Let’s be honest: 2023 was not the best year for a lot of us. And it’s fine to admit it.

After all, there’s no point in pretending that trouble didn’t rear its super ugly head and try to wreck things in our lives. It happened, and for some, it may be continuing. A lot of people saw problems that others may not have. Job losses, divorces, breakups, lives lost…

I can safely say that for many, 2023 did a bang-up job at being a pile of butts.

I didn’t get out of it unscathed, either. I never do. I just deal with it differently now than I used to.

For me, 2023 brought several moments of stress and high anxiety. I didn’t always show it, though, because I’m the type of person who tends to hold it inside, often until it boils over.

Or, as Steve Austin said in the movie Damage:

It’s taking a piece of me every day, but I figure if I squash the feelings down hard enough, I might just have enough saved up for a complete mental breakdown. You know, for when I retire.

Steve Austin, Damage

Is this the best way to handle things? No, of course not.

Fortunately, I’m not quite as bad anymore. In years past, I found that bottling things up for too long would lead to self-destructive actions. How I don’t have a cracked skull is baffling to me…

The outlets I used for stress, frustration, and anxiety in 2023

But I’ve found outlets for my stress and frustration. Music is often my go-to, and 2023 led to a few songs recorded that I’ve yet to release. October saw me starting a few that I’ve not yet finished.

Given the way my 2024 is about to begin, I’ll likely finish those songs soon.

Writing has been another way I deal with the garbage in my life. It has given me a way to write more freely without needing to make it match a beat.

A couple of years ago, I started working on a story that is about to be released as a novella. It started as a short story but expanded further as I worked on it. Is it a literary masterpiece? No. Is it perfectly crafted, even after multiple drafts, rewrites, and fixes? Probably not.

Is it something that means a great deal to me? Absolutely. And honestly, that’s all I care about.

Writing has become a big part of my life. I try to do it as often as I can. I write before work, during breaks, and after my kids have gone to bed. I spend late nights telling stories, many with terrible things happening in them. Usually, I end up with 4-5 hours of often very interrupted sleep each night.

But I don’t stop.

I keep writing and molding stories into the shapes that come to me. Sometimes, those shapes have good outcomes. But not always.

That’s how I write and deal with things that bother me. I put a pen to paper (and by pen to paper, I mean mouse cursor to Scrivener doc), and I write until I have to stop. Sometimes I have to go to work, sleep, or I just can’t think straight anymore. But I use writing as an outlet.

My Goal for 2024

A new year brings resolutions to improve in the months ahead. Personally, I’ve always been of the mindset that waiting until the new year is stupid. If you want to change something, start now, no matter what day it is.

In 2024, I have plans to release at least two novels, not counting the novella I’ve already written and play to release in the coming weeks. One follows a character I mentioned in a couple of songs I released in 2020. The second is a complete U-Turn from that one.

I love to write and would prefer to make it my day job. That may not happen, but you have to start somewhere. Though I’ve already begun, I’m using January 1st as a tracking point.

As I’ve done for the past couple of years, I do plan on releasing more music related to You Have A Future. I’ve literally held off my normal “destroy everything in the room” types of rap tracks so I could focus on this music instead. I do it for Amanda, and I do it for you.

My goal for 2024 is to do something a little different. It won’t be cheap, especially for someone who does this for free. But honestly, that doesn’t matter to me. In October, you’ll see what I have planned.

And I plan to keep standing up to the nonsense coming at me in life. I’m in the middle of doing that now, and I don’t have any plans to retreat and give in. As Alita said, I do not stand by in the presence of evil.

I’m done putting up with stupid people’s shit.

But that’s my goal. What about yours?

Your Goal for 2024

This year, you need to remember something. You need to remember that even though 2023 and previous years may have been terrible and packed full of garbage, you’re still here. You are still breathing, and fighting forward to get through the mud you’ve found yourself in. Nothing has been able to stop you, and 2024 will be no different. You may struggle and suffer terrible pains in your life, but you will make it through. How do I know?

Because you’re still here. That crap before you couldn’t stop you, and whatever is in your path ahead won’t stop you either.

If you’re having trouble dealing with frustrating nonsense in your life, don’t bottle things up. I did that for years and exploded like a hotdog in a microwave. It wasn’t long after that I found music was my way forward. You need to do the same. You need to find an outlet to release the beast growing inside. Get rid of the stuff in the basement, as Rocky Balboa calls it.

I know, I keep referencing movies.

The point is, I still believe you have a future. I still believe you can fight through the wall of shit that is standing in your path.

Things can get tough, but you’ve been through tough things before. It may have been hard, but you still made it. What you thought was going to end your world didn’t. And what lies ahead will also fail to break you.

2023 is done. 2024 is coming, and you’re going to kick its ass to the roof. Why? Because, just like me, you’re done putting up with stupid shit.

When the world tries to stop you, the best thing you can do is keep going. When you feel like your heart can’t take it anymore, prove it wrong and show yourself that you are stronger than you think.