2015 – The Year in Pictures – Preview

January 1, 2015

In one easy motion I flicked off the 2014 lightswitch and turned on 2015. Smooth. Fast. Effective. As I sit in the recliner and watch my wife clean up after our New Year’s Eve party, I think of how the coming year is going to turn out. It’s not based on any insider info or crystal ball…just intuition, hopes and goals.

What’s next? Going month by month, here are the things I expect to happen in the coming 12 months.


New client and a boost to income. After setting the stage for success with a bunch of December meetings and phone calls, I expect a few projects to materialize. One is a revamping of my podcast – A Life of Play. With a new twist on the theme and scope, Gretchen and I are launching a new business. Coincidentally, the project is focused on the accomplishments of people and sharing those to inspire others to do great and fulfilling things. Keep an eye on Bucket Chat on the social networks for more information.

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Also in January, I hope to make larger strides in my photography business. The images you see at JeffCutlerPhoto should increase and my goal is to get more of my work placed in other galleries around the region. I’m already selling prints online and at Kjeld Mahoney Gallery in Scituate. With a bit more work I hope to break into the Boston gallery scene and start to see real income from this pursuit.


A better body is on its way. I received a gym membership for Christmas and I plan to put that to work. I’m not so blind to reality that I think this will happen overnight. The last time I worked out with any regularity was during college as a cheerleader. We had private time at the gym and workouts were essential to our performance on the field and court. Within this ‘better-body’ goal are a few specifics. I’d like to widen my shoulders a bit, increase my stamina and get better looking. Barring success on this last part, I’d accept a more tone physique all over.

While this quasi resolution is here under February, it will likely begin in January as I try to get my routine in place. I’m still considering when I want to go to the gym and what my daily routine will be with a gym visit inserted into my life. If you’ve got experience in this area, let me know your thoughts. Is it better to go first thing in the morning pre-shower and then start your day? Is it best to go after work and then wind down at home. For those of us with flexible situations, is a visit at 11AM or 2PM ideal in terms of combatting crowds and getting the best access to equipment?


Looking at getting older, going to Austin and building even better things for Bucket Chat. With my birthday on the horizon – and it’s a larger one…not 33, but still significant – we’re planning a trip overseas. Location and timeframe to be determined, but likely in April/May and probably to a country we haven’t visited together before. As the trip will be of the bucketlist variety, it ties in nicely with the progress I hope to see in Bucket Chat. By this time in 2015 the project should be rolling along with regular content and hopefully a moderate following. Posts on the site, a weekly twitter chat and some podcast episodes are part of the plan.

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I mention Austin above. Well, the SXSW conference happens in Austin in March and that’s where I plan to continue building my book of business. Already on the calendar are meetings with potential clients three days in a row during the festival. The bonus of this is I get to visit my best man, have some good food and attend a few events within the event. I might even get to attend some picking parties, some social media gatherings and an event where everyone has to wear a hat. Friend John Refford is probably taking the trip with me.


As noted elsewhere, April is birthday month. So the entire month will be filled with pursuits related to growing wise and old. I’ll attempt to take more time to appreciate life and food and family and friends. I’ll be introspective and set an additional set of goals for the next year of my life. I’ll embark on a trip with my wife to Europe. And I plan to be more joyful about lots of stuff. Sometimes I act as if I’m the angry old guy yelling for teenagers to get off his lawn. That comes from the damage teens can do to a lawn AND from some anxiety when I’m not in control of everything around me. I’ll also try to let that go a bit – not just in April, but during all of 2015.

Also in early April are a few speaking gigs and a few journalism conferences. That hasn’t gone away, I already have them on my calendar so I don’t see them as lofty goals. But it’s good to mention them anyhow.


Nearly halfway through 2015 and family has only been mentioned once. Well, aside from a trip to Florida in January or February to see relatives, this month is when we go on family overload. That’s a good thing with my new outlook. I’m trying to be more loving, understanding and less controlling. That will come in handy during a fun-filled family weekend in NYC this month. I’m smiling as I write this. When we were younger, we went on a family trip once a year. St. Thomas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Vermont, Florida. Lots of places. A week full of family and family events. It’s been a while since we’ve done that, so I’m looking forward to doing this again.

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Gearing up mentally for the Tour de France. Taking account of progress of the prior five months. Setting the stage for cool stuff to come over the summer and into the fall. June means summer and summer likely means getting back on the scooter and the bike. But health issues over the past few years have kept me from fully enjoying these pursuits. As I write this on January 1, I’m poised to solve the health stuff and start enjoying more things more fully. This just doesn’t mean biking or scooting, it means more golf, more active endeavors and more socializing.

By June, I hope that Bucket Chat has taken hold enough that it can contribute a good portion of money to my entire income. If it can be self-sustaining to that degree, it makes a lot of other plans fall into place. If not, there’s still the motivation the longer days and sun bring. I plan to use nicer weather to attend a few more conferences, do some more speaking and take a lot more photos.


July is Tour de France month. Unfortunately I haven’t been since 2007 when Gretchen and I saw the Tour finish in Paris. That doesn’t vex me, but it does make me yearn to view the Tour again in person soon. This July isn’t going to be one of those times unless some of the early 2015 projects are off-the-charts successful. This could mean a tech company I’m courting for work makes me a part owner and then they get sold for $84Million. Or the season tickets I have with the MA lottery pay off. Or that PCH knock comes on my door – even though I haven’t filled any forms out and my name is not Irwin M. Fletcher.

