Goodbye Goblin Mode!

“Goblin mode,” the Oxford English Dictionary’s 2022 Word of the Year is defined as “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.” 

Apparently “goblin mode” is how I live my life. It’s certainly how I’ve lived for the last three-ish years since the pandemic shut down (or at least slowed down) pretty much everything. Goblins, the mischievous creatures from folklore and fantasy who are not-quite-human, are often a little gross, and tend to live in caves, are not usually considered worthy of emulation. Nevertheless, I went full-goblin and embraced loungewear, junk food, and inactivity. Interpersonal relationships, via Skype and long text chains, became taxing. Even my hobbies, which I suddenly had plenty of time for, went on the back burner. 

So, while I usually roll my eyes at the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, I want to leave goblin mode (for the most part) in 2022. I’ve had my time to indulge in a lot of goblin-y behavior. If nothing else, I am ready for something new and to recommit to my friends, family, and interests. 

When it comes to how to get out of goblin mode, the first step was to ask, what’s my idea of anti-goblin? 

The first thing that came to my mind was adventure. Now, adventure is on a spectrum. I know that playing an action-adventure video game or bingeing a new TV show still verges on goblin mode. But taking a walk in the park on a crisp January day? That totally counts. Trying a new type of potato chips is a no. Going to a new restaurant and supporting a local business owner – that’s a yes. 

Here are some other ideas to thwart your inner goblin and make the best of 2023 right from the start: 

  • Take/plan a trip. It doesn’t have to be to an exotic locale. Maybe you can go visit a friend or family member and reconnect. You could take a day trip to a nearby treasure like Brazos Bend State Park, one of the area lakes, or Galveston. And if you can take a trip somewhere further away, why not go for it?
    Wherever you choose to go, you could plan out each detail (HCPL has loads of travel guides, including many locations in Texas) or just be spontaneous. Either way, you’re unlikely to regret getting away for a few hours or days. 
  • Go someplace new. Most of us tend to go to the same places and do the same things. Maybe there’s a local restaurant or coffee shop you’ve always meant to check out, or perhaps you’ve wondered if there’s a store that sells something you usually buy online. See what’s out there. And if you haven’t been to your local library, come visit us! 
  • Learn something. There are tons of resources online for learning anything from a new language to sewing to computer programming and more. Additionally, many of our libraries offer educational programs with classes like art, cooking, and gardening. Check out our events page to see what’s happening near you. 
  • Get active. You don’t have to climb Mt. Everest or run a marathon. Take a walk at one of the area’s beautiful parks (which are pretty much mosquito-free right now!). Join a yoga or ballet exercise class at one of our library branches. Do a video workout in your living room. You have so many options, and every step is a step away from goblin mode. 
  • Read something different. If your reading is in a rut, maybe it’s time to explore new authors and genres. Or perhaps you didn’t read much at all in 2022 and wish you had.
    Even though it often involves sitting in a comfy spot, reading is a great way to hush your inner goblin because it allows us to empathize with other people. Check out our list of the most popular books from 2022. Download the Libby app and click on “random” to get some suggestions that aren’t based on popularity or what you’ve read before. Read the book that a movie or tv series is based upon – you have so many options! Change things up a bit. Check out an audiobook and go for a nice walk. It’s addictive once you get into the habit.
  • Meet new people. Meeting new people is difficult, especially as we get older. HCPL branches offer tons of programs where you can meet new people in a safe environment. Whether it’s taking one of the aforementioned classes, joining a roleplaying game group, or participating in a knitting circle, you have lots of options to find potential new friends in 2023. 

That being said, I’ll still find time for goblin mode in my life. There’s no need to try to do everything on this list and get burnt out. Sometimes we just need a way to get started and shift from one mode to another. That’s enough.

Here are some resources available through HCPL to get your 2023 off to a less goblin-y start:

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles

Houston & the Texas Gulf Coast [2021]


Yoga for the Rest of Us

The Self-Care Year

Good Enough

Atomic Habits