A Look Back at 2018 and Ahead to 2019

[Advance notice/warning: This is a personal post about my annual goals and accomplishments. If you’re not interested, which is understandable and highly likely, feel free to move on to my next post.]

Overall, 2018 was a very good year. I had some success with accomplishing my goals, although I didn’t succeed at everything. That’s not surprising – I tend to get too idealistic with how much I set out to accomplish and change every year. More on this below.

The year had several definite highlights:

  • Our Mediterranean cruise was excellent. It was everything I hoped it would be. I really enjoyed Crete, Delos (Mykonos), Santorini (although we didn’t end up seeing as much of it as we had hoped), Malta, and Sardinia.
  • Desert City Jazz sold out two shows (100 tickets each) on the Clarendon Hotel Sky Deck in the spring and performed at the Nash to a sold out crowd in December. The band continues to improve, although recordings made it clear that we need to continue to work on intonation and dynamics.
  • My term on the Desert Overture Board ended on June 30. I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish, but glad to have all that time back.
  • Two of my best friends, Vance and Denny, visited for a week in June. It was wonderful to see them and catch up. We did a lot of fun things together.
  • My wedding officiant business met all of its goals. I traveled to Horseshoe Bend, Flagstaff, and Sedona to perform weddings.
  • After I wrote my article about the Adventure List, Jeff and I created one. We have visited a local attraction once a week for most weeks during the second half of the year. This is been very enjoyable, both from a discovery standpoint and because it’s something we do together.
  • Jeff and I also began a practice of devoting several hours every Monday for household chores and maintenance tasks. While I can’t say this is my favorite thing to do, already the discipline of setting aside a regular time for these things and keeping track of them on a Trello board has paid off. This is a lifestyle improvement.

The only real lowlight is that our beloved dog Missy died in December. She was over 16 years old.

More than anything, I was happy throughout most of the year. There were a few drama incidents with regard to DCJ, but everything has come out okay.

Let’s see how I did with regard to each area of my life and the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

Retire Fabulously!

  • Publish at least 12 articles on other websites (Medium, Next Avenue, etc.) – This didn’t happen. I only published 8 articles on RF (most of which were cross-posted on lgbtSr.org), and I only published one of these on Medium. One was published on Next Avenue, but got no significant attention as far as I can tell.
  • Publish one more book – I did some work on The Quest for Retirement Utopia, but didn’t complete it. I now play to complete it by March, 2019.
  • Publish at least two special reports/guides that I charge for – Didn’t happen.
  • Reach 2000 subscribers – Didn’t happen. I am now at 1685. Given how few new articles I posted and how I did not do the outreach to other sites I had hoped for, my daily page views are about half what they were at the start of the year.

The fact is that I have struggled to find the motivation to devote time and effort to Retire Fabulously! for most of the year. I am going to spend the first three months of 2019 getting Quest done. After that, we’ll see. I am leaning towards putting RF in “maintenance mode” and not writing regular new content.

Ceremonies by Dave

  • Officiate at least 60 weddings – I officiated 63 weddings.
  • Earn at least $15,000 revenue – I earned $17,850 in revenue, before expenses.
  • Close the business at the end of 2018 – I have cancelled all of my listings for next year. I have about 20 weddings booked throughout 2019 and one in 2020. I am open to doing occasional weddings for friends or referrals.


  • Complete one fiction book – Not done, although I did get some writing done.
  • Complete the migration from the 400-CD jukebox to the music computer, including creating playlists – Done. There are still many playlists I wish to create, but the 400-CD jukebox has been removed.
  • Keep my weight below 185 – I was under 185 for a good bit of the year, but I have crept up over 190 on our annual Puerto Vallarta vacation and again during the holidays.
  • End my involvement with Desert Overture (band and board) on June 30. Continued involvement in Desert City Jazz is TBD – I am no longer in Desert Overture or on the Board. I am still active in Desert City Jazz, and in fact I am serving as the unofficial business manager. I plan to stay with this for the foreseeable future.
  • Finish paver stone project – Done!
  • Install weedstop – Not done. This is a project for winter, 2019.
  • Rebuild daveandjeff.com – I haven’t done this as of today, December 28, but I plan to start on it tomorrow. So this will squeak in at the end of the year.
  • Write non-retirement articles, publish on Medium, TheDaveHughes.com, perhaps others (Tiny Buddha?) – Not done.
  • Write a chapter for my memoir every month – Not done, although I have set up some structure for the book.

Lifestyle Choices

  • Meditate every morning – I did this throughout much of the year. I haven’t meditated for the last two months. I’m not sure I’m getting that much out of it.
  • Write two hours a day – I did this throughout much of the year.
  • Write in my journal every day – I didn’t write every day, but I did write some entries throughout the year.
  • Read every day – Not so much.
  • Exercise (walk, hike, bike) three times a week – Not at all.
  • Simplify or eliminate at every opportunity – Limited success. I am going to focus on this in 2019.

Now, for 2019. At the start of last year, I envisioned that 2019 would be a year of no commitments. That’s not quite going to happen, since I have 20 weddings booked for 2019 and one for 2020, and I intend to continue in DCJ (as the business manager as well as a player) and I play to play in a new jazz combo at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Still, I want to keep my commitments select and few.

In 2019 I want to focus on simplification and writing.


  • Rip all remaining vinyl LPs (that I care for) and get rid of my vinyl.
  • Sell CDs I no longer want on eBay, then discard at the end of the year.
  • Convert VHS tapes to DVD, then discard by the end of the year.
  • Clean out the garage.
  • Reduce clothing by 50%.
  • Delete all old emails.
  • Go through old photos, keep only those that are significant.
  • Delete old electronic documents.
  • Clear out magazine backlog – either by reading them or just discarding them.


  • Publish The Quest for Retirement Utopia by the end of March.
  • Write at least 12 chapters of my memoir.
  • Resume writing fiction.
  • Write some self-improvement articles and see if there is a demand.

Lifestyle Choices

  • Get back into hiking, biking, and neighborhood walks.
  • Deal with things when they come in. Don’t let papers and tasks stack up.

But overall, life continues to be good. I enjoy my life and I’m very fortunate.

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