July is also the peak of summer for me. I look forward to family parties, fireworks – and that goal is next – grilling and lots of summer-centric pursuits. In the realm of fireworks, I’d like to get some really good fireworks photos this year. Past years have seen me doing a spray and pray approach. This year I’m going to be more thoughtful and precise. I plan to watch the calendars and weather so I can be in the right place at the right time. I will float the idea of hanging out on the balcony of the BC Club with a friend who’s a member (you can see the Boston fireworks unbelievably from there). And I won’t let the comfort of the fire pit at the house or a cold beer deter me from heading out with my camera to make some great images.

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BANJO MONTH. It’s been a three years that I’ve owned a banjo and all I can play on it is taps. It’s sadly ironic because I got the banjo as a gift a few months before my father died. From a psychological perspective, not learning the banjo is tied to my feeling that once I do that, I can let go of the approval I always looked for from my dad. I think it’s time I come to terms with my skills and potential. I’m planning to give the banjo a real chance. Whether I do so in August or earlier in the year has yet to be determined. But I will give it a real shot. If I’m not playing a song or at least multiple chords by the end of the month, I’ll sell the banjo and move on with my life. I’m good at so many things, why should I tie myself psychologically to something I might not have the acumen for?

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It’s also NY State Fair, car show and watersports month. I bet there are supermoons to be watched and some meteors. August will be a month of capturing action on film. I’ll also attend lots of fun events and take my time to enjoy the journey and not just rush out to complete tasks. This might mean just sitting down for an hour at the fair and watching the world stroll by. It might mean eating more breakfasts on the waterfront. It might mean lingering over tea for 30 minutes instead of gulping my meal and rushing out to start my day.


Back to school. Not really, but maybe. Some of the teaching I did in 2014 was inspiring. From BU Cattolica to guest speaking in front of students at BU, NU and other colleges, I was truly energized by these experiences. I want to do more of the same and perhaps even more this year. If I can set in motion an adjunct professorship (steps to do so will start in January or February), I’d be happy. It would provide structure and sharing knowledge breeds knowledge. What I mean is that if I have to prepare to teach, I’ll be learning more myself.

In a similar vein, I’m planning to take a class in January that will probably further my versatility and definitely will enhance my value to innumerable clients. It’s a real estate licensing class. My brother’s residential real estate company Planter Hill is a current client. I do their marketing and promotion and I’m trying to help build the business dramatically. It’s only common sense that I can be more valuable and effective if I fully understand the business side of things from an agent’s perspective. Further, it might even put a few more dollars in my pocket if I get a listing or make a referral as a licensed agent as opposed to some content creator off the street. By September I would like to have at least sold one house or received some commissions for my presence at the brokerage.


Lots of these resolutions/plans are tied to calendar events and the seasons. For October I’m going to diverge from that pattern. Around this time of year I’d like to continue to gather new clients, continue my professional and personal writing pursuits, and spend as much time as I can relaxing and enjoying life and the people around me. A plan I didn’t voice earlier in this post is to complete another manuscript. I’ve got one that needs to be edited and the kernels of a few others on my mind. 2015 seems like a good year for a writer to write some stuff. I will do that. To be clearer, I will finish at least one new book in 2015 and get it published or underway. I’d like to have this on my CV/Resume/Portfolio for conferences and speaking gigs in 2016.


Thanksgiving. A recount of what’s gone on in 2015 and a mad dash to the finish. If I haven’t learned the banjo, gone to the gym, written a book, I’m actually NOT going to perseverate on it. I will try in 2015 to accept myself and not hold myself to unreal expectations. I’ve given myself achievable goals so far and that means I doubt I’ll fail at any of them. But if I do, I want 2015 to be the year that I truly accept myself and love myself. I want to fling away the need I’ve often had to have people like me. If they do, great. If they don’t, their loss.

The sentiment is easy to say, but tough to live. It’ll be a big step for me psychologically, but it will be beneficial for my longterm sanity. Here’s to knowing yourself better and living within that framework or making that framework more acceptable.


Holy cow. A whole year of things to do and things to achieve. December will be slower and more family-focused. I’ll get my ducks finally in a row to get back to CES in 2016. I’ll reflect on the accomplishments of 2015 and make a stronger plan for 2016. I’ll buy smart gifts for loved ones, not just gift cards. I’ll host the eighth annual #nogup – venue to be determined. And I’ll enjoy the season.

This year we got out to actually look at and enjoy holiday displays ONCE. I’d like to do that a bit more often. I’d like to sip hot cocoa and maybe go snowshoeing or at least walking in a winter wonderland. It’s going to be a great year overall and I have the power to make it so.


The random and fun items that didn’t pop into my head until now. Here’s what else I’d like to do and I’ll strive for. If I don’t get them done, c’est la vie. If I do, BONUS TIME!

Drive another MINI or BMW fun rally

Photograph motorcycle racing (RedBull or other)

Visit Bermuda

Get a product or brand ambassadorship

Sleep in a hammock

Actually see a few meteors

Get another large publication byline

Divest myself of extra stuff

Read more books

Ask more questions of people

Be more creative

Get excited and moved about more events and people

That’s about it. The final thing I wanted to share is my collection of three words for 2015. Other folks have shared theirs and I’ve tried not to read them yet for fear I might echo them. These words are directive and reflective of the life I want to live in the coming year. They are strong words to me, others might see or read them differently. I encourage you to share your year ahead or just your words with me here or via one of the social networks. Happy New Year.