A few years ago, I started putting my New Year's resolutions online. I've found that it's been an excellent way to accomplish things as it both makes me really stop to consider what I intend to do, and by making a public declaration (even if nobody is paying attention) it shames me into keeping up with them. I'm not always 100% successful. I didn't actually manage to identify 100 birds, for example, but I came close, and more importantly I largely learned how to identify birds, which was the true goal. The number was arbitrary. And so while I didn't meet the resolution itself, the effort that I undertook was its own reward. So here goes. 2009. Me, new and improved.
1. Complete a marathon
I'd like to do this in less than 3.5 hours. But that's an aspiration more than a goal. What I'm going to accomplish is to run 26.2 miles.
2. Complete a Half-Ironman in less than 5.5 hours
This year, I finished my first half in 5:34. I think I can get it under five and a half hours simply by doing better in the transitions. I took a lot of time transitioning at Vineman, because it was my first time out and I more or less used them as breaks. But one area where I can certainly shave some time this year at Wildflower is my swim. I'm a crummy swimmer. Which leads me to:
3. Swim lessons
I suck at swimming. While I was a strong and frequent swimmer growing up (I even worked as a lifeguard at Boy Scout camp and the YMCA) I was never on a team. And because I was never on a team, I never learned good form. And because I never learned good form, I'm slow. You know the difference between me and Michael Phelps? Too many to count. But the difference between me and the guy who finishes five to ten minutes ahead of me on a 1.5 mile swim? It's not fitness; it's form. I'm going to suck it up and take some swim lessons this Winter, even if they bore the shit out of me.
4. First Elvis
I'm going to be the first person dressed as Elvis to cross the finish line at this year's Bay to Breakers. Hunka, hunka.
1. Three Blog Posts Per Month
What's this doing under professional? One thing I've always said I love about blogging is that as a professional writer, my blog is my freedom. It's the place where I get to say whatever I want, however I want, unfiltered by editors, factcheckers, spellcheckers, or common sense. But it's also a place where I refine story ideas, where I try out new concepts, and organize my thoughts. It's a valuable professional tool. In 2008, I almost quit blogging. It was an accident, I tumbled too much instead. I don't know about you, but I've grown tired of Tumblr. Yeah, it's a meme crucible. But it's also a circle jerk, and it's too focused on hipsterism. I rarely find anything interesting there anymore that isn't actual old school, long form, blogging. I've enjoyed it, but I think I'm just about all done with Tumblr. I'm going to try to put up one post on this site per week, and I may even re-point emptyage.com at this blog again.
2. One Pitch Per Week
Lately I've begun leaning on assignments too much. I used to have a goal to send a pitch out every single day. That was eight years ago, when I was just starting out as a freelancer. It was often the same pitch, rejected in one spot, and sent somewhere else, but I was pitching. Pitching not only helps keep the work rolling in, but it also forces you to stay current and focused on the things you are interested in. I can't send out a pitch a day anymore, but I can and should do at least one a week.
3. Book Proposal
One of the very many good things to come out of my book deal this year was that I scored an amazing agent at an amazing agency. I need to take advantage of that and get a book proposal into her this year.
I drink too much. I'm going to cut back on it this year because I love beer and I love wine and I don't want to have to stop drinking either one. This is kind of a touchy-feely goal, in that I don't have a concrete number or achievement to check off a list. But I'll know it when I see it.
Another touchy-feely one. I have the best relationship of anyone I know. There's a simple reason for that, both Harper and I put the other person's interests ahead of our own. She's the most important thing in my life, and I'm the most important thing in hers. I want to make sure I don't take her for granted, and be a better husband and friend in 2009 than I was in 2008.
3. Go Crazy
Life should be an adventure. You only get one shot at it, so you have to make the most of it. To me, there's nothing better in life than having a wide variety of experiences. It was why I did acid in high school and why I swim from Alcatraz as an adult. I just want to live, live, live. Harper has much the same life philosophy. We had hoped to go to Tanzania in 2009, to climb Kilimanjaro. Yet barring another book deal, that's likely going to be too expensive for us to save up for it in time for this year. But somewhere out there is a stunning adventure with our names on it. I don't know if that's in South America, or Africa, or on the John Muir Trail. But wherever it is, I need to find it.