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In which John returns to the halcyon days of yore and reviews his goals for 2020.
Stuff mentioned in this video:
1. Become a monthly (or one-time!) donor to Partners in Health's efforts to build a stronger healthcare system in Sierra Leone:

2. Sarah Urist Green's wonderful book of art assignments is called You Are an Artist and can be found wherever you get your books; Hank's book A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor is also wonderful and widely available.

3. The Anthropocene Reviewed book is available for preorder now and comes out (hopefully!) on May 18th.

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Good morning, Hank, it's Tuesday.  So back in January, I made a video setting out my goals for the year 2020 and today I'd like to go back to those halcyon days of yore and review that video through the grizzled and grimy lens of the present.

Past John: This year, I will finish our Crash Course in European History.

Okay, first off, you're gonna have to stop using unqualified statements about the future like 'I will' and begin using more careful statements like 'I hope to' or 'barring unforeseen catastrophe, I should be able to'.  

Secondly though, as it happens, you do finish Crash Course European History, although the last several episodes are filmed here in your basement and directed by Stan over Zoom.

PJ: Also, there are a couple other creative projects I'd like to wrap up this year but I can't talk about those publicly yet.

Yeah, this was a reference to The Anthropocene Reviewed and you did successfully put it on hiatus, although you miss it, barring unforeseen catastrophes, there should be some new episodes next year, as well as the Anthropocene Reviewed book which comes out on May 18th, 2021, hopefully.

PJ: The last thing I wanna finish is writing a book.

Right, that's the book in question.  I wouldn't say you finished it exactly, but you have made some good progress.  I remember back in January how nervous I was even to make a vague reference to the book and now I am still nervous.  It's my first book of nonfiction and large swaths of it are about my actual self, which is intimidating, but I feel better about it than I did in January, which I mention mostly because I don't feel better than I did in January about much.

PJ: I would like to begin no longer working at night or on the weekends.

Ha ha, no.  No.  No.  Starting in March, you've become a part-time e-learning consultant to two young children and you do your other work when you are alone and awake, which is rarely, and you will be grateful to have work and oh my God, how did you not think you were gonna work on the weekends, you adorable little child, I wanna pinch your cute little cheeks.

PJ: Sarah's book, You Are An Artist, comes out in April and I will be touring with both you and Sarah, so a lot of travel this year.

Nope.  No.  I mean, even though Sarah's book, You Are An Artist and Hank's book, A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, do both come out, there is no tour.  In fact, you will cancel over 40 flights in 2020 and you will go nine months and counting without visiting an airport, your longest such streak in over 29 years, and in the process, you will realize that many of the trips you thought were inevitable or necessary are, in fact, neither.

Right, so then I ended by laying out a bunch of what I thought were small goals.

PJ: Exercising at least 150 minutes per week, making Dear Hank & John every Monday, making a Vlogbrothers video every Tuesday.

None of that turned out to be easy, but I did it.  

PJ: And not losing large swaths of my life to scrolling through Twitter as dread washes over me.

That was not an unambiguous success, but my biggest goal for 2020...

PJ: I would like to finish raising the 20 million dollars that Partners in Health needs in order to break ground on the maternal center of excellence, which will dramatically improve the healthcare options available to women and children in Sierra Leone.

And despite all the many unforeseens of this year, that did happen.  At current levels of donation, thanks to all of the monthly donors, Partners in Health has the money they need to break ground on the maternal center of excellence next spring, hopefully, barring unforeseen catastrophes.  This is not the ending of the story, of course, it's a groundbreaking, it's the beginning, but still, it's a significant milestone, and it's also a reminder to me of why making goals can be helpful, even if it seems a little silly, especially now, because a good goal sets out not just what you want to happen but also a path toward getting there, and obviously, those paths can be washed away by circumstance but still, it is nice to have the idea that there might be a way forward, that in fact, there will be a way forward.  That is an unconditional future tense statement I am still willing to make, and here is another one:

Hank, I will see you in 2021.  Let's get the hell out of this year.