I really thought I started to type up this post already, but I suppose I might be confusing that with the “Giving Thanks” post from Thanksgiving. And then I looked back to see if I did a year-in-review post in 2010, but nope, doesn’t look like it. So … I guess I’m working from scratch here.
My good frenemy James Reza posted something on Facebook the other day to the effect of “there are five days left in 2011, make the most of them.” Good advice. But do enough of us take that advice to its next logical step, making the most of EVERY day, EVERY year? It’s hard to do so, I know. I mean, how many people would define “making the most” as waking up, going to work, coming home, eating dinner, putting your kids to bed, and passing out watching Jimmy Fallon. Yet, some variation of this ritual is what most of us consider “a day” in our adult lives.
So how do you “make the most” of the mundane? One might suggest by putting your all into these things: Waking up to a hearty breakfast or invigorating jog; putting 110 percent into that PowerPoint presentation; having a tea party with your daughter after work; surprising your lover with an unexpected gift. Others might have a different standard for “making the most” of your day. They might have more superheroic ideals: Climbing a mountain; feeding the homeless; getting in bar fights; making meaningful art; running for public office.
Me, I fall squarely in the middle. In between doing what needs to be done to maintain my health, pay my bills and take care of those around me, I’m always striving to do more, to make an impact, in some way, in any way. Often, Sara asks me what I’m working on, or what I have to “do.” And she knows, almost without fail, that answer will be “stuff.” What stuff? Just “stuff.” Comics. Music. Art. Screenplays. Novels. Websites. Blogs. Videos. Whatever is currently (barely) satiating that weird, burning inside of me that makes me feel guilty when I’m not “producing,” that makes me antsy during holidays and terrible company on vacations.
However, sometimes I wonder where all this “stuff” gets me. I wonder what it contributes to the world. I wonder how it’s bettering society, myself or those around me. And so, here at the dusk of another Gregorian calendar year, I’m looking back over the last 12 months, assessing where I’ve been and deciding where to go. 2011 went by so quickly (don’t they all?), I honestly can hardly believe how long ago some of its events happened.
This year, I published a few comics. My band finally finished recording and released a full-length CD. I got paid to do more illustration, but did less (journalistic) writing. I started a new blog or two. I curated my first – and second – gallery exhibits. I created more crappy art for group and solo art shows. I made the transition back to playing guitar, even as I jammed on drums with more people. I traveled. I ran my first 5k. I kept running. I lost weight. I drank too much. I donated to charity. I gave up on politics. I adjusted (improved?) my diet. I attempted to become a street fighter (and failed). I made a short film. I helped launch a podcast.
That was 2011. What will 2012 look like? I have two screenplays to finish. I have one graphic novel in development. I have a new comic series that’s almost ready to pitch. As Yet Unbroken has a new drummer, and we have a new CD to support. I have to make some big decisions about my involvement in a lot of things. But no matter what, I’ll be doing “stuff.” The question is, will it be stuff that matters, or just more white noise thrust upon the world?
Check back with me this time next year. Happy new year.