Sunday, January 1, 2023

A look ahead to 2023

It's been tough coming up with goals this year. I guess it's because I'm pretty happy with my life. Or maybe it's because the parts I'm not happy with I don't really see a way out of.😄

Of course, I want to focus on my writing. But after two years of being stuck in the house, I'm ready to stretch my wings and fly. Or something. So I'm limiting myself to just one writing-related goal this year and trying to think outside the box to come up with things that will expand my figurative (and hopefully literal) horizons.

1) Publish four new plays

I can't count on beating or even matching my record of five new plays published last year. And besides, I'd be really happy with four. So that will be my first goal.

I'd like to become a better writer as well. Over the last few years, I've moved away from the smart alecky, zinger-type humor of Million Dollar Meatballs toward the more heartwarming, character-based humor of Whole Latte Love and It Happened on Route 66. And I'd like to continue down that path. But it's hard to quantify. So let me jus keep that as an informal goal.

2) Hit 10K Steps Every Day

As I've previously mentioned, I started working out on an elliptical half an hour a day at the start of COVID. What else was I going to do with the extra time not needing to commute to work?

Well, now that I'm back at the office, I'm glad to say I still manage to carve out time every day to run or ellip or whatever you call what you do on an elliptical (besides sweat).

Now it's time to step it up. And no, I'm not getting a stair climber (pun very much intended). Instead, I'm going to walk more. And the Google Watch my wife got me for Christmas is going to help me keep track.

Already, that 250 step per hour goal that came as a default with the watch has worked wonders to get rid of the leg stiffness that's the bane of my very sedentary day job (my sedentary night job too). But it's impossible to hit that goal every day, what with hour-long meetings and movies and church. So I'll aim for something I believe I can hit: that magical 10,000 steps per day.

3) Work with an Online Italian Tutor

The other daily practice I picked up during COVID was studying Italian. I started with Duolingo, which I've found to be much more useful than a lot of critics have claimed (for one, choose typing over those all-too-easy word tiles).

But it helps to have other sources of learning. For me, that has been Coffee Break Italian, a podcast in which the ever entertaining Mark and Francesca explain all those grammar rules that the green owl leaves out out and which allows me to hear la bella lingua spoken by a native rather than a creepy assortment of computerized voices.

What I haven't done is converse with a real live person. But I've discovered that Instagram is teeming with Italian teachers charging reasonable fees for personalized courses, most of which include the opportunity to chat in a friendly, non-judgy environment. All I need is il coraggio to sign up and--gulp!-- really talk. This is the year to go for it.

4) Travel to Hawaii

One of the biggest regrets in my life has been the lack of traveling I've done. I took a couple of work trips to Singapore earlier in my career and I've traveled fairly extensive around the United States. But I've never been to Mexico or Europe or Africa or any of a hundred other places you could name. There just never seemed to be enough time or money.

But COVID wakened something inside me. A wanderlust perhaps. Or maybe just the desire to get out of the house. Like way far out of the house.

My wife's and my first pick? Hawaii. We've never been there either, but my daughter has. Just last year, in fact. And she loved it (even if she did skip the must-see Pearl Harbor Memorial).

Palm trees. Beaches. Volcanoes. What's not to love?

Italy next year. But this year, it's got to be the Aloha State.

Can anyone recommend a good resort?