A year removed from both the greatest and worst moment that’s ever happened in my life, I seek to bounce back from a year of misery and lost concentration with 14 goals I want to accomplish by next December 10th.

Saturday, December 10, 2016. A snowy and celebrated day in Moscow, Idaho not only marked the end of a storybook chapter of my life, but also the start of a downward spiral I’ve resented over the past 365 days.

It was on this day I fulfilled my education goal, earning my Broadcasting and Digital degree at the University of Idaho a semester early. While the ride was a roller coaster experience—especially the final semester where I’ve poured my heart and soul on being a versatile student—little did I knew it would lead to the darkest phase in my life.

Instead of staying healthy and exploring the world, it’s been a miserable period.

No longer I have the things I’ve loved that made me stronger. My education career is over, serving others that legitimately impacts people long term has become a distant memory and my self-esteem has crippled. To be frank, graduating a semester early had more negatives than positives.

I’ve had several “what if” statements. What if I decided to stay another semester and fix acquaintance issues I’ve had during Fall 2016? What if staying meant I would’ve had a job covering sports? What if I was able to create greater content that would’ve padded my resume? What if I would’ve established my friendships instead of putting them aside? All that gunk has glued into my consciousness which I can’t bear any longer. I’ve graduated, it happened.

A friend of mine said several years ago it’s better to “let things go” instead of thinking about what might’ve been. It sucks, but I must go up than staying six feet under physically, mentally and emotionally for the rest of my life. I can’t afford misery in 2018.

Therefore, I’ve decided upon myself of spending several minutes on what can make 2018 my year of redemption? Make a video about the struggles or have a laundry list of goals to pursue? Two months ago, I came up with 14 goals I wanted to accomplish by next December 10th. All of which are challenging. If I even accomplish half of them, it would be a success. However, I’d love to conquer every one of them. Without further ado, here’s my “List of Promises” I’ve wanted to commit.

Promise No. 1: Travel to Learn New Things

During my tenure at KUOI-FM Moscow 89.3, my running gag was saying I can’t wait to travel outside of the Pacific Northwest and get away from everyone. Just myself and explore new adventures I’ve always wanted to do such as leaving the United States or as simple as returning to California. Hell, the two mecca states for motorsports, Indiana (IndyCar Series) and North Carolina (NASCAR) would be incredible.

Granted, I’ve visited California several times this decade because of the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma (2013, 2015-16), but there’s something about the state I just envision coming up outlandish ideas. As a music junkie, certain songs just mesh with the scenic sites, so it’s evident that I need to stop by another time.

This is the part of my gag where I would say, “we get it Luis, you want to go there, play your music on the freeway and visualize people in your projects when it won’t happen because of logistic constraints.”

To accomplish this promise, I must at least travel three different places and at least one travel to a place I’ve never laid foot before. My options are open, but I need to escape Washington because I’m damn overdue for traveling and I’ll consider it as a belated graduation present.

Promise No. 2: Serve Others About Life

If there’s one thing I thrive the most is inspiring people in some capacity. My two jobs as a guest servant isn’t cutting it for me because I’ve felt I haven’t made a difference for anyone where I can say, their experience was enhanced because of my help. I want to continue helping people and guide them to a better life or information that can be utilize at work, school, etc.

Would I consider telling my stories as a motivational speaker or use my knowledge over the years for an organization? Absolutely, I miss it because there’s so much left to prove in this world and I don’t want it underutilized. I’d love my growing years spent making an impact for people and teach them life lessons that will serve them endearing.

Promise No. 3: Belongingness

Throughout the summer, I’ve written, trashed and edited my script discussing the importance of belongingness. It’s a passionate subject of mine because I’ve endured both ends of the spectrum. I’ve felt accepted by amazing groups and shafted by others. All of us has endured those phases.

The end goal is creating a video with narration of my script and make it as a motivation video because I love coming up with words of wisdom that’ll lift their spirits.

