I don’t do “goals.”
Goals are black and white. You either succeed or you don’t. It doesn’t allow for exploration, for sidetracking, and for finding out what is along the path.
Bruce Lee said that if you focus on the finger pointing at the moon and the moon itself, you miss all of the heavenly glory inbetween. Neal Peart said in a song lyric that the point of a journey is not to arrive. JRR Tolkien said that not all who wander are lost.
So, I don’t have goals. I have themes. When you have a theme, you can explore, find out what works for you and grow as a person, rather than have a goal that you either meet or fail at.
My theme for 2015 was health. I had been diagnosed with extremely high blood pressure and, with medication, exercise, meditation and changing my eating habits, I brought it down to where my health is pretty damn good. My other theme was service. A person came back into my life who asked that I assist them with getting their life back together. Along the way, I learned that I am pretty damn good at helping others, and made it a major part of my outlook.
The theme for 2016 was growth. I wanted to grow my podcasts and get better at getting the word out. I tried a lot of things, live broadcasting at conventions, adding three new podcasts (two of which have stuck) and expanded my social media reach. I quickly learned that I no longer cared for going to conventions, that one of the podcast additions was harmful to our long-term growth, and that I had made mistakes in who I trusted, so the theme for the rest of 2016 was fixing what had been broken.
Going in to 2017, the theme was recovery. I had a full-time job with decent pay for the first time since the great recession, and benefits for the first time since then. I had a LOT of dental work done, replaced by beloved old car, finished up a wonderful therapeutic program for my anxiety issues, and build up my finances better than they have been since the glory days of the 90’s. As other things fell into place, my theme became exploration. I took road trips, I visited places I hadn’t been before, I got involved in subcultures other than the comics ones I have known, and am starting to explore even more. I will be blunt, I do dislike going places alone, but you have to look at places to see where you belong.
So, for 2018, what’s the theme? I have a few. First is to continue to explore. We have a lively classic film society here in the Twin Cities, a wonderful arts community (actual art, not crafts, which is its own thing), and one of the most active theater communities around. I want to start going and doing more. I want to see indy wreslting, art openings, open mike poetry readings, grindhouse film showing and the like. I want to get in my car and see where it takes me and learn everything I can stuff in my head. I also want to create more finished content. I want to put out at least two podcasts a week, get my novels up on Amazon, and bring a notebook with me everywhere I go. Will I do all of it? Probably not, but I will have fun exploring what happens along the way.
Much love to friends old and new, and if you can only do one theme this year, do the one that I have done since 1999: Be kind. Always be kind.