I used to think I was a man set in his ways. Hell, I still try to pitch that idea when I’m being stubborn about something. The truth is, I’ve made multiple drastic changes in my life. My father showed me that change can happen at any time, and when I was in my early 20’s watching my dad get his degree, I knew it wasn’t just lip service. He had turned his entire life around when he was older than I am today.
Speaking of how old I am today, I just turned 40. That’s me and my kids after I blew out my candles. It’s funny when I thin about it, because at 30, sitting home and eating cake with a bunch of kids wasn’t my idea of a great birthday, and I HAD 3 kids. That speaks to the idea that we can continue to reinvent ourselves and make changes as we age.
When I look back, it seems like I reinvent myself every decade. You can even take that back to childhood, and say that my first reinvention was when I was around 11, and decided I wanted to draw comic books. The second came when I was around 20, and embraced my new role as a tattoo artist. The third was at 30 and I opened my studio, launching my role as business man and entrepreneur. It looks like it’s time for that to happen again.
Now this isn’t overnight change. These are natural progressions as I navigate my situations, clarify my intentions, and commit myself to moving forward. The last 10 years has been total fucking madness most of the time. I waded through chaos for the majority of it, scrambling just to hold onto threads of sanity to keep me going. