2020: There but for the grace of God, go I.

Barring something unexpected in the next 10 or so hours, we’ve managed to make it through another year. And a decade I suppose, although the mathematician in me thinks the next decade technically starts on 1/1 of 2021.

Feel free to join me in telling mathematics to stop pooping the party.

I’ve always had fun with New Year’s Resolutions, and I’ll have a few for 2020 (more on that later). What often lands somewhere between, “Well, I tried” in March, and, “Wow, I actually did that,” is going more official now.

I know you’ve all been waiting and wondering, so here goes: Dave’s 2019 New Year’s Resolutions (a.k.a. Dave’s Big Book of Mild-to-moderate Failure).

Resolution 1: More -- and shorter -- blog posts. FAIL! (haha)

Real Resolution 1: Physical Activity

I aimed for 365 miles of running. Remember that I actually detest running 90% of the time? I managed 258.89 miles for the year which sounds like a failure, but was actually 3rd Best on my 2019 Successes list. Oof.

I also aimed to strength train (lift weights) 52 times. This is called “aiming low,” since I did 67 sessions. Here lies my Top 2019 Success! About 120% of target.

Finally, the bike. I targeted 750 miles. If you count indoor miles, I hit right about 500. (fog horn and audience “Ooooooh” playing here.

All in all, 2019 was as much realizing my goals were just unrealistic as it was a success or failure. I feel OK. I’m in the gym most days and I don’t look like a whale, so I’ll call it good.

Resolution 2: Visit one new state. Check!

On the way back from bringing Jack to California, I swung up and spent some time in southeast Oregon. Taking the back roads, I saw some incredible scenery that I think few people have ever experienced. I hope to explore the area more in the coming years – absolutely stunning and I know I only scratched the surface.

For those scoring at home, that takes me up to 46 states visited. I have never set foot in Alaska, Hawaii, Washington and, of all places, Vermont which I have totally circled but never entered.

Resolution 3: Photograph one uncommon animal

Knowing I would be starting 2019 with eye surgery to correct a problem that limited my photography the last couple years, the goal here was to motivate me to heal then dust off the camera again.

I’ll call this one a “sort of” check. I did photograph an uncommon animal – I introduce you to the Banana Slug. This was another “taking Jack to college” find, when we all camped in the mountains/woods above Palo Alto, CA. Really fascinating animals and I understand very important to the ecosystem there.

But the photo was taken with my cell phone, not my “real” camera, so it feels like a bit of a cheat.

And now…this is where the resolutions go downhill.

Resolution 4: Photograph 20 strangers

I intended to renew my passion for documentary photography through my old 100 Strangers project. I failed. I just never got reacquainted with the camera this year. No time, no easy access to a computer or processing software, and just lack of motivation.


Resolution 5: Advance my banjo skills

  • The actual goal was 6 banjo lessons. I did two.

  • The other goal was to practice once every other week. I did zero.

My friends and family will just have to wait another year or more to be graced by the spirited twang of my Deering Good Time. Yeah, yeah...I know. Hooray for that. Who asked you jokesters anyway.

Resolution 6: One Random Act of Kindness per week.

Let’s just say I got to mid-February and apparently stopped being randomly kind to strangers in a trackable way. I managed seven, but then added a couple more in the week before Christmas.

There was a Resolution 7, but it’s pretty specific and would take a lot of explanation. I didn’t do that one either yet.

Lest anyone think I’m going to beat myself up to badly over falling short of just about everything possible (on and off my resolution list) in 2019, I’m OK with it.

Starting off January with the eye surgery puts a guy behind the 8 ball right off the bat. Gained some traction, then Maggie and I got in our bike crash. Everything got sideways for a while then it was time to start saying goodbye to Jack as he headed off to Stanford, where he is absolutely thriving in every possible way. Not too long after that, the usual Minnesota cold and dark sets in and, poof, you just start nesting and gearing up to turn the leaf over again in January. Plus, I’m not 20 anymore; some things just don’t come as easily nowadays.

2019 was just one of those years that drives home the fact that you just can’t control everything and, not only that, sometimes the very best you can do is just hold on for dear life as things spin.

My thought going into 2020 is that I’m just going to Resolve to be Better.

Maybe I’ll find myself on a world voyage or running a marathon (heh) or discovering and enrolling in a Banjo University. I’ll keep score, but the stars I shoot for might be closer to earth. Here goes:

  • Run 260 miles (approximately 1 more mile than 2019)

  • Strength train 68 times (1 more than 2019)

  • Bike 501 miles (1 more than 2019)

  • Play the banjo – lesson or practice 1x per month

  • Photo one uncommon animal

  • Do 12 Random Acts of Kindness

  • Take two photos that I will want to frame at the end of 2020

Here’s to a wonderful and fulfilling 2020 for all of you.

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