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2018 year goals list on napkin

Filed Under , on December 30th, 2017

Editor’s Note–TFF Issue #16

By Seth Kabala

2017 is coming to a close.

I admit, I haven’t been as attentive to this site as I had intended. Excuses number in the many. Some of them might even be good. But they are still that: excuses. I won’t hide behind them as reasons to defend my absence from writing more for this site. To do that would be to imbue them with power, to grant them a life beyond their own existence, and to reduce my control over my life.

I have chosen to do what I have done. The things I chose to do did not choose themselves; I chose them. Therefore, I must live with the consequences. We’re not talking world-shaking consequences; we’re talking a handful of columns, interviews, and editor’s notes I either haven’t written or haven’t published, not missed peace talks that will inevitably lead to World War III. I refuse to assign that level of importance to myself.

I will say I have missed spending time with this site. Since it’s my baby, The Family Farce will only ever be what I make of it. I have not been attentive enough to its needs, to my own needs, to your needs, dear reader–thus, you have the languishing of publications, with the blame resting only with me. For this, I apologize. I promise to do better in 2018.

What a buzzkill. Sheesh.

While reflecting on personal shortcomings, with an eye on lessening non-productive future behavior, is valuable, it’s a shitty way to close down 2017, so I’m going to diverge from this self pity party and talk about some good stuff. Here’s a list of 25 good things that happened in 2017, coupled with a list of 25 good things I expect to happen–excuse me, that I expect to MAKE happen–in 2018:

2017 Good Stuff

1. Earned my CPA license.

Many years in the making. I am unabashedly proud.

2. Brought projects to the attention of senior leadership.

I believe it’s a sign of personal growth and intellectual maturity when one sees beyond the technical production of work product to the larger field of impact. It is a sign of personal effectiveness when one not only sees this impact but convinces others of its value and persuades them to act upon said value. Inroads grow deeper.

3. Ella learned to read.

Amy gets the lion’s share of the credit here. To teach is to bestow magic upon someone. To do so for your own child is to invest in their ability to see and understand the world. An amazing honor and gift all in one.

4. Lost 10 lbs.

I didn’t gain any muscle size, but I didn’t lose any, either, and I did so while reducing body fat. A definite win.

5. Read 20 books.

Some of my favorites were Purity, by Jonathan Franzen; Extreme Prey, by John Sandford; Zero Sugar Diet, by David Zinczenko; and Abundance, by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

6. Extended stay in the Midwest.

Spent a month on vacation in the Quad-Cities. Wonderful time of relaxing and recharging.

7. Vacationed on the coast.

Waking up to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach in Newport, OR. Paradise.

8. Avoided the mobs 1.

Can’t remember what we were doing downtown in the days after election day, but we survived the protest mobs. People sure discover their inner creativity and apply it to poster boards when their political sensibilities are disrupted.

9. Avoided the mobs 2.

I was on my way to the MAX station downtown when clouds of tear gas billowed a block ahead, followed by shouting, sirens, and a phalanx of police in riot gear seeking to quell ongoing protests of an earlier police-involved shooting. I profess no opinion on the positions of either side; I was simply grateful to have escaped with my health.

10. Saw lots of stand-up comedy.

Local talent at an open mic, Nick Swardson and Tom Green as headliners–it was a good year at Helium. I look forward to snagging more deals for awesome last-minute acts.

11. Rediscovered single origin coffee.

Beans from Barista and Coopers Coffee Company. Sources from Columbia and Ethiopia. More and more I am convinced that a good cup of coffee is like a religious experience. You have to go into each with an open mind and just take it in.

12. Saw lots of good movies.

Favorites: La La Land, The Last Jedi, Captain Underpants (disclaimer: kids’ favorite), Moana, Kong: Skull Island, The LEGO Batman Movie, Boss Baby, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Zookeeper’s Wife.

13. Made prodigious use of a season pass to a theme park.

Put lots of miles on the old Dodge Journey traveling back and forth to Wild Waves in Federal Way, WA with our season passes, but expressions of joy paid me back. Tires are cheap.

14. Increased retirement savings.

Money is power. Power is influence. I’m doing my best to ensure I have power and influence over my own finances–both now and into retirement.

15. Improved cardiovascular health.

Lowered my best average pace for a 5K to about 7:30/mile.

16. Gave eight speeches.

For years, I was lacking in my public speaking skills. In 2017, I made huge strides toward filling this gap.

17. Started playing video games again.

I don’t like them all–Minecraft? Bunch of blocks? 80s technology? I don’t get it–but old classics like Donkey Kong and Mario Bros are still my favorites. I’ve tried to make time each week to remember my childhood.

18. Licensed and plated the car.

Navigated the byzantine process of transferring a car title from state to state. We blend right in with the rest of the Oregonians now. That’s good. Symbolic, even. We are Oregonians.

19. Worked my way through two movements of the Rachmaninoff 3rd Piano Concerto, started third movement.

I’ve worked on this off and on for 12 years. I’m actually getting somewhere with it.

20. Will rediscovered the value of hard work and of unearthing an incomplete, old investment.

Word to the wise: if your kid starts a massive chore chart, one with the potential to make you $400 poorer if he ever completes it, and if he forgets about it before completion, burn that chore chart post-haste!

21. Started separate comic strips with Will and Anna.

The adventures of 1. Meow, Meow, and 2. Catix began in earnest this year, with over 30 individual strips written and illustrated for each. You may see these published on this site in the future.

22. Organized the garage.

I deserve a medal for this, and when I say “I,” I mean Amy.

23. Performed stand-up comedy.

Got on stage and did a three-minute set. Evaluation: I’m not half bad. Good public speaking practice.

24. Attended other live performances.

The whole family saw Tim Hawkins and Cirque Du Soleil’s Kurios show, but not in the same concert, though that would have been epic.

25. Was talked into trying another streaming service, to which we are now subscribed.

I note that, having subscribed to three separate services, I’m not yet back to the price I was paying for cable when I cancelled it years ago, but we’re progressing in that direction. Hmm.

2018 Expected Good Stuff

1. Passports.

Got to pay the price of admission to the rest of the world.

2. Disneyland/Disneyworld.

Anna’s 10th birthday trip promises to be incredible.

3. Six Flags, Chicago.

We’ve never taken the kids here. Going to be good.

4. Noah’s Ark.

Amy and I took Will here when he was in a stroller. Now we plan to take him and his sisters here–12 years later. I wonder if his perspective will have changed?

5. Professional credentials.

This year, I intend to add more letters after my name, starting with the CGMA. There’s always more room on the signature line.

6. Making stuff with my hands.

It’s time to find a place for those piles of books all over our house. It’s time I use my hands to do more work than just typing on a keyboard. Woodworking is on the docket.

7. Film camp.

Will’s first foray into applied artistry.

8. Animal camp.

Anna’s first foray into veterinary medicine.

9. Sports camp.

Ella’s first foray into organized sports.

10. Read 26 books.

The auto-biography of a former FBI Director, texts on machine learning and data analytics-focused computer programming, mysteries and thrillers, and Les Misérables (the 1,000 page tome) are all on my reading list. I remain the renaissance man possessed of an insatiable desire to learn, and to lift weights while I do so.

11. Return to interviewing authors and comedians.

In the past, one of the highlights of The Family Farce for me has been the interviews I’ve done with writers and comedians. I love hearing peoples’ stories and weaving them into a narrative. Get ready for some good ones in 2018.

12. Attend more live performances.

Musical theater, symphonic, dramatic theater, operatic theater–we shall wear our snobbery in 2018, if only for a night or two.

13. Camping.

At last count, we have over 10 internet-capable devices in our household, with this number slated to grow to 20 and beyond in a few years. Unplugging is in the offing.

14. Fishing.

Anna told me she wanted to go fishing–out of the blue. Time to resurrect my gutting and cleaning skills. What is more satisfying than eating what you catch? Ah, the satisfaction of the snap of frying pan grease juxtaposed to a lakeside scene.

15. Travel internationally.

The Canadian border is only five hours to the north. It’s not exactly back-packing Europe, but it’s a start.

16. Return to live musical performance.

During the summer months, a public piano sits in the courtyard surrounding the Apple Store in downtown Portland. It awaits my turn at the keys.

17. Volunteering.

Helping out at homeless shelters, food pantries, animal shelters, etc. We are part of this community, and we intend to do our part to help it thrive and assist individuals where we can. The obligation of public service exists outside of any government or religious establishment. It is the duty of being upright and breathing. If you are able, you must help.

18. Publish professionally in my technical field.

Gravitas, an underrated quality.

19. Tune the piano.

Goodbye flat low E. Thou shalt stir my wrath no longer.

20. Pay off the car.

End of the payment phase, beginning of the maintenance phase. I don’t know whether to be happy or bummed. Cheap Accountant Alert: why can’t we have one of those Maximum Out of Pocket clauses in our contract?

21. Hiking.

Longer hikes are in order, such as the one from Multnomah Falls to Larch Mountain. Just me and Amy, and maybe some hanky panky.

22. Golfing.

We made it to the driving range in 2017. In 2018, we get back to the links.

23. Buy a House.

Tried renting. Meh. Over it.

24. Engage people in conversation in non-traditional locations.

The elevator, hallway, and queue of any kind are fertile proving grounds for this. I’m not asking much of myself or of you, just to say hello. You will be amazed at the cathartic charge you receive just from being a nice, friendly person for a second or two.

25. Be positive.

I will seek to find the value in every person I meet, conversation I have, initiative in which I partake, idea I analyze, etc., etc., etc. It is easy to take the negative position, to react with anger instead of considering for a beat and then responding with words of reason.

In 2018, I seek to take the high road.

Join me.


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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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