Every year since 2013 I’ve written a list of 10 things I want to achieve in the upcoming year – it’s turned into an annual ritual where I look back on what I’ve achieved (or not), and also have some time to reflect on the future.
As I get older I’ve become more and more aware that these are things to help motivate me in life. I think back to my early twenties when I dreamt of being an Artistic Director, or late twenties where stand up really entered my life, and I worry that I’ve become directionless.
I think it can take a long time to find your place in the world, and, crucially, feel comfortable in that place. The number of people who I know stick relentlessly to something they don’t like, or that stresses them out it terrifying, but also tempered by the reality that we all face – that what we know is eminently more palatable that what we do not.
This is also, for me, an odd time to write resolutions – I’ve been feeling a bit sad for a while, a combination of tiredness at the world, loneliness and, more recently, constant back pain. The back pain will go I’m sure, and the other two are symptoms of these Covid times, but it reminds me that top of my list should be simply to try to be kind and empathetic – it’s something I’m not always good at, and when I look at the world I don’t see much of it.
Anyway, first off I have to mark my previous year’s resolutions!
- Perform a storytelling show to more than 50 people. DONE (1pt) – I performed my show for three nights and have a 15 date tour in March and April planned. I can’t tell you how proud I am of it, but also how ashamed I am of it. I don’t feel like a creative or a performer, but more like a fraud. I know this is a common feeling, most people I think, particularly in the arts feel it, but it’s a conflict.
- Build raised beds and grow broad beans. Fail – I did lots on our new garden this year, but the vegetable patch and raised beds didn’t quite make the list.
- Plant a tree. DONE (1pt) – I planted an acer, it’s very small but certainly a step. I want to add a pear tree to the garden this year too.
- Create a film short. Almost (1/2 pt) – I struggled to find collaborators and also a decent angle. That said I did record my show and put it online where people watched it. Interesting fact, I can see the location and watch time of everyone who watches it. Which is interesting because the Sheffield based company who said the show wasn’t for them didn’t watch a second of it.
- Write a new show. Fail – I’ve started. There’s something I’ve got going, but not enough to get a point.
- Get a complete stage adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy finished. Fail – I’ve moved on a bit from this. I had a revelation this year that I don’t want to be creatively beholden to anyone or write for other people. So I’m writing for me to perform now.
- Direct a rehearsed reading. Fail – I still fancy giving this a go. I’m not a “how does your character feel” sort of director, I’m pretty prescriptive in a “try a comma there” sort of way – there’s an odd veneration of the former and distain of the latter – neither is right or wrong, it’s the end result that matters. It’s all pretend, how we pretend doesn’t matter, what matters is that people believe it.
- Design artwork for my office. Fail. However I have put up a Lowry print that my grandparents owned, plus hung two guitars so it’s less drab.
- Work my hours more. Done (1pt) – I feel better for this. People should stop feeling guilty about not working overtime.
- Become insanely good at live streaming. Almost (1/2 pt) – I think I’d award myself a half point – I’m not the best cameraman, director, sound person or technician – however, I think I know how they fit together, can articulate possibility and also put the right people in the right place with the right attitude. Am I insanely good at it, no. Can I do it if I needed to to a good standard with cheapo kit, yes.
TOTAL – 4 pts
- Write a new show – I’ve started to write a new storytelling show, it’s about death and remembrance, but also about looking up every so often to see those around us. I’m in it as a character again, and it’ll again combine truth with fiction – I think it could be better that Every Little Hope – it’s less whimsical and romantic, but could be great.
- Perform a new version of Truth – So a bit of history first. Truth was a show that I made that was performed once and had real potential – it was funny, clever and silly. But I got burnt a bit, I did it once to an audience of 22, then the next two times I was due to perform, once no-one turned up and the other time the venue cancelled because, and I quote, “we’ve not moved the tables”. It’s probably more relevant than ever, and could, with a little work, be really good.
- Stop apologising for creativity – You’ll notice from my first two resolutions that I’m a bit, well, confident. I’m going to try and say when I think something is good more. I don’t do it much and it’s counter-intuitive to everything I believe.
- Design some signs for stand up and do a gig – This is an odd idea that I started sketching in my standup notepad (yes I still have one). I’ve not gigged for 2 years, and if I don’t do it in 2022 I probably never will again.
- Grow Broad Beans – I love ’em. They’re easy and satisfying to grow, delicious and, crucially,. when you’d tonnes of them in early autumn, freezable.
- Swim in the sea – I’d like to swim in the sea. I started swimming a few years ago to maintain my ripped physique* and really enjoy it. I saw someone swimming in the sea off Hoylake and thought I’d fancy doing that, maybe in West Wales, where the water is clear.
- Cycle 100 miles in one go – I bought a bike in 2021 and formed a biker gang** – it was a liberating thing, and lots of fun going from coffee shop to coffee shop with an increasingly painful arse. The most I did in a day was around 30 miles.. It’d be good to try and do something epic.
- Visit friends – I’m crap at this. I’d like to see more people who I love. Paul & Fran, Dan, Maya & Ed, Hannah and Rob, Matt & Dom, Mirte, Izzy, Laura (x3), Chris, Brendan & Miriam, Annie, the list is long. Message me, give me dates, let’s meet up, get drunk etc…
- Write & record a song – I wrote a song in 2021 accidentally that was, okay. I think I probably have the ability to write one, good, if whimsical song about love.
- Join a political party – Probably the Lib Dems as everything I believe in matches them. Then again I look great in red. I don’t look good in blue*** so the Tories aren’t for me.
*This is not true, but, aside from a bad back, I’m in better shape than I was in during my 20s. That said, I went out drinking 4 times a week in my twenties so… Yep.
**The best thing said on our bike rides was when Mark Fitz had to stop the ride because “I can’t feel my cock”. He went white, the most deathly, worried I’ve ever seen him. “No wait, it’s back, thank fuck for that” he said, 5 mins later. I laughed lots. And promised to keep that story a secret.
***And am not a cunt.
P.S – If you like this post then do comment below or send me a tweet with your resolutions in them 🙂