Past Year’s Accountability 2014

I write this as one of the most important years of my life comes to a close. I’ll probably remember 2014 as the year that my life changed more dramatically than it has since 2002 when my father died and I had to move out on my own at 17. It’s been a big year.

Since 2009 I’ve been publicly keeping track of my goals and self-improvement efforts on this blog, and the most gratifying thing for me has not only been the motivation that I feel to accomplish goals because I hold myself accountable but the people over the years who’ve told me that they felt inspired to start taking their goals more seriously and have begun to keep track of their new years resolutions in similar fashion.

I think if there is any good in my personality it is my commitment to continual growth and self-improvement. And among the many terrible aspects of my personality is my inability to take anything seriously if it cannot be quantified. So, displayed here together are the some of the best and worst parts of my personality. My new year’s resolution recap for the year. The sixth Past Year’s Accountability.

If you would like to check back on past year’s progress, you can view my 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 posts as well.

1. Publish a collection of my short works.
I did not accomplish this goal. I spent some considerable time editing the pieces that are going to be in the collection I’ve been trying to finish for the past couple years but I really hate editing and just didn’t finish it.
2. Edit and compile collection of my dad’s writing/photographs.
I made no real effort to work on this project. Another thing that’s been on my list for a couple years that I just can’t seem to get in gear.
3. Publish a Shakespeare zine.
I published the first issue of my Shakespeare zine, Brief Candle in June of this year. It has ten pieces in it, it’s about 50 pages. I couldn’t have been happier with how this project came together. Full credit for this resolution.
4. Visit two other countries.
I spent several days in Paris in January of this year and two weeks in London in February doing Shakespeare research. Full credit on this resolution.
5. Finish Mike Rennie peacock.
I started a tattoo of a peacock on my arm with Mike in November of 2010 so it was four years in the making when I finally finished it in October of this year. Obviously it wasn’t that it was so huge that it needed four years to finish, I was just too broke for a long time after I first started it.
6. See Eisley three times.
I saw Eisley four times on their spring tour this year, in Chapel Hill, DC, Philadelphia, and New York. Full credit here.
7. Get engaged.
I asked Leah to marry me on the first show of the spring Eisley tour on April 2nd. We got married on October 4th. Full resolution here obviously.
8. Participate in a poetry slam.
I’m going to give myself half credit for this resolution even though I didn’t actually participate in a slam. Given that doing a slam is half writing poetry and half speaking in front of a crowd, I feel that it’s fair to give myself half credit if I did both of those things even though they weren’t done together. I have been writing poetry, some for potential future slamming and some more traditional poetry. Also I spoke three times this year at storytelling events in Richmond. I spoke at three different Secretly Y’all events. SY is a monthly storytelling event that happens in Richmond which is fairly similar in structure to The Moth. So, half credit for writing poetry and speaking in front of crowds.
9. Start a garden.
Leah and I built some raised beds and planted vegetables which we later ate. Our success was somewhat limited but definitely satisfactory for first-timers. I ate tomatoes and squash from my garden in the fall. Full credit here.
10. Write ten blog entries.
I only posted one blog entry this year other than this one and it wasn’t even written for this site but was written for an Eisley fansite which never posted the article. I was just too busy writing for other projects this year to have anything to post here. No credit for this resolution.
11. Take a class either of academic or artistic merit.
I took an online Shakespeare class and I also audited a 400 level Shakespeare class at a university this year, I had almost perfect attendance and wrote three 2000+ word papers for it. I give myself full credit for this resolution.
12. Build a bookshelf.
Although they’re not particularly pretty, I built two bookshelves this year. They’re big and stable enough to make up for being so ugly. Full credit.
13. Do a photoshoot for my hair work.
I actually made negative progress on this resolution because the only place where I ever feature my hair work is Instagram and I deleted my Instagram in June. Obviously no credit here.
14. Become conversational in Spanish.
No credit for this resolution. I didn’t work on my Spanish at all. This is one of those embarrassing resolutions that I keep making and never working on.
15. Throw a successful party.
I am giving myself full credit for this resolution even though none of the events I hosted this year were necessarily the kind of parties that I was thinking of when I wrote this. I hosted a couple of movie nights, a birthday dinner at a restaurant, and the reception for my wedding. I think all totaled they equal one normal large general-purpose party.
16. Submit a letter to Style Weekly. 
No credit here. I didn’t feel compelled to weigh in on anything in Style Weekly (a local free magazine which publishes letters from residents in the back).
17. Get off my cell phone contract.
When my cell phone contract ended in April I transferred my number to Google Voice and ended my relationship with Verizon. I no longer have a traditional phone plan. I simply use internet/data based options to text and make phone calls for free which works fine at home, at work, and most of my normal hangouts. Not having a cell phone is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I save myself about a hundred dollars a month, and not having service all the time means that I spend less time acting like a zombie with my face glued to a screen like all my friends. Full resolution here.
18. Tattoo my neck.
I got an elephant tattooed on my neck in September. Full credit.
19. See four Shakespeare plays.
I actually saw twelve Shakespeare plays in 2014, including several in London with famous actors like Jude Law and Tom Hiddleston. If I could give myself 300% credit for this I would.
20. Do a day’s worth of AR activism.
I worry that animal rights isn’t as important to me as it used to be. It’s not that I’m doubting my commitment so much as I feel like I’m not trying to spread the message anymore because I’m so anti-social. I had wanted to do something meaningful this year for the cause but I didn’t get around to it. This is probably the resolution I’m most disappointed to have not accomplished. No credit.
21. Get Invisalign. 
No credit here. I got dental insurance this year but didn’t start the ball rolling on this.
22. Go to the dentist once.
Once again no credit. I got dental insurance but I never made an initial appointment to look at my teeth.
23. Do something really nice for my little sisters. 
I take back what I said about resolution #20. This is the resolution I’m the most disappointed to have failed. I really wanted to do something special for my sisters this year to show them how much they still mean to me but I dropped the ball. I feel terrible that we’re not as close as we used to be. To some degree however I feel like the growing distance between us is the nicest thing that I can ever do for anyone. Anyone’s life could be dramatically improved by my being in it less and less.
24. Memorize a Shakespeare monologue.
Although it’s a fairly short monologue, I did memorize “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” from Macbeth, without actually trying. Full credit here.
25. Attend a Shakespeare conference.
I had wanted to go up to the Folger in DC or another conference to listen to Shakespeare scholars talk and present papers and things like that but I didn’t have the time or money for it. No credit here.
26. Read five books by contemporary authors.
I realized that it had been almost 13 years since I last read a novel published after 1960 and that I should try to sample some contemporary authors, especially Americans. I’m going to give myself full credit for this resolution even though I actually only read four contemporary books this year. The first of those books was Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace which is an extremely dense, difficult, postmodern monster of about 1,100 pages which I absolutely hated until around page 600, after which I began to enjoy immensely. The four contemporary books I read this year were Infinite Jest by Wallace, The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I really enjoyed all of them but I think that The Secret History was probably my favourite contemporary book I read this year.
So my total for 2014 was 14.5/26 or about 56%. I think that’s a fairly respectable percentage. Check back next year for my next resolution recap. Also why don’t you go ahead and start your own? It doesn’t matter what your goals are, as long they’re important to you and you stick to them.