Monday, January 1, 2024

A look ahead to 2024

I've got to tell you, it's getting tougher and tougher to pick my goals for the new year. The problem (and I know it sounds like a first world one) is that I'm actually pretty happy with my life right now.

I eat healthy (not as much fish as I'd like--my wife hates the stuff and so refuses to make it--but I squeeze it in when I can). I meditate regularly, which has greatly reduced my stress levels. I'm getting my writing in every day. And, miracle of miracles, even my doctor is satisfied how much exercise I do.

But a big reason I got to this point is because I set goals for myself in the past. And so, if I want to continue to improve my career, my health, my quality of life, I've got to continue to challenge myself in all of those ways. So here we go:

1) Finish three plays

Of course, I've got to start with a writing goal. And this one is the most important one to keep my career on track (and my royalties growing!).

I'm almost my done with my latest play, a time travel comedy, which I'll tell you more about soon (don't touch that bat dial!). That gives me almost twelve months to finish two more plays.

Normally, it takes me about four months to write a play. Once I get going, that is. But I often struggle with the concept, beat myself up for a month or two while I try to make it work, then abandon it in a fit of boredom before moving on to another play. And that can waste a month or two in itself.

So I think finishing three plays is doable. I leave the next one for my stretch goal.

2) Publish three plays

Of course, the next step after writing a play is getting it published. And as I mentioned yesterday, I've got a head start on this goal because my climate change allegory The Real Reason Dinosaurs Went Extinct should be coming out any day now.

There's also Bringing Down the House, my commissioned play which I finished in October. I can't submit it to my publisher yet, but I will after I see the premiere in March and give it one final polish.

And then there's that time travel comedy, which I'll submit for publication as soon as I finish it. If these last two get accepted for publication, then I'll reach the goal even without counting the new plays I'll be writing. I could be aggressive and set the goal at four, but nah. I'll be very, very happy if these three (or any three) get published.

After all, it'll represent a 300% increase from last year.

3) Travel to Hawaii

I know, I know. I made this a goal last year and failed. But it's going to happen this year, ho'ohiki wau.

We've set the dates. We've lined up a sitter for Honey the Wonder Dog (our ever helpful daughter Brooke). And we'll be booking the hotel soon. All we have to do is a little more noi'i.

Of course, we do have other travel plans for the year. Tammy and I will be traveling with our daughter Ashley to support her at her ultra-marathons in Flagstaff and some rodent-inspired town in southern Utah. And we always try to visit SoCal at least once a year, either San Diego or Palm Springs/

But of course, Hawaii is the one we're most excited for (I'm even starting to learn Hawaiian, can you tell?). We can't let this trip slip away again.

4) Be more present

This is a big one. My mind is usually buzzing with so many things that I often fail to focus on what's right in front of me, whether that's a conversation with my family, a movie, or a particularly tasty dinner.

But if there's one thing I've learned from my meditation app over the last few years, it's this: The present moment is precious. It's sacred. And really, it's the only thing any of us really have. So I really need to work on this.

There's just one problem. When December 31 rolls around, how will I know if I've met this goal? There's no app to count how many minutes I've spent being present. No bathroom scale to measure my focus.

So all I can do, when I come to my year-end wrap-up, is be honest myself whether I truly made an effort to be present and whether I saw any improvements in my life as a result.

And now that I look back, I see that I'd made this a goal for myself just two years ago. I guess I would have remembered that if only I had, you know, focused.

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