Every year I sit down and comb through my calendar, receipts, emails, and look at what went well and what didn't go well in the previous year. I use all that insight to get a better idea of what next year might be like and what I want to aim for. I call it my Annual Review.
I started doing this analytical ritual about 6 years ago. Some seasons, I've even done it on a quarterly basis, which I'm probably going to do in 2016. It's been a wonderful practice, providing my type-A, OCD tendencies, a place to have a hay-day in a very orderly fashion.
No surprise, 2015 has been a tough but good one and...
The numbers don't lie.
What didn't go well...
- My bank account reminds me that I'm clearly not doing this for the money.
- The number of times I've had a cold sore this year tells me I need to chill the fuck out.
- My scale tells me that I've unintentionally lost weight (scary!) and that I need to set external reminders to eat throughout the day because evidently my biological hunger triggers are broken.
- The amount of migraines I've had tells me getting rear-ended on the highway is far from a good thing.
- My empty bed tells me dating in the modern world is the absolute pits and online dating hasn't worked.
- The embarrassingly long list of people I want to sit down and have tea with or call to just catch up and talk about life tells me I'm working too hard.
- My new wallet reminds me that the old one got stolen on the last day of my Summer tour, the very same tour I had to drastically shorten and postpone due to health reasons and lack of funds. (Texas, I promise I'm coming this year!)
But things did in fact go really well...
- Mailchimp tells me my email list has grown from ~20 folks to now over 230+ of you (what?!)
- Google Cal reminds me I traveled all over the Northwest and the West Coast to be with you.
- My web analytics tell me you like facebook, my blog posts, and photos.
- My instagram reminds me we have shared life together: mourning and celebrating each other in really meaningful ways.
- Tunecore analytics tell me we've witnessed the creation and release of THREE albums of music AND people liked it enough to download it or stream it in places as far away as the Netherlands and Australia. (!!!)
But here's the thing which really blows me away...
- Gmail reminds me there are supporters willing to share their own strength when it seemed like mine was running out.
- My list of artistic benefactors has grown and tangibly provided me so much generosity.
- My concert guestbook (my most valuable possession to date) reminds me of all the beautiful moments and doodles we've shared together at shows.
- At the time of writing this, Patreon reminds me there is a small group of people willing to pledge money for every song I put out there.
I cannot begin to accurately describe how cool this is. But I'm gonna try anyways...
Looking at that little list of support has been life-giving.
No, I cannot live on $52/per song via Patreon. However that list of sock-blowing awesomeness tells me there are people who don't want me to give up. This is astounding.