Happy New Year: Midyear Check-In

At the beginning of 2014, I wrote a short piece on New Year’s Resolutions. I picked 6 goals that I thought were measurable, valuable and attainable and attempted to keep them. Here’s a quick recap of the first half of the year.

  • Journal for 31 consecutive days

I did this in for the entire month of January. As I wrote in my original post, the Art Of Manliness posited this challenge to its readers and actually had a day-by-day writing roadmap. Each day had a new prompt to jog the writing muscle, and it worked great. I wrote my 6-word memoir, picked out a DIY project I wanted to tackle*, picked out my Cabinet of Invisible Counselors, did some free association, figured out what I’d do with loads of money, and determined my current place in the Hero’s Journey. And that was just a week’s worth of journal prompts. It was awesome, and I’ve kept up journaling at least three times a week each week.

  • Listen to a new album for 2 weeks straight, write about it

This is the resolution I’ve probably kept the best. I made a list of 26 albums from before 2013, none of which I’d ever listened to before. It was a mix of R&B, funk, rock, pop, jazz, country, folk, and ranging from the ’50s to the ’00s. I tried my best to keep the variety relatively even, with no one decade or genre being favored. It’s been an absolute pleasure. Sure, there have been a few albums I haven’t fallen in love with, but there have been far more gems I’ve stumbled across. It’s also been a new way to uncover just a few of the infinite connections within pop music.

For example, a few weeks ago I listened to Funkadelic’s Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On. After getting to know the album and really digesting it for two weeks, I randomly started making a playlist of my favorite tunes from the Native Tongues Collective, which caused me to go back through De La Soul’s De La Soul Is Dead. As “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa” began, I realized I had heard the intro phrase directly from a Funkadelic record. This was quickly followed up by the riff from “I’ll Stay,” a tune from the Funkadelic record I had just finished writing about. I had listened to this De La Soul record many times, but had never made this connection before.

If that wasn’t a cool enough connection, that exact same week on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the Red Hot Chili Peppers played a song with The Roots. They played “Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On.” Had they done this two weeks prior, I wouldn’t have had a clue what this song was. And it was so awesome.

  • Read a book every 2 weeks, write about it

I’ve been less consistent with this one. While I started off the year strong, the last month has been so insanely hectic that I haven’t kept up well. I’ll explain why in a minute, but continue as best as I can for the back half of the year.

  • Drink less alcohol

Definitely succeeded in this. Haven’t completely stopped drinking, but having a pregnant wife helps.

  • Complete Insanity again (twice, or once and run a marathon)

It’s a shame that the one physical goal on my list was completely abandoned, but I feel like I have a legit excuse. I actually started Insanity in the beginning of January, and on like the 4th day, I went down to the basement to do the day’s workout, and found about an inch and a half of water on the basement floor. Turns out our neighbor’s irrigation system hadn’t been turned off, and the brutally cold days we had in January caused some pipes to burst between our houses, and the result was water. No joke, it seriously was two full months before we had the entire place cleaned up and back to normal.

So I haven’t completely given up on this goal, although my expectations are a little different.

  • New blog post once a week (average)

Definitely kept up with this one too. Some weeks have been a challenge to come up with something and other weeks I’ve had more than one post with no problem.

So hopefully I can keep these goals up as the year keeps going. The biggest change in our life is that I’m writing this post with a 6-day old baby sleeping on my chest. The last two months has been wall-to-wall getting prepared for our family becoming three. Trips to Babies ‘R’ Us, rearranging nursery furniture, playing go-for for my increasingly pregnant wife, going to prenatal classes at the hospital, etc. My usual lunch breaks where I’ve been able to get an hour of reading in has been replaced with baby-related errands.

So I’m not being overly hard on myself for not completing Insanity twice, or keeping up with the reading. I’ve got high hopes for the back half of the year, like getting back into running (a marathon is a pretty lofty goal, I might scale it back to shorter race) or getting some other books read. If nothing else, I’m absolutely going to keep writing. Aside from that and caring for a newborn, everything else is gravy.

*Homemade ladder ball set, completed two weeks ago with tools and moral support provided by my pal Eli. We’ve since used it and it is an awesome and gorgeous addition to my yard.

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