Every new year needs a fresh manifesto, so while you’re kicked back, lying low, chasing the sun or even hard at it, we’ve developed a pick and mix of ideas to create your own to-do list for a happy 2009. If you’re particularly ambitious you can seize the entire list or simply embrace a few of our favourites: build a cellar of the Bekaa Valley’s finest, take up residence in a perfectly formed town (Belluno as featured on page 184) or find a conference you actually want to attend. To keep all of these ideas top of mind we’re working with artist Satoshi Hashimoto to create a limited-edition poster for mid-afternoon inspiration.
From our bureaux and correspondents around the world, here’s Monocle’s list of the 50 things to make you happy in 2009.
01 Find your sunny spot – Sweden got it right by making balconies standard on all Funkis-era buildings. Japan’s zoning laws protect the sun rights of residents.
02 Navigate a new route to work – what’s not to love about a silent tram or a fresh bike path?
03 A clean bill of health – while we all love the cool hands of a Swiss GP, we’ve grown to appreciate our annual retreat to the Lanserhof.
04 Start your own recipe book – handwritten like mum’s – and not with your MacBook parked in the kitchen, please.
05 A night at the Asaba on the Izu Peninsula – with three close friends.
06 Catching up on correspondence – on stationery from the Winged Wheel.
07 Spend an evening doing a subscription overhaul – The New Yorker, The Week, AD (Spanish Edition), Casa Brutus and the magazine you’re holding.
08 Build a reading list — from a loved and trusted source.
09 Embark on mastering a new hobby – involving specialist tools, expert attire and a great deal of elbow grease.
10 A day off during the week once a quarter – as good for the soul as a long weekend.
11 Engineer a space to call your own – cut all communications and build yourself a den away from emails, texts and inane interruptions.
12 Lobby for an extra month – we think Extember has a comforting ring to it.
13 Hire an eagle-eye PA – a school ma’amish operational aide will take the tedium out of agenda queries and flight schedules.
14 Engage in a random act of charity – we’re on the lookout for a worthy recipient of a well-intended tax break.
15 Fund a beneficiary – choose an art college and pluck a student ripe for patronage. We suggest a trip to the Lisbon School of Fine Art.
16 Scope out a new local hangout – (club, pub, café, resto) in the style of Taipei’s Dian Qiang, aka Darrly’s Bar.
17 Pause for a real breath of fresh air – Finland’s a good venue.
18 A failsafe fashion combo – featuring a jacket from Piombo, jeans from Anatomica, a Sammler shirt and Tabio socks under a pair of boots from Alden.
19 Boost the economy and create an opening – what job/position does every company lack?
20 Track down a conference you actually want to attend – Monocle’s working on developing its own.
21 Start your day with a naked, bracing dip – the Baltic off Sweden revives our soul.
22 Buy a car you don’t have to fuss over – the Subaru Forester pre-curves.
23 Fill a drawer – with new tees and drawers from FilMelange and Gunze.
24 Create a cosy reading corner – with furniture from Carl Malmsten.
25 Bring about a return to tradition – why not introduce an afternoon drinks trolley circa the Time-Life building 1962.
26 Take up residency in a perfectly formed town – Belluno? Palma? Atami?
27 Invest in a better bed to roll out of – Hästens, Nippon Bed or Dux work best.
28 Overhaul your favourite residence – by commissioning Truck in Osaka.
29 Switch to a bank you can depend on – who came out of this crisis best?
30 In the meantime stuff some money under the mattress – a Japanese pastime to the tune of hundreds of billions in savings.
31 Spend a naughty weekend in Paris – the Daniel, George V and Lancaster get our temperatures rising.
32 Buy a well behaved Shiba-ken – to keep you company in the office and at home.
33 Cut your daily food intake by half – there’s nothing worse than outgrowing your Incotex trousers.
34 Begin and end your day with a new way of washing – seated in a Toto bedecked bathroom with the highest end Neorest washlet.
35 Purchase a cellar of the Bekaa Valley’s finest – ask for tips from Kamal Mouzawak at Beirut’s farmers market.
36 Buy a pencil case from Brooklyn Museum – and go crazy filling it.
37 Go on a grand rail journey – for spring we’d try Spain.
38 Find a new newsreader to fall in love with – it’s a slim field out there.
39 Commission – get Ambush to create a collection of jewellery for day and night.
40 Press play on a perfect soundtrack to start the day – TV On The Radio are sounding good to us.
41 For night music – slide in Osaka Monaurail.
42 Install a superior security system by Secom – especially if you have flimsy London doors.
43 Download a bulletin to inspire and inform you – The Monocle Weekly will hit the digital waves from 28 December.
44 Attract some passes – by wearing some glasses from Facial Index NY.
45 Invite five closest around – for a DVD, Laurent-Perrier and a curry rice weekend on your De Padova sofa.
46 Make an attempt at self sufficiency – go solar, plant a few more things to eat and take up fishing.
47 Make a tradition of becoming a patron of a friendly food emporium – Copenhagen’s Løgismose is the Grønlykke family’s well-cut delicatessen and one of our favourite places for a grocery grab.
48 Get in the blocks for an easy to follow fitness regime – 5km three times a week and 8km on Sunday morning.
49 Start a photo album – shot on 35mm.
50 Set to work planning a compact dream house – on a side street in your favourite city – the timing can be a year or a lifetime.