I turned 33 this week.
33 is my favorite number, so this is destined to be a good year. (It was my basketball jersey number when I was younger…I was a big fan of Larry Bird.)
I spent my birthday doing a show in Tennessee. I woke up at 3am to catch a flight, drove through the mountains to get to Chattanooga and worked from 4pm-1am. It was a pretty typical work day and that’s okay. Some of my favorite birthdays as an adult have just been typical days performing or being at home.
Every time I see an “it’s my birthday” blog post online it seems that people list out all of their huge career accomplishments from the previous year and goals for the year ahead. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of that before myself…but I’m approaching this year differently.
This past year I’ve made some big changes in my life. I stopped using my phone as much, limited my social media use, and prioritized myself. I’ve been doing more of what I enjoy - running, writing, reading, filmmaking - and it’s really improved my daily outlook.
Instead of worrying about my professional goals for the year ahead I’m going to keep putting myself first. Sure, I still have big ambitions for my show and career, but those are mostly out of my control. I need to be content with where I end up, whether I fully achieve those goals or not.
My personal goals are another story. So, while I’m 33 I plan on focusing on me, including the following:
HEALTH: This year I’ve lost 25 pounds just by committing to healthy eating and going to the gym. I’m lucky to be tall and carry my weight well, so you probably couldn’t even tell I’d gotten a little overweight. But I was.
After I fractured my ankle and broke a toe in the same week last summer I was unable to do any physical activity. So, I hibernated last winter and ate whatever I wanted. But, once the sun came out in the spring I got my head on straight and went back to running. I set my sights on a half marathon and spent all summer training. I ran a myriad of races - 5Ks, 10Ks, 10 milers - to keep myself motivated. I haven’t missed a run all year. And last Sunday I finished my first half marathon - 5 minutes under my goal pace. I was PUMPED.
Over the next year I plan on logging more miles and running even more races. I want to run a couple more half marathons next year and maybe even attempt a triathlon. I’m fortunate that I recovered from my injuries and feel stronger than ever. And now I plan on getting in the best shape of my life.
CREATIVITY: I want to write a book. And a screenplay. And a TV series and a stage play and a children’s story. I want to make short films and start a podcast. I want to give stand-up comedy a shot. Anytime I think up an idea I want to turn it into a reality.
I’m working on transforming my home office into a creative paradise. I’m removing distractions like the Internet, social media, Netflix, my phone, television, etc. from the space and only having creative tools within arm’s reach. There’s a computer for editing video, my typewriter for writing, microphones for podcast, my books for research, and my props for rehearsal. I have everything I need.
The final step is to focus on what matters most. I’m going to have to say “NO” to friends and family that want my time. I’m going to turn down work that I don’t want to do so I can focus on the work I want to be doing. I want to reengineer my life so I can do as much “deep work” as possible.
LEARNING: I’ve spent so much time the past decade searching for work and traveling to gigs that for a while I stopped learning new things. I was too exhausted to read or study, so I’d binge a Netflix show instead or scroll Twitter instead. Enough is enough.
Now that I’m a little more established, I can actually step away from work sometimes and do other things. And this year, I’ve been trying to educate myself more. I’ve been working on video editing, studying the courses on Masterclass, and reading like crazy. There’s nothing better.
My goal for the next year is to learn more. I used to be able to juggle 5 balls but I can’t any more. So I’m going to teach myself all over again. I’m working on some new video projects so I can practice my FCPX skills. I’ve been getting better at chess and think I might join the club here in the city. And, of course, I plan on reading even more.
Next year I hope to read 66 books. That’s 33 non-fiction and 33 fiction. I have a list of some must-reads already, but I’d love your recommendations. Comment below or drop me a line here.
TRAVEL: My final endeavor while I’m 33 is to see more of the world. I went to a ton of amazing places last year but they were all for work. This year I want to do more personal trips. Either I’ll extend work trips into a personal visit or I’ll take a few days off every few months so I can see new places.
I want to take three main trips, which I just randomly chose right now. A road trip around Lake Michigan, Sequioa National Park, and somewhere in the Caribbean. I want them all to be getaways so I have some time away from work to read, unplug, and relax. (Stephanie, if you’re reading this…you’re invited, too.)
So that’s it. Those are my hopes for the next twelve months. For now, I’m happy to be alive, healthy, and inspired.
It’s going to be a good year.
Here’s a fun video from a recent show in Chicago: