Last year I stopped writing. I could say that I was trying to focus on other things, or that it wasn’t a priority, or that I was trying to protect my exposure since I spent most of the year looking for a new job, or any of a number of excuses, but that fact of the matter is that writing is really fucking hard and I was lazy. It is embarrassing to look at a blog and have the last post be a retrospective on 2017 written over a year ago, but instead of spending time beating myself up I need to start focusing on the future.
The first step of focusing on the future is knowing where I am coming from. 2018 was a tough year professionally, I was very unhappy at my job, there were a lot of changes with the conversion to Walgreens and I was looking for a way out, I interviewed for a few jobs, tried to get licensed in Maine, and transferred to a staff position at a different store, but in the end the best move was to change companies entirely. I got a new job as a floater for a different company. I am still firmly in the honeymoon phase and things certainly aren’t perfect, but I feel better about work and feel like a fresh start has done me a lot of good. Outside of work I focused on trying new things and exploring avenues that I had never pursued. I did yoga, went to the gym more, painted pictures, went vegetarian for a large portion of the year, got really into using CBD to mediate anxiety and insomnia, cut back on podcasts and tv, read around 80 books, crossed the Kentucky Derby off my bucket list, quit gambling (not at the Derby, but after a sad afternoon surrounded by Canadian retirees at the Akwesasne Casino), meditated more, slept better, performed less standup but made more money doing it, attended 5 weddings and 2 funerals, traveled to 18 states New Jersey and Quebec, wrote and performed a one man show about burritos, got really into bourbon and stopped caring as much about beer, and all around had a pretty good year. Despite all the work issues I can look back with a pretty positive feeling about 2018 and a lot of hope for the future. Now on to the main event.
I don’t believe that resolutions work. I tried doing monthly goals and challenges and while I tend to see good results on them short term it is pretty hard to incorporate after the 30 days since I tend to hit the finish line and go right back to my previous behavior. I have also been patchy with things, I can do something every day and the moment that I step off the gas it is hard to get started again. These are some of my goals in several areas of my life and some of the reasoning behind them.
Goal: Move More, Consistently. Obviously fitness has never been my strong suit, but once I get rolling on it I definitely feel better about myself, sleep better, and have more energy. The trouble is that I go too hard for a few weeks and wind up hurting myself or getting too sore to keep up that pace. I also get bored of being on an elliptical or doing circuits on the basic machines. This year I am going to try and find a rhythm and a varied workout schedule that works for me and that I can stick with.
Goal: Write More. Look guys I’m already doing it. The hardest part of creating anything is showing up. Weather it be coming up with new jokes or writing more pieces like this or simply trying to keep a journal this year I will increase my output. This year I will write something every week, especially if I don’t feel like it
Goal: Make Better Art. I am not a good painter, but when I sit down to do it I really enjoy every moment of the experience. From buying supplies at Michael’s, to setting up my work space, to actually making something appear painting has a calming effect. I take pride in having my own style and making my own things, but I never push myself to improve my technique. This year I will learn to paint better, stretch goal to be featured in a show or sell a painting.
Goal: Spend Less Money. At my new job I am salaried at 30 hours a week, which means that I effectively took a 25% pay cut. I can work extra hours sometimes and I am sure that I will make up some of the difference, but for now I am working to become more cost conscious and spend less. If I learn to live on the reduced salary I can put anything extra that I earn towards paying down my student loans or towards savings. This year I will reduced my expenses and live more within my means while putting the extra portions to good use.
Goal: Move. I hate my apartment, I only stayed here last year because everything was so up in the air with my job. This year I will find a new place to live that better suits my needs and that hopefully isn’t painted bright yellow like my current apartment is.
Goal: Work Harder At Comedy: I have gotten to the point in my comedy career that I can coast a little bit. Last year I rarely attended open mics and only wrote a few jokes, I basically phoned it in, but still managed to get more shows and make more money than the year before. I didn’t spend nearly enough time or energy building relationships with the people around me and felt like a bit of an outsider within the scene. Even if it doesn’t directly equal more or better shows I need to be a better community member. This year I will put in more time and effort to be a productive member of the comedy community.
Goal: Stay Off Dating Sites. Dating in a small town like Burlington is hard. All the sites and apps are filled with the same people who are either someone you know in real life, someone who you are not compatible with, or someone who you have already been on a date with. I have gotten to the point that every time I open an app I feel immediately frustrated and put off, and nothing good can come out of that. So I am going to take 2019 off from all that. It is actually going to be much harder for me to meet people in real life because that isn’t the way that dating is done anymore, not to mention that I don’t like new people and the few women who I do meet are generally comics who I try to steer clear of hitting on since I don’t want to be seen as a creep and make them feel uncomfortable or unwelcome within the comedy community. Worst case scenario I will be able to go back to the dating sites next year and see the same people with fresh eyes. This year I will take a step back from dating sites in order to feel better about myself.
Goal: Track What Books I Read. I have no idea how many books I read last year, except that I know it was a lot. I have tried in the past to track how much I read on a monthly basis but that always become a numbers game where I rush through books and don’t get the full value. This year I am just going to keep a simple list and hopefully it will be a passive way to look back on what I have read rather than a driving force to power though material. This year I will keep a list of what I read.
Goal: Meditate. I have had some good results over the past few months using the new Waking Up app and doing Wim Hof Breathing, and frankly that is part of the reason why I feel positive about what is going on in my life right now. Hopefully I can keep up the daily practice and keep this train rolling. This year I will try to meditate daily and develop a practice that will make me a better person.
Of course there is more that I want to do this year. I plan on traveling to Alaska, going to weddings, pursuing new hobbies, learning to cook new things, spending time with friends and family, and all around living my life. These are just a few goals to get myself going so that I can get pointed in the right direction and make 2019 work for me.