This is the eighth year that I have posted a recap of my goals for the year. There are a lot of people in my life who know very little else about me other than my New Year’s Resolution blog post. It’s the way in which some distant friends and acquaintances keep track of the events of my life, which is touching to me in a way that wasn’t the case in 2009 when I started this tradition.
This tradition is called Past Year’s Accountability, because I believe that goals only matter if you hold yourself accountable for them. I post my list publicly as a way of shaming myself into doing better. I genuinely think it has helped me to stay focused along the way.
The end of every year sees people on social media complaining about how terrible of a year it was. They say the same thing at the end of every year. No year ends with everyone raving about how great it was. It’s the same boring, predictable gloominess ever year. Looking back on the year as a whole, 2016 was actually a pretty wonderful year for me. Not my mood of course, that was terrible as always, but the events of the year were pretty good. I seem to be bitter, angry, resentful, and unhappy no matter how much good is coming my way in life.
If there is one barometer of a year for me, it is travel. The more I travel, the happier I am. I traveled almost as much this year as I did in 2009, which I usually say was the best year of my life. I went to California, Canada, and England and I also saw more Shakespeare plays in one year than any other year of my life. How could that be bad?
If you would like to check back on past year’s progress, you can view my 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 posts as well.
1. Start on my back tattoo.
I really need to stop making tattoo resolutions, especially ones that are as expensive as starting on my back. I traveled quite a bit this year which ate up all my discretionary income. I got my face and left hand tattooed but I don’t think that deserves half credit.
2. Take at least three months of consistent ballet classes.
I am giving myself half credit for this resolution because while I didn’t hit my three month mark, I did take ballet classes, both group classes at Richmond Ballet and private lessons with a friend who is a ballet teacher. I hurt my back and my shoulder in the gym and had to take some time off from the gym and ballet but I think I deserve half credit for the work that I did do.
3. Take at least three months of consistent BJJ classes.
I’ve been really missing training BJJ lately and at the end of last year I had planned to try and return to training but I just couldn’t afford it. A couple of years ago I realized that I was making too many resolutions that were based solely on my ability to afford things and I tried to make an effort to avoid those. Looks like I need a reminder that not everything should be based on money.
4. Publish Brief Candle 3.
I wanted to publish the third issue of my Shakespeare zine, Brief Candle. Not only did I do that successfully, but I think that issue three is the best issue thus far. I finished it in time for the Richmond Zine Fest, an event that I’ve been meaning to table at for a long time.
5. Give two Shakespeare lectures.
In the last couple years, I’ve been doing more Shakespeare education. My goal for 2016 was to teach at at least two schools. I taught at three, including a full day of lecturing to seven classes at St. Margaret’s as well as teaching a full Shakespeare program at the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center. I also lectured on Othello at St. Gertrude. Full credit here.
6. Go to Disney.
I love few things as much as I love Disney and I hadn’t been since my honeymoon. My wife and I went to California for our anniversary and went to Disneyland. Full credit here.
7. Publish Animal Rights zine with Phinney.
One of the ideas that I was most excited about when 2016 started, was the idea of collaborating on a vegan zine with my best friend. He spent years working with animals on farm sanctuaries and I thought that he could provide an interesting perspective on animals that no one else really could. Most people know how awful factory farms are, but few people know what life is like for animals who have been rescued from food production. Some of Phinney’s stories of the animals he worked with are heartbreaking, some are beautiful, and some are just puzzling. I had hoped to sit down and have him tell me stories about his work but after months of asking him repeatedly, I gave up on the project. I wish that somehow I could penalize Phinney for this failure because I was offering to do all the work and it was only as a result of his refusal to talk to me for an hour or two that it never happened.
8. Publish Honest Mistakes.
Honest Mistakes is a collection of short stories and essays I’ve been working on for almost six years now. I made significant progress with edits and rewrites this year and will likely be ready for publishing in the next month or two but I don’t think that I hit any benchmarks worthy of claiming half credit for this resolution.
9. Publish a creative zine of some kind.
I realize that in recent years, most of my writing has been academic and not creative. I had hoped to put together a zine of poetry, or fiction, or a collaborative art zine with someone but it never panned out. I did publish two zines this year but neither of them were what I had in mind when I wrote this resolution, so no credit there.
