19 for 2019

Inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s 18 for 2018 (and 19 for 2019), I have put together my list of 19 things I want to get done in 2019. I’m doing this in lieu of resolutions, which tend to be more vague and less actionable. What’s on your 19 for 2019? Here are mine:

1. Teach Georgie a new trick.

My pet Senegal parrot can fly to me when I call her (when we’re doing that, anyway), roll over (though she holds on to her cage top with one foot), wave, and fetch a ball and drop it in a bowl. On January 7th, she’ll turn 11 years old, and I think it’s important for all 11-year-olds to learn something new. (Also, she hates the traffic outside our new place and could use a distraction.)

2. See Angelica.

My best-friend-forever Angelica lives in LA. I saw her twice in 2017 (in Japan when she lived there, and in LA after she moved), and once in 2018 (in Eugene for our friend’s wedding). Since it takes some effort to see each other, it’s important for this to be something I’m keeping track of.

3. Go to a dentist.

My crappy insurance only covers crappy dentists. When I was in Eugene, I tried for a while to schedule a cleaning but my dentist’s phone number was apparently disconnected. I considered going in person, but the building always looked abandoned and I had no easy way to confirm their hours. And anyway, my last appointment had to be scheduled half a year in advance, and I didn’t know whether I’d be in town. Result: I haven’t been to a dentist in at least a couple years. This problem needs to be rectified (even though I got a Quip for Christmas).

4. Finish first draft of book.

I started writing a YA novel in 2018. I intended to finish it in 13 weeks, but instead I wrote half of it in ~5 weeks, made a new record, moved to Portland, and took the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.

Now I’ve started a new 13-week Best Self journal, and one of my goals is to finish my Bad First Draft of this book in that time.

5. Go to a writers’ group.

Accountability isn’t really something I struggle with, but I know I could benefit from interacting with other writers, sharing my work, and getting feedback (while also giving feedback on other people’s work, of course). If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Happier in Hollywood, it’s the importance of writers’ groups.

6. Plan a birding trip with Becky.

Now that I live in Portland, I need to make a concentrated effort to see my Eugene friends. I also need to make a concentrated effort to spend time in nature. In Eugene, I racked up a yard list of something like 80 species. Here, I’ve gotten five or six so far, with weeks in between new additions. So, with this goal, I’ll be able to see two birds with one binocular, so to speak

7. Go birding with my mom.

Shortly before I moved to Portland, my mom expressed a strong interest in birding. She even ordered a Sibley guide. I was thrilled and promised we’d go birding, then promptly left forever. Planning to do some birding with my mom would be a good way to get me down to Eugene, and get us to enjoy some quality time out of the house.

8. Go back to Japan.

My first Japan tour was in 2017. My second Japan tour was in 2018. My third Japan tour is in 2019. When? I don’t know yet. But 2019 for sure.

9. Find a new favorite board game.

Because Adam and I have incompatible approaches to Bananagrams. Because Iota can be a lot of work. Because Settlers of Catan has gotten kind of old. Because no one ever wants to play Guts of Glory with me. Because no one ever wants to play Machi Koro with me.

10. Dress for success.

Adam told me about this great book — The Curated Closet — and we both want to use it to curate our closets. Or our shared closet. Note: he didn’t actually read the book, he just listened to the episode of By the Book where they followed The Curated Closet’s teachings for a month. (I might do the same thing.)

11. Read a book in Russian.

I want to do something to maintain my Russian. Reading a book in Russian would be a decent way to do that. (I know I need to practice speaking, too. Also writing. And listening. But I’m going to focus on reading a book.)

12. Go to a Japanese language circle.

When I return to Japan, I want everyone I met on the first two tours to be blown away by how much I’ve improved. I can’t do that just by learning thousands of kanji on WaniKani.

13. Change my Facebook page photos four times.

Last year I changed my Facebook page’s cover photo one time. From February 2nd all the way to December 31st, my Facebook page said “New EP coming Feburary 9th”. This is not good.

14. Brush up on French.

My niefling Alex goes to a French immersion school, and I’m starting to feel incompétent next to them. I want the words to come to me a little more easily, like they do for a too-smart-for-their-own-good nine-year-old.

15. Write a monthly newsletter.

Milo Fultz, who played bass for me on A Troubled Piece of Fruit and Look at the Harlequins!, sends out a monthly email newsletter where he talks about what he’s been up to, what he’s been listening to, what’s next for him. I always love reading them, and they always make me feel envious of his newsletter-sending consistency and all the cool things he does. Since my one-word theme for the year is Enviable (or, alternately, Nemesis-worthy), it follows that I need to embrace this practice.

16. Make a vlog.

Every time I see my niece Genevieve, she screams at me, “When are you making a vlog?!” The answer: 2019. It’s on my 19 for 2019, so I’ve gotta.

17. Plan two family get-togethers.

Even when I lived in Eugene, I didn’t see my family as often as I’d like to. Now that it’ll take more work to make it happen, I want to maximize the experience at least twice this year by planning family get-togethers. In theory, this will bring a lot of family together at one time. This is something that happened more often when I was a kid — maybe because there were more grandparents around — but it’s sort of fallen by the wayside in recent years. (To be clear, I intend to see my family more than twice. I just want to make sure we get everybody together a couple times.)

18. Get a stamp made.

In Japan, there are souvenir stamps everywhere: in train stations, at highway rest stops, at nature preserves. I’m a little obsessed with finding them and stamping them in a nice notebook throughout each trip to Japan.

I want to get my own stamp designed and have it at my merch table (along with some small sheets of paper for folks who don’t happen to have a notebook on them) so people can get a fun, free souvenir at my shows. I especially want this for my next Japan tour, but I think it’ll go over well in the US and other countries as well.

19. Have (new) friends over.

As I mentioned several times, I just moved to Portland. I have various goals (on this list and elsewhere) that involve meeting new people, and inviting someone over (for dinner or just to hang out) is a great way to strengthen a new relationship. I also want to get to build friendships with acquaintances I now live closer to, and maintain older friendships.

I’m not sure yet if I’ll give progress reports throughout the year or just an overview at the end. It might depend on how successful I am at knocking them out. We’ll see!

For now, I’m focused on my new record, Look at the Harlequins!, which will be released on January 11th. There’s a ton to do to get ready for the release itself as well as the release shows… so I’m going to get back to that!

Happy 2019!