1. Don’t die.
No near-death experiences in May. Also no death.
As always, I plan on living forever or die trying.
2. Lose 20 pounds.
I lost another 8 pounds in May, bringing my total weight loss to 32 pounds in 2023.
I won’t declare victory until I get through the year with sustained weight loss, but at the moment, the goal, as well as my revised goal of 30 pounds, has been achieved.
Now that I’ve hit my new goal, I’m setting my sights on another 10 pounds, which would bring my total weight loss to 40 pounds. This might be difficult but not impossible.
I really need some new pants.
3. Do at least 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, and three one-minute planks five days a week.
Only missed two days in May.
One of my students caught me doing push-ups at lunch last week, which was weird.
4. Cycle for at least five days every week.
Done. I cycled every day but two in the month of May. I couldn’t find time to cycle on a travel day from Connecticut to New Jersey, and I couldn’t find time on a day when I left work for NYC for a Moth StorySLAM.
I also rode the bike (stationary and actual bike) two or more times on a single day for 12 days in May.
I’m now looking into a stationary rower. I found one that I love, but it’s the space in our home that is lacking. Not sure how to solve that problem.
5. Improve my golfing handicap by two strokes.
My handicap at the start of the year was 17.6.
I played six rounds of golf in May and increased my handicap from 16.2 to 17.0.
6. Complete my eighth novel.
The book is about half complete, but I haven’t made any progress in 2023 as I focus on my nonfiction first.
7. Write my next Storyworthy book.
Work continues. Five chapters were completed in May. Due September 1.
8. Write/complete at least three new picture books, including one with a female, non-white protagonist.
My agent has my beaver-related picture book for review.
I’ve also started two new ideas. Short, incomplete, and very much in the rough draft stage.
9. Write a new solo show.
“Writing” is being completed in earnest. I put the word “writing” in parentheses because I don’t actually write anything that I perform onstage. I speak it aloud, crafting and revising orally, holding it in my mind, and eventually, I’ll make a recording that I can then listen to, evaluate, and revise.
I may eventually use text-to-speech to create a document that can be used for lighting cues, but for now, everything is worked on aloud and stored in my brain, as is my process for everything I’ve ever spoken onstage.
But still… it’s coming along. I’ve got a solid 20-30 minutes so far.
10. Perform a new solo show.
July 30 and 31. TheaterWorks in Hartford, CT. Get your tickets here.
11. Write a musical.
My friend Kaia and I are writing a musical that we will also perform, even though I cannot sing. She writes the music and lyrics. She and I write the story.
I need to write some of the story in order for Kaia to begin writing music. I haven’t done that yet because we are currently immersed in the solo show, but once it’s done, I’m hoping to turn my focus on this next staged project.
12. Submit at least five Op-Ed pieces to The New York Times for consideration.
13. Write at least four letters to my father.
I wrote a birthday note to my father in March.
One letter has been sent in 2023 so far.
14. Write 100 letters in 2022.
Another 12 letters were sent in May, bringing the total number to 79.
Recipients included students, the parents of students, colleagues, and friends. I also wrote a letter for someone in May, which is a first.
15. Convert 365 Days of Elysha into a book.
No progress. There is probably a company that does this sort of thing.
16. Read at least 12 books.
I read “This Will All Be Over Soon” by Cecily Strong and “Magic Words” by Jonah Berger
I’m in the middle of reading the following books:
“The Science of Storytelling” by William Storr
“Out of the Corner” by Jennifer Grey
“Tough Sh*t” by Kevin Smith
“From Saturday Night to Sunday Night” by Dick Ebersol
“Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty
“The Groucho Letters”
Six books read so far in 2023.
“Sapiens” by Yuval Harari
“Life’s a Gamble” by Mike Sexton
“The Sea We Swim In” by Frank Rose
“Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah
This Will All Be Over Soon” by Cecily Strong
“Magic Words” by Jonah Berger
I read two more of the 100 books in May.
A total of 15 so far.
I’ve read many of the other books on the list in the past, but I am only counting those books that I have read in 2023 toward my goal.
18. Write to at least six authors about a book I love.
19. Complete the re-recording of Storyworthy For Business.
“Storyworthy” for Business is complete and available for purchase. Find it and much more at storyworthymd.com.
I want to produce a much-improved version of the course ASAP. Module 1 is now re-recorded. Module 2 (and many other things) is currently being recorded. It will take a while, but the results, I believe, will be extraordinary.
20. Record the next Storyworthy course.
Two brand-new courses have been added to the Storyworthy platform:
I’m exceptionally proud of both. You should check them out.
My brand new humor course will be available in less than a month. Editing is complete. Building has commenced.
21. Produce a total of six Speak Up storytelling events in 2023
We produced two shows in 2023 so far:
- April 22 at the Connecticut Historical Society
- May 4 in partnership with Voices of Hope
We also have shows scheduled in the summer and fall that we will be announcing shortly.
22. Pitch myself to at least three upcoming TEDx events with the hopes of being accepted by one.
I spoke at a TEDx event at the University of Connecticut in January. It went well despite a malfunctioning clicker that sometimes advanced two slides instead of one.
You can’t imagine how annoyed this made me.
Also, due to the delay in posting a TEDx Talk from more than a year ago, my University of Connecticut talk will not be loaded onto the TED platform for reasons I don’t quite understand.
I also spoke at a TEDx event in Natick, MA on April 13. It went quite well.
I pitched myself to TEDx events in Harlem, Roxbury, and on the campus of Yale University. Harlem has declined. I await word from the two others.
23. Attend at least eight Moth events with the intention of telling a story.
I attended two StorySLAMs and a GrandSLAM in May.
I told a story in Boston and finished in second place. My name remained stubbornly in the hat in NYC.
A total of seven Moth shows altogether in 2023 thus far.
24. Win at least one Moth StorySLAM.
Done. I won the Moth StorySLAM in Boston on March 29.
25. Win a Moth GrandSLAM.
I competed in a Moth GrandSLAM in Boston in May and did not win. I also had to go first, which is not exactly fun or conducive to winning.
I was invited to compete in the Seattle GrandSLAM in March, but traveling cross country was not possible at that time.
I await invitations from producers in New York, Washington DC, and Boston again (where I have won StorySLAMs in the past year) when my turn comes up.
26. Produce at least 24 episodes of our podcast Speak Up Storytelling.
27. Perform stand-up at least six times in 2022.
28. Pitch three stories to This American Life.
29. Pitch myself to Marc Maron’s WTF podcast at least three times.
30. Send a newsletter to readers at least 50 times.
Four newsletters were sent in May. Two were my bi-weekly storytelling strategies newsletters. The other two were Speak Up show and workshop updates.
A total of 35 newsletters have been sent thus far in 2023.
31. Clear the basement.
Incremental progress was made in May. I throw away one thing every time I exit the basement.
32. Clean and clear the garage.
A much-needed dumpster (or perhaps a neighbor’s tag sale) will be key to completing this task, but it’s looking pretty good. There are large items that need to be discarded, and a pile of school supplies needs to be eliminated, but otherwise, it’s nearly done.
33. Furnish and decorate the studio.
34. Eliminate clothing not being worn and closet bins.
Just two bins left to go through with Elysha.
In May, I eliminated all pants and shirts that no longer fit. The closet itself is complete. Only those two bins remain.
35. Text or call my brother or sister once per month.
Failed to achieve this goal in May.
36. Take at least one photo of my children every day.
37. Take at least one photo with Elysha and me each week.
Two photos of just Elysha and me together in May. Lots of photos of the four of us together, but only two of just us.
38. Plan a reunion of the Heavy Metal Playhouse.
39. I will not comment – positively or negatively – about the physical appearance of any person save my wife and children in order to reduce the focus on physical appearance in our culture overall.
40. Surprise Elysha at least six times in 2023.
I surprised Elysha three times in May.
Another Pusheen Mystery Box arrived for her in May.
I also delivered another round of desserts for her to share with colleagues.
Since we were originally slated to be driving home from New Jersey on Mother’s Day, I surprised Elysha with a Mother’s Day gift consisting of three great night outs to replace the lost day, including tickets to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me at Tanglewood, Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler in Springfield, and Jenny Lewis in New Haven.
We ended up driving home the night before, but it still made for a great gift.
Surprises this year have included:
- Half a dozen birthday cards, all handmade, scattered throughout her life on her birthday
- Tickets to the upcoming Lizzo concert
- A Pusheen Mystery Box
- Goodie bag of Trader Joe’s delights
- Coat from Canyon Ranch
- Visit from Kathy
- Surprise dessert delivered personally to her school
- Another surprise surprise dessert delivered personally to her school
- Another Pusheen Mystery Box
- Tickets to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Tina Fey/Amy Poehler, and Jenny Lewis
Ten surprises so far in 2023.
41. Play poker at least six times in 2023.
42. Spend at least six days with my best friend of more than 30 years.
No progress. Attempts were made but ultimately failed.
43. Memorize the lyrics to at least five favorite songs.
I’m still working on Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” and “Renegade” by Styx (with Charlie). Admittedly, there wasn’t much work done in May.
44. Learn to play the piano by practicing at least three times a week.
45. Learn the names of every employee who works at my school.
Progress! I learned the name of two paraprofessionals including one who will be working in my class next year.
46. Convert our wedding video to a transferable format.
Done! The wedding video, along with a great deal of other content, was successfully extracted from my ancient Apple laptop. The footage was not removed in perfect order, so some work will need to be done to reassemble the parts of the video, but at last, this goal has been completed.
47. Memorize five new poems.
48. Write to at least three colleges about why they should hire me.
I have begun writing the letter, though I’m starting to wonder if I would still want the job.
49. Complete my Eagle Scout project.
I’ve reached out to the folks who manage the cemeteries in Newington for assistance on this project in March.
I need to try again.
50. Post my progress regarding these resolutions on this blog and social media on the first day of every month.