10. Reread Moby Dick.
I commonly tell people that Moby Dick is one of my favourite books, but I read it so long ago that I barely remember the finer details. I normally have a policy against rereading books. In fact, prior to rereading Moby Dick this year (full credit!) I had only ever read Shakespeare plays multiple times. I enjoyed Moby Dick even more the second time, because I know my Shakespeare so much better now than I did when I was 14. Melville was so influenced by Shakespeare that it really takes an understanding of Shakespeare to appreciate Moby Dick.
11. Donate at least $100 to any number of charities/non profits.
I raised $150 ($124 of which was my own money, the other $26 came from coworkers) for the ongoing relief effort in Nepal after their spring 2015 earthquake. I work for an Aveda salon and Aveda has a special relationship with the people of Nepal and I wanted to raise money for them for Christmas. I did the same thing last year but I raised way more money this year than last year.
12. Do something special marketing-wise for King Lear in the spring.
In the spring, the theatre company that I work for did a production of King Lear and I was really excited about it for a lot of reasons. Some of my favourite actors in Richmond were involved and the closing night of the production coincided with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. I really wanted to put together some special marketing gimmicks to try and create buzz for the show. I organized two significant marketing efforts to help with the show. Full credit here.
13. Write ten blog entries.
I wrote seven entries for this blog this year, not including this one. That’s definitely worth half credit.
14. See a show at the Globe in London.
I’ve been to the Globe in London several times to take tours and visit the exhibits and to see a show in their new indoor playhouse, but I had never actually seen a show in the Globe. As a Shakespeare fanatic that seems absurd. This summer I spent almost three weeks out of the country and saw eight Shakespeare shows in 18 days, including two at the Globe in London. I also saw four at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, and two at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon. On my birthday (August 26) I saw an afternoon matinee of Macbeth, and at 11:59pm the same day I saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Of all the shows I saw on the whole trip, I think the Macbeth I saw at the Globe was my favourite. Full credit here, obviously.
15. See a Shakespeare play I’ve never seen before.
This is pretty self-explanatory. I’m trying to work my way through seeing the whole canon. I’ve read and discussed every play with my book club, but there are still a bunch that I’ve never seen. While on the trip that I mention above, I saw Two Noble Kinsmen at the RSC in Stratford Upon Avon, as well as Richard II and Henry IV 1+2 as part of the ‘Breath of Kings’ history conflation at the Stratford Festival in Ontario. I wish I could give myself quadruple credit for this resolution.
16. Table at the Zine Fest.
I have been wanting to table at the Richmond Zine Fest for a while but it’s a big commitment to get together enough material to make it worth it as well as taking the time off of work. This year I registered to table, finished the third issue of Brief Candle in time to sell at the fest as well as edited and reissued some old zines for the occasion. Full credit.
17. Go to the symphony.
I wanted to try and support the arts in Richmond more, including the opera and symphony. I didn’t get around to going to the symphony this year but not necessarily because I was too lazy or broke, the Richmond symphony just didn’t do very much that I was excited about. I’m not a classical music buff, there are only a few composers that I love and if the symphony isn’t doing something big by one of them, it’s easy for me to forget to buy a ticket. No credit here.
18. Go to the opera.
Another arts resolution that I did follow through with. I went to see the Virginia Opera’s production of Romeo and Juliet in February. It wasn’t very good, but I went! Full credit.
19. Produce Measure for Measure film.
The summer of 2015 I came up with the idea of trying to do a very fast, cheap, film adaptation of Measure for Measure
and shoot the entire thing on an iPhone. I talked to one of my closest friends, Mary Sader about starring in it and helping me to direct and this summer we managed to make it happen. We raised money for a few props and food for the cast, cut the script down to 45 minutes, cast a bunch of our friends, and shot the thing at a feverish pace in less than a week. It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done and I can’t wait to see the film after it’s been edited by my long-suffering assistant director, Austin.
There was one resolution on this list that I accomplished, but which I find too embarrassing to publish. It is a petty thing that I wanted to do this year that a few people know about, but which I would be petrified to talk about publicly. Y’all will just have to trust me that I accomplished this thing and that I deserve full credit for it. I’ve never lied to you before.
My total for this year was 13/20 or 65% which is actually my highest percentage ever, beating my 2013 score of 58.3%. Do y’all think that I am getting more done or am I just writing myself easier resolutions? Either could be likely I suppose.
I finished writing my resolutions for 2017 while I typed up this post. Check back in a year to see how much stuff I did not accomplish in 2017.