Every year I sit down and write something about what has transpired over the past 12 months and the goals for the upcoming 12. The past few years it has felt like a way to dump the bad feelings about the year and nurture the hope of coming change, this year feels different. Maybe it is because my seasonal depression hasn’t fully hit, or maybe it is because things have been very eventful, but I had a pretty good year.
I didn’t travel much this year, but when I did oh boy it was big. After Gatlinburg, and a few trips to Maine I didn’t get out often. There was only 1 wedding this year and it was in Albany, and I barely spent any time at camp this summer. But my big trips really made up for it. In June I headed to Anchorage and spent a week driving all over the great white north. I hit 2 national parks, fed a moose, rode a dog sled, ate fresh shrimp that were caught by my AirBnB host that day, saw one of the 7 summits, ate a mediocre burrito, and enjoyed 23 hours of daylight. I find it hard to describe, the size and scope of Alaska blew my mind more than a bit. In November I boarded the longest nonstop domestic flight and headed to Honolulu, my final state. It is probably not possible to have a bad time in Hawaii, frankly Oahu sucked, but the Big Island more than made up for it. Between the coffee, the scenery, the friendly people, and the fresh fruit I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I have never been a big fan of beaches, but by God the South Pacific is awesome. When I am feeling cold I have been flashing back to a memory of sitting on a black sand beach with the sand between my toes listening to the waves crash as the sun went down. It was quite the vacation and between sneaking into a fancy resort, walking among the coffee trees, pissing off a tiger, visiting Volcanos National Park, watching the stars from the lava fields, seeing surfers, enjoying a fresh dole whip, swimming in the ocean, and of course eating a burrito.
What were you up to in May of 2006? I was busy getting kicked out of college and starting a quest that would define large parts of my future. 13 and 1/2 years, 49 states and New Jersey. I had the opportunity to see more of America than most people have ever dreamed of. Burritos have taken me to all sorts of places that I would never have gone, and allowed me to experience things I never would have dreamed of. For a moment after finishing the Hawaii burrito (which was very tasty) as the taste of salsa verde faded I didn’t feel overjoyed at having completed the quest, I felt a moment of profound sadness and loss. Something that had defined me for a large chunk of my life is over, and I have always enjoyed the journey instead of relishing the finish line. I may be the first person in history to suffer from Post Burrito Depression. People keep asking but as of now I don’t plan on a book, I won’t be submitting for a world record, I don’t have documentation from the mid 2000s, and most importantly I don’t have the next thing planned. I am just going to enjoy traveling for it’s own sake and going places that I want to go, I am going to move forward with my life having accomplished something that seemed like a fun goal to a lost kid who had nothing else going on in life and had never been further west than Buffalo.
This is the point where I normally write a paragraph about how my professional life is a dumpster fire. It isn’t right now. Technically right now I have been forced to be a manager of a terrible store where there is no help and the customers are jerks, but it is temporary and I can deal with a few months of night terrors and stress headaches. Other than that things are going pretty good, I like floating, I enjoy covering maternity leaves, I really like working 30 hours a week and have adjusted my budget appropriately. Mostly I am glad that I got of out Brooks/Eckerd/Fays/Rite Aid/Walgreens and am pretty happy with what I am doing now. If I play my cards right only 26 years to retirement.
Comedy has really taken a back seat this year. I only got on stage 51 times, by far my least. I did a lot more big shows and stepped solidly into a role as a feature comic. I also had the chance to be in an out of town comedy festival and get involved in a shitshow of a competition at a casino comedy club. I could have done a lot more, I probably should go to Boston or NYC more often, or do comedy when I travel, or network, or do any of that shit, but in reality I don’t want to. I like what I am doing and where I fit into the Burlington scene, and since I have no aspirations it simply isn’t worth is to put in the work. I watched a lot of people move on to bigger things, and I am happy for them, but it isn’t the path for me. After 5 years I have settled into a very good pattern and am happy with what I am doing. I do regret not going to more Open Mics, I didn’t write much this year and missed a lot of opportunities to support other local comics, but in the grand scheme of things I doubt that my deathbed regrets will revolve around missing open mics.
The biggest thing that has transpired revolved around some lifestyle changes I made in March. I had just finished reading The Elephant in the Room, a book about a guy struggling to make changes and winning the battle to lose weight. So much of his story resonated with me that it really got me thinking about how I want to live. Do I want to continue being the type of guy who buys a frozen pizza at a gas station on Christmas Day (Season depression is a bitch), or do I want to start living a life with less limitations. That week I also bought my flight to Alaska and realized that it would be a miserable flight and every pound I lost would be a benefit, so I tried something different. I tracked my food choices, made a few tweaks, and made it a habit to get outside and for a walk each day. After I got back from my trip I enlisted a bunch of friends who I send an email every other week updating my progress, goals, and failures, which keeps me accountable. Over the summer I signed up for an online coaching program which works to build good nutrition and exercise habits. My coach looks like Andrew WK, and I do whatever it takes to live up to his standards even when I don’t want to, 17 year old me will not let 34 year old me disappoint Andrew WK. I took extended breaks from alcohol and have mostly cut dairy out of my life, while also eating a lot more vegetables and getting back into eating fruit (Why are there so many new types of apples?). I have done a lot of experimenting and trying new things, and have been pushing my limits while also setting workout and nutrition routines. Since the end of March I am down more than 50 pounds, have needed to buy new clothes (in a good way), have developed a bunch of positive habits, and am feeling much better about myself and about my life. I have spent the past month in a bit of a weight plateau, but I have noticed a bunch of strength gains so it works out. I am excited about these changes and am looking forward to what the future brings.
Miscellaneous Section: This year I have read almost 120 books (List in top menu) and bought a kindle. I also bought a Subaru Forester after someone did a hit an run on my beat up old Outback while I was at work. I attended only one wedding, but it was a very fun one. I listened to way too many podcasts. I gave up dating apps and websites thinking that I could meet women in real life, went on exactly zero dates. I spent a good amount of time on the phone talking to my friends using my voice instead of texting, I miss my friends. Nobody died, at least nobody I was close to. I got back into mediation and am back on that Wim Hof bullshit of breath holds and cold showers. I shattered my phone screen three separate times, I should get a case. Bought a burrito blanket, it is so damn soft and warm, I am also now exclusively giving baby burrito blankets as baby gifts, they are so damn cute. I was the celebrity judge of a latte art competition, also attended the World Barista Championship, and stayed on a coffee plantation, I may have a coffee problem. Grassi convinced me to see KISS in concert, it was fun. My landlord painted my terrible yellow apartment, it is beautifully neutrally colored. This year I lived a life, it went pretty good, there were things I wish I would have done, but there is always next year.
Speaking of next year, I have a few goals. I would like to listen to less podcasts and enjoy more silence. I would like to do more improv, write more jokes, and not get so caught up in comedy scene drama. I would like to connect with more people instead of spending so much time alone. I want to paint more, and maybe start journaling again. I’ve got a bunch of weddings, and I just bought a new suit (off the rack since they actually had my new size), I am sure that they will all be fun. I want to travel on my own, non burrito related, I think I may wind up in California for a bit, I keep having dreams about walking among the redwoods. I hope to keep up my meditation and exercise habits, while also expanding an trying to tweak things. I don’t want to strive to read as much, I will still read, but there is no sense in rushing thorough and forcing in so much information that things get lost. I want to spend more time thinking and planning and making time to execute those plans. I want 2020 to be a good year, for myself and for everyone around me. Now is the time to go forth and make it so.