happy bday to me: a look back at 31

on monday of this week, my clock turned the grand ol’ age of 32, so i am taking a break from the storytelling for one week to fast-forward to the future (present) and take a visual and mental look back at the last year.  it’s hard for someone introspective like me not to think too much about calendar items like birthdays, but each year i try to think differently about them, and this year, i obviously had a lot to think about.  31 was a big year for me.  those who know me well know that i’d had a pretty rough start to the year, after a couple of failed relationships (one for most of 2013, and then one for the first part of 2014) that hit me really hard back to back, paired with the realization that i had been miserable with my career for years and hadn’t even realized it til it was staring me in the face during a vacation to peru.  i was suddenly in a midlife crisis and a minor depression, and i’m not someone who struggles like that with anything.  and there i was, struggling with everything.

but that was the crux of the issue.  i’d spent so long telling myself that i knew exactly what i wanted and that i had a clear itinerary to happiness that i hadn’t realized how much i’d been lying to myself or how far away i’d gotten from who i really am.  so i blew it all up.  i left.  i jumped without a parachute.

i learned a lot of lessons about life, lessons which i am still detailing and chronicling about in my weekly blog posts.  i am currently at a very pivotal moment in the journey, and if you are enjoying the more mental-heavy reflective posts then just stay tuned.  i’ll have plenty on tap for you coming up.

but today i am thinking not merely about all the travel i’ve done in the last 6 months, but actually of the creative pursuits i’ve jumped into.  specifically the writing.  for as much as i have been writing, i have realized the ultimate therapeutic outlet that it has come to represent to me.  it not only helps me get my thoughts and feelings out in a way that i find difficult to talk about, it also helps me put the world on pause and go back and confirm or dissect moments or events that i experienced, helping me distinguish the greater significance or effect they have had on me, or simply helping me solidify a memory in my mind.  this is something that we don’t do in the world anymore.  we are constantly in a state of distraction, and our lives have become just like the facebook feeds that our faces remain transfixed to, where moments and experiences present themselves, hold our attention for a few waning moments, and then make their way down the page of our lives, soon to be forgotten as a casual passing “thing that happened,” among a see of other alerts, notifications and distractions, and then it’s gone.

reflection is an important part of human interactivity, and one that writing has helped me make my way back to.  but the writing has done more than just that for me as well.  it’s helped stabilize me, and awakened me to other creative pursuits that i might not otherwise be open to.  it has helped bring color into my world, and i realize now that creativity and creation are hallmarks of what it is to be human.  when you create, you bring life into the world.  when you consume, you take life out of it.  creation and consumption are both equal parts of humanity and life, and they both have their place in this world, but lately i fear that we have become too consumptive and no longer creative enough.

i want to charge you, if you are reading this blog, with a commitment to creativity.  whoever, wherever you are in life, force yourself to commit to a regularly occurring creativity.  for some of you, that means you’ll start painting again, even if your paintings suck.  some of you may start doing artsy/craftsy things (i’m horrible with that kind of stuff). some of you might start woodworking, or writing, or gardening.  some of you have kids, and you say “well i just don’t have time for that anymore.”  bullshit.  commit to forcing yourself to “art hour” with your kid or something, where your kid plays with playdoh or something, and you commit to sculpting something that you aren’t just going to crumple back up and throw back into the jar.  force yourself to snap a pic & upload it to instagram.  and then do that regularly.  commit to willfully and intentionally doing something creative to bring life into the world, and do this every week, or every 2 weeks, for the next couple of months.  then reflect back, and see what new beauty it has brought into your life.

here’s my reflection back on the last 6 months of my life. i wanted to share a small piece of each place i went, so that hopefully you all could experience just a little of the kinds of experiences i had. obviously a video doesn’t do justice to real life, and the wonderful people that i met along the way, but between the writing and this video, this is as close as i can get.  enjoy…

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