My dream is the video going viral and maybe used in class and intuitions alike. If it happens, it’ll be my proudest work to date.

However, I can’t accomplish this task without the help of others and will take time producing a high-quality video. Nor it’ll succeed without a well edited script staying consistent with the subject. It’s hard as it is putting my words in front of the world, but it’s a fun project I would love creating.

Promise No. 4: Media Outlet

All year I’ve vented about working for a media outlet and it must happen next year. It doesn’t matter what I end up doing (writing, talking, operating cameras, producing, etc.), all I want is to live the dream of covering racing or sports I’m knowledgeable about. I don’t want to be just a guest servant working for chunk change and write racing articles as an independent. To make it in the media industry, I need to produce content for other people.

I’m hoping I end up writing articles for a motorsports website once Speedweeks at Daytona takes place in February. This shouldn’t be an issue, but I’m a person who wants more. I crave for multiple tasks, it’s my addiction and need it more than ever.

I’ve kept my eye on jobs that fits my qualifications for two years now and it’s been anything but glorious because of constant shortcomings. Whether it’s not getting a callback or instant rejections, I must catch a break because how am I supposed to gain those experiences without proving what I’m capable of doing. My life will be complete once I start covering racing in person for a living, anything less than being at the racetrack will be a failure.

Promise No. 5: Motorsports Weekend

Attending race day is all fun and games, but I want my experience to be maximized by spending an entire weekend at the racetrack. After missing this year’s race at Sonoma, there’s no excuse for me not to attend a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Whether I’m writing for an outlet or as an independent, I want to have new content and capture the sights and sounds of the sport I love.

If I can’t accomplish this at Sonoma, IndyCar’s return to Portland International Raceway in Oregon is another option. It’ll mark my first ever IndyCar race I’ll see in person. The ideal goal is spending my weekend at both races there because it’s my sanctuary. My escape from reality. Being there makes life peaceful because it’s my only active happy place.

Promise No. 6: Driving

I swear, the only reason why I’m not doing what I love and put food on the table is the lack driving experience. No excuses this time, I must learn how to drive and take it seriously because it’s an embarrassment not having my license at 23 years old. It disgusts me to no end and it must end in 2018. For once my family have taken this issue to heart and I know this will be done.

Once I finally have license and begin driving on the road, I’ll predict more people will hire me for certain places and for the first time in my life, feel 100% valued as a person. It’s bound to happen. Once I accomplish this goal, it’ll be a dream come true strapping myself behind the wheel of a car.

Promise No. 7: Create a Film About My Favorite Places

Different from the “Belongingness” project, this one focuses on filming an event at places that’s impacted my life. This includes high school events, leadership camps and sporting events just to name a few. I’ve since changed it from “Direct” to “Create” because it has a better ring in what I wanted to accomplish with this promise.

For this to count as a film, it must be a documentary-esque format where it features interviews and/or a concrete setting for viewers to become invested into the project.

I’ve done a similar project with the last Idaho volleyball game I covered last November, but I know I can do better. One idea is perhaps cover a high school basketball game that’s a historic rivalry and capture the madness. Another wild and absurd idea is documenting events where I may do daily highlights and one big review after it’s all set and done.

If anyone is willing to give this opportunity, I’ll promise to make it worthwhile and prove I’m a competent videographer.

Promise No. 8: New Home

This year has been frustrating finding my independence and at times felt I must live alone to prove my status. It’ll be extremely hard finding a new place for my own and the least likely out of the 14 to accomplish, but I added this with the purpose of living elsewhere.

For the sake of my family, we need a new place in Everett where it’s safe. It’s not the same when I first moved at our current place a few years ago. Rent is expensive and barely can afford staying, so it’s time to get out of an apartment and return to a house.

Now, if the holy masses have a miracle in store for me, apartment may be my first home as an independent which is fine by me. It must happen sooner than later and it’s a step in the right direction once I have my own place.

