I know. I apologize. I’ve had a lot on my mind this year, what with me getting sick this winter twice already and now the missus down, this last week, with a cold bug far worse than either of mine. Plus, you know, the Rams securing their first winning season since The Return of the King. And that whole November novel stuff.
But, fret not, I’m here. December is here. And when December and I get together we like to talk about the year that was and the hope inherent in the year to come.
I’ll get to the year that was in another piece, to save space, but suffice to say that it was insane. And I don’t just mean the clown prince of politics, and his rabid half-wit carnival cast, I mean so much more. I am happy to say that I was successful, personally, in accomplishing the humble list I made for myself for 2017, and we’ll leave it at that, for now.
For 2018, however, I have composed a new list.
So, before you fall off your chair in anticipation, or close this window to peruse something out there more universally appealing (like this riveting 10-hour video of paint drying), let’s begin, with:
Tom’s Very Important Goals for 2018
See a Doctor
I know, exciting right? The Rams make the playoffs, economic inequality is at an all-time high globally, world hunger is still a thing, and America has completely lost its moral leadership in the world, and the first thing on Tom’s very important goals for 2018 is “see a doctor.”
But, wait. There’s more!
No, really there isn’t. I haven’t seen a doctor since the year of the Miracle at the New Meadowlands and, as I’ve probably mentioned once or twice, I’m about to turn 50. Lord knows what’s going on inside the body of Tom, at this point . I’m going to have to ask someone with a hopefully-short finger to find out.
As the old saying goes, “we have nothing if we don’t have our health,” so the first thing on my list is “see a doctor” in 2018.
Finish the Novel
In November, at the urging of a very new and a very old friend, I started writing a book. Because of the rush of adrenaline involved in speed-writing 50,000 words in 27 days, to reach the NaNoWriMo goal, I did it. I wrote 2/3 of a novel in a month. My previous attempts to write a novel were stymied by my own perception of perfection, which had me correcting every word I wrote as I went. Not this time. This time, I just wrote.
I still have work to do. I’ve still got to complete the first draft (at a thankfully slower pace) and then see what I’ve got. I then have to write a 2nd draft. And a 3rd. And so on, until I have what I might consider to be a completed piece of work. How long will that take? Heaven knows. But as fate would have it I caught a fragment of an interview with author Jeffrey Archer on the Michael Smerconish show a couple of weeks back and Jeffrey admitted that he pens “12 or 13” drafts, by hand, before he’s ready for anybody to see it. That’s dedication.
However many revisions it takes Tom, I want to get them done by the end of the year. Then I’ll share it with the world. For what it’s worth, I want to finish the novel in 2018.
Expand the Blog
Similarly in scope to finishing the novel is expanding the blog. I started it in 2016, and spent months and months finding my voice, my stride. Speaking my mind but not feeling my oats, so to speak. That primarily changed in the Summer of ’17, with The Unnamed Tom Being Tom Dot Com June Writing Project. It started as a lark, and then a challenge, to see if I could post daily, whether I felt like it or not, and I did. I posted 31 new posts in 30 days. I don’t know if they were all interesting or polished, but I do know this: writing those posts changed the way I write, the way I think, and the way I personally look at the world on a day-to-day basis. It turned me from a guy who writes into a writer.
Coming off that run, I began to expand my reach. I looked around the universe and found others, out there, writing for pleasure and profit, who are smart and witty and better at this than I am. They inspired me. Befriended me. Enlightened me.
I want more of that.
So, next year, I will get more of that. I will expand the blog, expand my reach, follow more intelligent, thought-provoking, and wonderfully inspirational writers, out there, and let them change me the way only intelligent, thought-provoking, and wonderfully inspirational people can. Tom can be an even better Tom, by expanding the blog in 2018.
A Vacation for two
This year, we had a wedding in Vegas. On our 20-year anniversary, Suzie and I went to the boulevard where it all began and renewed our vows. Dozens joined us. It was, to be quite frank, one of the best times of our lives.
The year before that, we went to a wedding, too. I gave a speech. My cousin, one of the best guys I’ve ever known, got married, and I stood next to him as his best man. It was a part of a week-long celebration, a family reunion, and it was spectacular.
The year before that and the year before that and the year before that, and so on and so on, the missus and I celebrated some spectacular weeks with the most spectacular people, and we wouldn’t change a thing.
But, this year, we need something for us.
Yes, there will be another reunion in June, and we will be there, all week long. Don’t fret, fam. We wouldn’t miss one of those things for the world. I can’t wait. We’ll talk about how President Ryan is doing. 😉
But I want to take another week, this coming year, for just we two. I don’t know where we’ll go, I don’t know what we’ll do, and honestly that doesn’t matter. It only matters that, finally, we’ll get some time away, just her and I. We’ve earned it. Believe you me. So, in 2018, I’d like to get my wife out of town, and away from the world we know, on a vacation for Mrs C and me.
Joy to the World
This year has been a tough one. The changes in this country, the insanity that has crept into the mind of America, has brought me down. Even though I knew it was possible, I was never really prepared. How can you be? When you’re an uplifted, positive person, wanting what’s best for the world, a setback as devastating as Donald Trump can be eviscerating. And it has been every bit as bad, or worse, than was feared.
But a friend, who agrees with me, turned to me the other day and said to me, “you’ve got to get this out of your head a bit, Tom; you look tired.”
I am. I am tired.
That doesn’t mean I will stop fighting. That doesn’t mean I’ll give it a pass. Expect more of the same, as long as true evil holds the reins of power. But I need to stop internalizing it. I need to stop letting it get to me. I was a prisoner of hate, some days, in 2017, and that’s not what Tom is about.
Tom is about joy.
So, one of my strongest vows, this holiday season, is to bring back the joy. The light-heartedness. The sleeping at night.
A wise old saying goes something like this: change the things you can, accept the things you can’t… and know the fucking difference. I know the fucking difference. And the only one that I can change, is Tom.
So, one thing I want to do more, in 2018, is bring back joy to the world, of Tom.
But, don’t push it, trolls. You bite me, I bite back. Joyfully.
Very quickly, the 6th thing I’d like to do in 2018 is save more money. I’ve done a fair job of this over the last couple of years, but I ran the numbers on my retirement a couple of weeks ago and I’m happy to say I’m on course. I’ll be able to retire in 2060, at the age of 92.
Luckily, thanks to the nanites, 90 will be the new 60 by then.
So, I have four more decades, the way I look at it, to enjoy my 50s.
But only if I see a doctor, first.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my annual update this December, and I hope you’ve taken the time to reflect on the year that was, for yourself, and the year that is to come. What do you hope to accomplish in 2018? Can you name anything you’d like to remember, or leave behind? What would you like to see from President Paul Ryan, next year? 😎
Thank you again for being a part of all this. Have a Merry Christmas. A Happy Hanukah. A Spectacular Kwanzaa. A Beautiful Bodhi. A Wonderful Winter Solstice. A Happy New Year.
And be good to each other. Every day.