Another disaster of a year begins . . .

I hate new years. I hate resolutions. I hate the assumption that just because the calendar changes from one month and one year to the next, the past is wiped clean and anything is possible — well, for about two and a half weeks. And then it’s back to tubs of ice cream and pornography.

While I, like many people, was happy to see the coffin close on 2016, I also entered 2017 feeling fast doses of reality flowing in my veins.

Bad stuff will happen this year. As it happens every year.

People will die this year, too. Beloved celebrities in music and film and sports will pass away all too soon. As will friends and family members we love. I can’t stop thinking how I may very well lose my own dearly loved one this year, and so this supposedly shiny prospect of a new year does not comfort me in the least.

And yet I also recognize the need for hope. Hope at the start of a new year. Hope all year long.

We all need something to hope for, lest reality’s current sweep us away.

Though I despise the notion of “resolutions” that fade after mere weeks, I did take some time recently to plot out my hopes for the year ahead. I won’t share all of them on this blog, but I’ll share most.

Y’all know me. I’m all about getting vulnerable.

Raise $2000/month on Patreon.

This first gargantuan hope is one of the most pivotal to my long-term creative endeavors. It’s currently difficult carving out the time for two blogs, a podcast, YouTube videos, and a never-ending book project about a 9-month road trip when I’m already working 40 hours a week elsewhere.

Reaching this financial plateau would enable me to pool more of my energy into my primary passion: telling stories.

At $2000/month, my fellow conspirators and I can produce more regular weekly podcasts (versus our current monthly output) and also pursue monthly short films, in addition to other wild dreams we’re dreaming up. It’ll also allow me some financial freedom to pursue my own solo projects — namely, that road trip book.

We’re currently raising over $700/month for our efforts, and I’m just blessed by so many people’s belief in me. In us. If you’re interested in supporting me and my conspirators, check out our Patreon for more information. Even $1/month covers the cost of a domain each year; truly, no amount is too small.

My 40+ brothers and I would love to make room for you on board.

Finish my second book.

I’ve dragged this on long enough. It’s time to publish the thing. I’m currently working through a third draft of my #RunningToBook, and while it still needs quite a bit of work, I think I’m closer to the end than I want to admit.

I’m a perfectionist, and that road trip was sheer perfection — and so, naturally, I want the follow-up book to be nothing short of perfect.

But perfect is impossible.

Perfect will never happen.

I’m realizing I’d rather write and publish a timely B+ book than write and edit and write and edit a “perfect” book that never sees the light of day.

Buy a car and pay it off by year’s end.

I hate debt. It’s the worst. It’s one of my least favorite things, right up there with my upstairs neighbors. I already hate being shackled to supposedly “good” things like full-time jobs and cities and people who don’t change, so I absolutely despise the notion of locking myself into a loan.

But sometimes debt and a step backward today is necessary, even vital, for adventure tomorrow.

Last year, my laptop and phone crashed at the same time, and rather than wait and save up for 3-6 months when I could afford both, I went ahead and dove into debt and then spent the next 3-6 months paying it all off. I simply couldn’t go that long without the ability to write and communicate with others, and indeed those 3-6 months of debt proved a worthy investment.

I was debt-free again within 6 months.

I now look at my impending new car the same way.

Yes, I shudder at the thought of diving back into debt again. But I’m determined to save up and work it off and be debt-free once more by 2018, setting myself up for future success and adventures that hopefully span the length of my thirties — so help me, Dave Ramsey.

Run my second half-marathon.

I ran my first half-marathon five years ago and told myself I’d run one every year from then on, eventually graduating to a full-length marathon. And in the five years since that first half-marathon, I’ve run exactly . . . zero half-marathons.

That will change this April when I fly to San Diego for my second half-marathon. It’ll be my first time seeing Lady Pacific since I last saw her on my big road trip, and I’m excited for all the stories I’ll find on that familiar coastline.

My goal for this half-marathon is to finish faster than I did the first time, and that means it’s time to get in shape for the next four months. Bring on the abs.

Blog here every week.

Last year, I realized that if I wait for “inspiration to strike” on this blog, then I simply won’t ever blog. I went weeks and weeks between posts last year — such a contrast from when I was blogging 3, 4, even 6 times a week on this site.

With my increasing commitments with Your Other Brothers, I realize multiple posts per week here is no longer a feasible objective. But I can certainly carve out a couple hours each week for a single post each week.

How I’d love to see 52 new posts planted here by year’s end.

Update my newsletter subscribers every month.

I’ve called The Wanderers’ Way a “monthly newsletter” since its inception three years ago, but I’ve rarely kept to that rhythm. I’d like to do a better job keeping my more faithful followers updated with my current happenings and inner longings.

I enjoy diving a little deeper with my newsletter. It’s like my blog with a periscope attached. If you’re not already subscribed alongside 300+ others, you can join the fold here.

I’ll be updating everyone later this week for my first of 12 newsletters this year!

Keep hope alive.

A few years ago, I embarked on these “One Word 365” campaigns: committing to a single word theme over the course of a year and making all my major (and minor) decisions through the lens of this single word. I’ve drifted away from that in recent years, but I do see the merit in such an outlook.

If I were going to select a single word theme for the year ahead, that word would be hope.

Hope for my finances.

Hope for my writing pursuits.

Hope for my relationships.

Hope for this city.

Hope for this home.

Hope for my thirties.

I turn 30 this year, and I’m admittedly freaked out by this number. I feel as though I should have “arrived” by this time, not still entrenched in the never-ending process of growing up.

I’ve blogged before about feeling five years behind the rest of humanity, and this feels especially prominent as I hit my biggest milestone in just a few months.

I need hope every day that I still have purpose, I still have joy, I still have reason to befriend and be befriended, and I still have dreams that can be realized — even realized sooner than I think.

I want hope to flood my mornings and my afternoons and my evenings. The light of my dawns and the shadows of my dusks.

I want hope to have her way with me this year.

I really don’t want 2017 to be a disaster, though it’s hard to shed my cynicism. But even if more than one or two bad things happen this year — and they will — I want hope to persist and pursue me through every bend and break in the road.

And hopefully, I’ll learn to persist and pursue her, too.

What are some of your hopes and dreams for 2017? Do you have a “One Word 365” for this new year?