It’s that time of year again, when one year is winding down and another is just about to start, well at least if you follow the Gregorian calendar. For folks using the Chinese lunar calendar, we’re like a month and a half early. So y’all can come back and read this in six weeks if you want.
I started a tradition nine years ago of writing a list of goals for the year and then, at the end of the year, posting those goals online. It started out as a motivational tool, holding myself accountable for the things I promised myself I would do. It still serves that purpose, lighting a fire under me to stay on task for fear of embarrassing myself when it came time to own up to my failures publicly. But it has also come to serve another purpose, of allowing people to check in on my life, much in the same way that some families do Christmas letters, chronicling the family’s year. Since I don’t use most social media, my end of year check in allows people to keep tabs on some aspects of my life over the last 12 months.
So here’s the breakdown for 2017.
1. Write my Shakespeare book
I had originally hoped to write a book on Shakespeare this year. But ended up getting swamped with other things and never had the time to devote to it. No credit here.
2. Publish BC4
I published the fourth issue of my Shakespeare zine, Brief Candle this year at the Philly Zine Fest. I’m really happy with how it came out.
3. Visit ASC in Staunton
I wanted to finally make it out to the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton but the timing didn’t work out. It’s funny that I have been to the Globe and the RSC in London and the Stratford Festival multiple times but I’ve never been to the ASC in my own home state.
4. Start on my back tattoo
I wanted to start on tattooing my back this year but I ended up not having the money for it.
5. Perform at a slam
I read at a couple of open mics in Richmond and then competed (albeit with an older poem) at a slam in Philly. Full credit here. Finally.
6. Read two Jane Austen novels
I realized how silly it was that I’d never read any Jane Austen, one of the most famous and popular writers in the English language. So I asked a literary friend for recommendations and I ended up reading Pride and Prejudice and Emma. I enjoyed both, but the former much more than the latter.
7. Bike 1,000 miles outside of work commutes
In preparing for my cross country bike ride next year, I wanted to put some serious miles on my bike to train. I did a few longer (50-100mile) rides but I didn’t hit the 1,000 or even 500 mile mark for the year so I can’t even give myself half credit for this. It’s not that I had any trouble with the riding itself, but a 100 mile ride is basically an entire day on the bike and it was just hard to find days that I could devote entirely to cycling.
8. Make the Richmond Eisley show a success
Eisley played Richmond for the first time in 2016, and then returned in early 2017 and I wanted to make sure that the show was a success so that they’d continue to return on subsequent tours. I talked up the show everywhere I could and tried hard to convince all my friends to come out, but in the end I only succeeded in bringing two people. Nevertheless the show was a big success, lots of people showed up and they sold lots of merch, but I can’t really take credit for the success so I am not giving myself points for this resolution.
9. Attend Shakespeare Theatre Association conference
I attended the STA conference in Baltimore in January. It was a mostly positive experience.
10. Get back in the gym consistently
At the beginning of 2017 I was just getting back into dieting and going to the gym after taking some time off due to some issues with my back. Allowing for some irregularities around my move to Philadelphia, I was consistent in the gym all year. Full point.
11. Leave Salon Del Sol
Salon Del Sol was a fucking terrible place to work and I decided that 2017 was the year I was going to leave that awful salon. I quit when I moved to Philadelphia.
12. Take three months of consistent ballet classes
No credit here. I didn’t take a single class all year.
13. Write ten blog entries
I wanted to get back into blogging consistently because I feel like writing on a regular basis keeps me in the habit. I succeeded in writing eleven blog entries for the year (including a blog entry swap with my friend Alex)
14. Raise 50% of the funds necessary for Bardcycle
As of December 31st I’ve raised about 75% of the money I need for my BardCycle trip, which puts me on track to have 100% of the money I need by the time I leave.
15. Organize screening of Love’s Lavour’s Lost in Richmond
There is a new independent film adaptation of Love’s Labour’s Lost that I was hoping to organize a screening of in Richmond after they finished their festival circuit but I was unable to get that arranged with the producers. But as far as I know it hasn’t been screened anywhere publicly yet, only at festivals, so I get no credit, but it’s not entirely my fault.
16. Organize premiere of Measure for Measure
I also wanted to organize a real premiere of the Measure for Measure film that Mary and I directed last summer but between venue issues and people’s schedules and money, we weren’t able to do a serious premiere. Instead, a few of us just watched the film at my house and then we uploaded it to YouTube.
17. Go back to Stratford, Ontario
I visited the Stratford Shakespeare Festival for the first time in 2016 and had such a great time that I wanted to go back this year. I did, so I am giving myself full credit, but the trip wasn’t very fun at all.
18. See a Shakespeare play I’ve never seen
I’m running out of Shakespeare plays that I’ve never seen on the stage, but this year I did manage to see two (Love’s Labour’s Lost and Two Gentlemen of Verona) that I’d never seen before. Full credit here.
19. See Eisley twice
I saw Eisley four times this year, in Chapel Hill, Richmond, Vienna, and Philadelphia.
20. See every Richmond Ballet performance
I saw every show that the Richmond Ballet did this year, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Studio Two, Studio Three, The New York Tour Preview, the Trainee New Works show, Studio One, Trio, and The Nutcracker.
21. Publish Honest Mistakes
After years of writing, years of editing, and years of being lazy, I finally finished my collection of short works, Honest Mistakes and did a book release party in Richmond on August 27th.
22. Publish a creative zine
By “creative” zine, I meant something that wasn’t a nonfiction, topical zine, something other than Brief Candle or Litmus Test. Zoa, Emily, and I collaborated on a zine of poetry and art called Fog.
23. Write three short stories (including one with a happy ending)
Based on the absurd length of the three short stories I wrote this year (~40k words total) I should give myself extra credit for this resolution. The second of the three did indeed have a happy ending, and I am overwhelmingly pleased with all three on their creative merits. Full credit here.
24. Make a huge change in my lifestyle of some kind
I was feeling stagnant and boring and decided that in 2017 I was going to make some kind of big change in my life. I wasn’t sure what that change was going to be, but I needed to break through the inertia of my life. At the end of July I moved to Philadelphia without telling anyone. This is my first time living outside of Richmond and my first time doing hair at a salon other than Salon Del Sol. And before I moved, I purged about 95% of my personal belongings, including selling (almost) my entire personal library.
25. Finish the Buffy Season 8 comics
This was a last minute resolution I squeaked in, but I did indeed finish the Buffy Season 8 comics. I love Buffy and I’ve seen the whole series through multiple times, and I had been meaning for years to see where the story went after the end of the show. I enjoyed them just fine, but it didn’t really scratch the Buffy itch in the way that I had hoped. Regardless, full credit here.
That puts my 2017 total at 68% which is actually my highest success rate to date, beating my previous record in 2016 of 65%.
I worry a lot about self-improvement and while I am encouraged by my rising success rates, I also worry that I may be giving myself easier and easier resolutions or accomplishing goals after years of working on them and that my high scores the last two years might not be as praiseworthy as the numbers might suggest. But after a pretty tough five months living in Philadelphia, I’ll take whatever encouragement and positivity I can get.
Check back next year for the ten year anniversary post. Set your own resolutions, and let me know how you did on them. Email me to tell me that you think my resolutions are bullshit and I don’t deserve credit for any of them. Happy new year, folks!