Sometimes a person needs to be surrounded by the less than usual. To process, to learn, and to decide. Well, that has been my weekend. Nothing breathtaking, just determining the future direction of my life.
Nikki has been away in the Bahamas since Thursday, doing volunteer work because her soul is good. (For the record, despite the color of my soul, I couldn’t join her because of work commitments. And yes, that’s my story). So having the weekend all to myself raised all sorts of possibilities, none of which happened.
I could have slacked in my underwear for three days, sipping beer and watching screens. I could have torn down the world and partied like I was in 1999 again. So many ways I could have played this weekend … and somehow what transpired was nothing less than what needed to happen. I decided what the next phase of my life would look like.
So, a restart. But a different type of one. To date I have reinvented myself a number of times, all into slightly different versions of the guy my mother birthed back in 1961. And so in the early moments of this weekend, I had considered just doing another painting of the walls and a rearrangement of life’s furniture. But somehow that felt incomplete. I wasn’t being forced to change, and there was no real reason to even contemplate doing so. But yet something told me that change needed to come and I should probably figure something out.
So what did I decide? Well, I’m going to restart by not changing. Not a damn thing about ‘me’ is going to be new. So … what does that look like, you may be wondering? Well, Life 4.0 for me is all about … removal.
OK, analogy time. Let’s pretend that life is like a television series with multiple seasons. For me, Season Naught was everything that came before the show was pitched and given the green light to pilot. Just random acts and stage gigs, looking for the magic. Lots and lots of improv, all looking for my big break. But no show title to put it all under.
My Season One story line became about moving life from the US to Barcelona, and then (temporarily) back again. Deciding what it was that made my character smile. Trying out new twists and plots. And it was indeed a grand season, although not without some shark jumps. But grand nonetheless. I traveled, loved, and all was pretty good in the world. I started a creative outlet and felt like I was growing towards something. But as all first seasons go, sometimes your variety show just needs to pick a direction and move towards that.
So my Season Two? Well, that starts today. And it has a destination.
Back to that removal process I mentioned. All throughout the previous season and pre-season, there were pieces-parts that just didn’t need to be there. Bad set design, and props that made no sense. Character traits that fought against, rather than supported. And so this weekend found me having revelation after revelation, realizing what was worth keeping, and what was worth tossing aside. And the biggest realization was that reinvention doesn’t have to be a hard reset. That those types have a high sense of failure because no one can really plan out who one needs to be a few months later. But if one simply focuses on what’s natural to themselves, and then stay attuned to who they are inside, reinvention is a continuous part of every day. As normal as coffee and morning boners.
OK, what about the specifics of that removal process? What are they exactly? Well, they’re everything that isn’t ‘natural’. Everything that was bolted on by what the world expects of someone who looks like me. All the rules that have the words ‘Tried and True” tattooed on them. Everything that I need to just let go.
OK, seriously (if I may for a moment), my ‘natural’ is being casual. Friendly. Sometimes manic and goofy, sometimes quiet and goofy. I’m the kind of person who puts his feet up when he chats with you. Whose hair probably isn’t set in place. Who will laugh at your lame jokes, and then poke you lovingly for being a bad joke teller. I’m basically a partially polished human being, who looks good enough for display on your living room wall, but will never make it to the halls of the Met.
It’s funny, because most of this was decided as I was trying to figure out my YouTube Channel. I know that I enjoy several aspects of this new endeavor. Really enjoy them. And yet some I dislike. As I watched other “Creators Teaching Creators”, I realized that while what they preached was formulaic enough to probably be a great idea for success, parts of those spiels were just YouTube versions of the lessons that life has taught me over the years … that there is a certain way to be, and not being that way makes you a bad person.
I suddenly knew what I wanted to do on YouTube. And Instagram. And various other online venues. I wanted to use them to have a fulfilling life in the real world. Flipping how they extoll a virtual existence, and using those platforms instead to be social, successful, and joyful in a world unconstrained by bits and bytes. I wanted to create videos when I wanted to create them, and not on a schedule designed to build an audience. I wanted to sit back on my sofa and chat with the viewer like they were a friend on the same couch. No studio, no polished cinematic sequences, nothing cookie-cutter. I wanted my videos and offerings to be just some dude talking about life and laughter with another dude or dudette over a beverage. Casual. Real.
And as I was realizing what I wanted to do ‘online’, I was also realizing that it was a metaphor for what I needed when the camera was off. Just living my life with a casual casualness that is natural. Free. Real.
So … welcome to my Season Two.