In lieu of self-imposed New Year’s resolutions, the four of us created goals for each and one another. These goals were based on our personal aspirations, long lost hobbies we once dabbled in, or habits that were probably good for us. The challenge was to complete these goals in six months, right before our 10 year high school reunion.
We completed our goals, rewarded ourselves by renting a Tesla Model X, and had a truly great night with some old friends while flexing in no carbon emissions. We then took a two month break to regroup and see what we could do for a second season.
This time around we were much more ambitious, extending our goals to our local communities and upping the ante to harsh punishments should any of us fail to complete one or more of our challenges within six months.
It started off fine until we slowly realized our plates were a bit too full. In my case I was planning a wedding, planning an eventual move to a different state, working a contract project, all while being employed full-time. The stress of everything was getting to me and my enthusiasm for things was quickly deteriorating. Especially the podcast.
Then, as the end of the year starts to approach, I realize I’m not the only one. It began with one person writing a essay-length text message in our group chat, followed by my 20 plus minutes of my voice notes, followed by more thoughts and concerns about the longevity of the podcast. In short, the project was becoming a liability for our friendship and some of our personal wellbeing so we ended it earlier.
What did I learn?
Podcasting isn’t that hard! If you have a laptop with a working microphone, you have everything you need to get started. You can record and edit for free with Audacity, and eventually step up to better equipment and software.
Public accountability is tricky. It’s one thing to share goals with close friends, who you can trust to love you no matter what. But to put it out in the public internet — in a day and age where we’re all hyper self-conscious — I think can be detrimental. Added pressure can help at times, sure. But not knowing exactly who is actually listening can make the small failures feel much worse than they probably are. Specifically, I felt added guilt in potentially letting a lot more people down.
Perfect is good, done is better. My personal favorite accomplishment out of all this was releasing a five track EP. The pride isn’t in the final songs (they sound like drafts) but the process in making them as well as the sheer fact that I released something.
Lastly, gratitude goes a long way. In the segments we recorded, I always looked most forward to “Rose, Bud, Thorn.” Here we’d reflect on the past week and share something that bothered us, that we most enjoyed, and what we look forward to in the coming week. It’s gotten me to express gratitude daily in my bullet journal (which I also started for the podcast!) and I’m attributing some of my recent positivity to this new habit.
Despite all the stresses and incomplete successes, I would do it all over again if given the chance. Our friendship grew, we did a few things we didn’t think were possible, and most importantly: I could say that almost every week of 2019 that Y’all Boys talked.