man opened fire on a Las Vegas music festival, killing dozens; North Korea was testing nuclear weapons; we learned that Hollywood (and especially Harvey Weinstein) was a sexist hotbed of sexual coercion. We all needed that hot tea. The first memes of 2019 (Chrissy Teigen getting poked in the eye with an umbrella notwithstanding) strike a markedly different tone, often displaying a desperate kind of self-actualized intention.
If 2018 was the year of peak self-care, 2019 might shape up to be the year of peak self-optimization. This year the internet meme machine has churned out new New Year’s resolution formats focused on fine adjustment rather than vague, unattainable goals.
It’s taking early stabs at defining “2019 energy” as something wacky but intentional. And it is obsessed with the beaming organization deity that is Marie Kondo, sending screenshots of her new Netflix program, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, zooming across Twitter. In 2019, meme creators are abandoning the typical resolution, which so often feels like a list of personal failings, for something more technical, informed, and designed to hack the human psyche: a quest for subtle shifts that will radically change the way you perceive your world, a kind of psychic weighted blanket to mollify 2019’s inevitable crises.
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