New Year’s Resolutions

2018-01-01 – Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again. But before I make any resolutions for 2018, how did I do in 2017? I completed four major goals of my own making and one that I accepted reluctantly.

The reluctant goal was to become more politically active. Reluctant because it was brought on by the election of Donald Trump. I didn’t vote for him, but it fell on me and others like me to make our voices heard. I marched and I called and I blogged and I tweeted, but mostly I wrote lots and lots of letters. I’m “buddies” with my members of Congress now. This obligation was thrust upon me, but I did okay with it. I could do more and that will be my goal for 2018.

My athletic goal for the year was to ride 2,000 miles on my bicycle. I finished the year with 2,083 miles. Last year at this time, I was hoping to ride across Iowa (RAGBRAI), but the hope was already dimming because my riding partners had disappeared and I was leery about the logistics of riding with tens of thousands of other riders. So I settled on 2,000 miles as my goal and I did it. I had to really work toward the end of the riding season but, in the end, I finished a couple weeks earlier than I thought I would. A big help in the last couple of weeks was my discovery of the Evanston Bicycle Club. Before that, all my rides were solo. I did three rides with the club in October and plan to start again in the Spring. For next year, I’m aiming at 2,500 miles. And I hope to ride in the North Shore Century, 100 miles in a single ride. My best single ride this year was 60 miles.

My professional goal for the year was to reactivate my law license. As a writer, I am not required to be an active attorney, so I skipped the annual dues and continuing education requirement (even though I’ve been writing continuing education on legal topics throughout the years). Kit has always thought I should be active and the political situation in the country finally convinced me to become active again. This required me to take a large number of continuing legal education courses and pay some fees. As the year has drawn to a close I finished the courses and all that’s left is a bunch of paperwork. By early 2018, I will be fully reinstated. This is not intended to be an advertisement. I’m not hanging out a shingle at this point. But I expect to be looking for some volunteer work. I’ve already gotten some volunteer suggestions either in immigration or housing law. Not sure which direction I will go . . . or which of these will even take me. And for 2018 I am considering completing the requirements for a CFP®. I have some parallel financial planning designations already, and with my law license reinstated, I should be able to complete the CFP® fairly quickly.

My music goal for the year was to be able to play 6 songs on the guitar from memory. This was a huge goal for me. For the last 40 years my rule of thumb has been that I could only hold 5 songs in my brain at a time. If I wanted to learn a 6th song, I would have to forget one of the five. But I’ve been in a group guitar class for the past year and I’ve actually gotten the number up to 6.5! This is already slipping away. If I try hard, though, maybe I can get it up to 7 in 2018.

My writing goal for the year was to complete the musical theater adaptation of my novel Cain’s Mother-in-Law. And I do have a first draft script. The CMIL project has been a long-, long-term project. My adaptation was based on my 10th draft of the novel. I had two goals in mind with the musical adaptation. The first was to use the process to explore my story to learn things that I could bring back to an 11th (and hopefully final) draft. The second was to see if I could get a production of the musical. I’m stalled on the musical because I haven’t yet found a composer to write the music. This week I’ve been spending a lot of time analyzing how the 10th draft of the novel differs from the musical script to figure what I need to do to write my 11th draft. So, even though I did achieve my goal of completing a script, this is still a work-in-progress.r

(Before I leave past goals, I want to mention that, as of this year, both my sons are college graduates. It’s not really my goal, but I’m happy that they did so well.)

Overall, it’s been a good year. But it doesn’t stop. Each one of the past year’s goals rolls over into a new goal for 2018: more political work, hopefully leading to some victories in the 2018 election; more miles on my bike and maybe a distance goal for my off-season swimming; finding a new volunteer gig where I can apply my professional knowledge, and getting my CFP®; inching my guitar memory up to 7 songs; and finally completing my novel and getting it published and finding a musician who would want to be my partner on the musical. And let me add one more: marketing of the type of writing I do for this blog.

* * *

A few more words about the past year that aren’t really resolutions, but are worth remembering:

Nat graduated college this year. Congratulations Nat. You worked hard. Cal graduated the previous year, so I now have two college graduate sons. Nat’s looking to work in medical research for a year or two and then go to med school. Cal is bar tending and working on his music. His band Lovejoy toured around 20 cities from Austin to Boston last July. We have both of them living with us again. And we had a great holiday season this year with them and their girlfriends.

Kit and I had a great road trip this summer to Eureka, MT where her brothers have homes (one lives there full time, one vacations there). The highlight of the trip was our stop in Riverton, WY to see a total solar eclipse and meet some new friends. I also tested out the idea of working while on the road. (I’m a remote employee anyway, so it should matter if I’m in Chicago or Eureka. The test worked out great.) The only downside of the trip was the forest fires. We weren’t threatened by the fire, but we were close and it was very smoky. We had to drive 800 miles to completely get out of the smoke.

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