At the end of the day, I want to be in a safe environment not polluted by drugs and low life’s. It’s not my style and it’ll be crucial long-term moving at a new place.

Promise No. 9: Autism Awareness

Outside of racing and belongingness, autism is another subject I’m passionate about and it’s time to execute my vision on how to raise awareness on this topic. I’ve written articles about it, creating a video about it is the next best thing. This one is timely because I want the video to be completed by April for Autism Awareness Month.

My early vision is having different voices explaining how autism impacts them and why it can’t be ignored or viewed as a bad stereotype. Like my “Belongingness” project, this video requires help from people to be a success without losing its message. I want to bring awareness on autism that isn’t seen by the public eye. If I end up being known for this topic, I’ll take it with pride and honor of helping people understand what autism does to a person.

Promise No. 10: Photoshoot

Among the only bright spots of 2017 was re-finding my love for photography. To expand my versatility, this is an ability I want to blossom in 2018. Whether it’s sports or capturing people’s beauty, there’s a story to be told behind the lenses.

The task I had in mind is doing a photoshoot on people. Before saying anything, this is an experiment, I don’t intend starting a business in photography. This is a side project and simply would love shooting portraits and see where the story can be told. Whether it’s shooting photos on human interest stories like their livelihood or modeling, I’ve wanted to challenge myself by doing a photoshoot on individuals. Who knows, it may lead into something bigger in my multimedia career.

Promise No. 11: Video Profiles on People

There’s so many people I’ve met over the years and have been amazed on their stories. How does capturing their personalities on camera and getting to know them sound? My influences came from NFL Network’s “A Football Life” and countless modeling profiles just to name a few. Interviewing people is what I enjoyed a lot during my time at Idaho and excited to conquer this promise because I love knowing people’s backstory and find a compelling story.

It can be a three-minute profile on an individual or clips being dubbed with music, the purpose of making it possible is providing an outlet for people to share their voice or abilities. If it means spending time with a band behind the scenes, it’s going to make for great content.

Promise No. 12: Dream Internship

Straight forward, anything auto racing will accomplish this promise. I’ve said if I’m given a chance to be an intern at a sanctioning body or race track, I’ll be thrilled working for a first-class establishment and surrounded by racing fans just like me. However, this is the last year I may get that opportunity to intern anywhere because they want young cats, not a battered lion that graduated from college 365 days ago.

Promise No. 13: Get a Support System in My Profession

Like race car drivers, if you don’t have connections, you’re out of luck. It shouldn’t be that way, but it’s how the game works. I could use all the help to elevate my career. I have the tools, but some are unwilling to help people get their big break in the industry. To this day, I’m lucky to even have a few people who has seen my work and help me out. I’m that one dude who shouldn’t been successful, but ended up accomplishing this feat in Idaho.

I don’t have a support system other than a few people when I wrote 72 racing articles from February-November. It bugs me, but that’s what I signed up for. I will have instances where people don’t care.

Next year must change and if I’m desperate on getting what I want, I may have to take chances. I’ll have to see how this will unfold, but it must get better.

Promise No. 14: Memoir Project

All year long, I’ve said to myself to write about my life and tell my stories from school, camp, etc. While it’s a bit of a stretch this will become a reality, I’d like to write a memoir with the intention of being published someday. Spicy concept, but a daunting task I’m willing of conquering by next year.

The hardest thing is where I want to start my story and where to end it. I’m living a year-long nightmare and often, that draws readers. It’s a work in progress and expect on writing my memoir once the new year arrives in a few weeks.

Promises are hard to keep, but it’s my duty to accomplish this list one task at a time. 2018 must have a bright light that 2017 hasn’t provided me. Let’s see what it’s in store and much like my tenure at Mt. Triumph when I was a little tike (okay, a few years ago), the journey ends up magical.

Published by Luis Torres

University of Idaho graduate that's currently pursuing the dream of becoming a motorsports media personnel.

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