What a year, am I right? After the dumpster fire that was 2020, 2021 offered new and unexpected challenges, along with a second helping of pandemic life just to keep things interesting. Personally, this past year was a time of incredible change, for which I’m grateful (ongoing global epidemic notwithstanding).
This year, I became a father, and it’s by far the best thing I’ve ever done. Sure, there are exploding diapers, plenty of screaming, and sleepless nights, but there’s also a little person who smiles when she sees me, grabs my fingers tightly, and calms down at the sound of my voice. This year was one of preparation, getting everything set up, and welcoming a new life into this messy world — and the world is a brighter place for her presence.
This was also a year that took my creative life in unforeseen directions. In November, while getting up every few hours at night with an infant, I decided to do NaNoWriMo, as a way to stay awake and much to my surprise, ended up writing 50,000 words of a novel manuscript in 30 days. I’ve kept the momentum up and now I’ve got a solid 80,000 words of a Las Vegas mobster novel and less than 20,000 words to go before I reach the end. It’s a major accomplishment for me, since I have a hard to time finishing any writing project, to be so close to typing “The End.”
My other major creative pursuit was something completely different: a full-cast audio drama. I started writing The Adventures of Captain Radio in 2020 when I was desperate for some escape from grim reality. In 2021, I got back into the project, and the first half of our six-episode season is now available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other audio streaming platforms.
And to top it off, I baked some really, really delicious bread this year.
Amazingly, for the second year in a row, I accomplished all of my birthday resolutions. Let’s see if we can keep the winning streak going. Here are my personal and creative resolutions for this coming year:
Be the Best Parent I Can Be
This is a big one. I’m new to this whole parenting thing and want to be a good dad. This means taking the time to be present, leaving work at work, and devoting myself fully to the joy and hardships that come with raising a tiny human. It isn’t easy, but it is rewarding and I’m looking forward to helping my daughter explore the world. I’m thankful I live in one of the few states that offers paid family leave and I’m getting ready to take off two months to spend caring for my daughter when my wife goes back to work.
Finish What I Start
This is a big one. I get excited by new ideas, and I’ve always been more keen to kick off a shiny new thing than to invest the energy to complete an existing project. This year, I’m endeavoring to continue the projects I began last year. That means wrapping up the first draft of my novel and starting revisions, editing and releasing the rest of my podcast, and completing work on the short story collection I began editing in 2020. This year will be a year of getting things done, even if they take a while.
My life is vastly different than it was just a year ago. I’ve embarked on a new journey as a parent, changed jobs in the middle of a historic pandemic, and had most of my plans for the year upended in some way — but the results have been worth it. Change is inevitable. You can either fight it, getting lost in a cycle of anxiety about what might happen, or embrace it, making space to welcome the unknown. I can’t control what happens, but I can control my response to it. I hope to do this better as I begin this next trip around the sun.
I find the practice of setting birthday resolutions to be helpful. In a decade of doing them, I haven’t always accomplished everything I set out to do or be, but that isn’t the point. The point is to try, to strive for something, to set the mark and see how close I can get. I may stumble on the way, but that’s part of the fun. Here’s to 32.
— 30 —
Jonny Eberle is a writer in Tacoma, WA. His new fiction podcast, The Adventures of Captain Radio, is now available to stream on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and elsewhere. His fiction has appeared in Creative Colloquy, Grit City Magazine, and All Worlds Wayfarer. You can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his newsletter for more thoughts and musings.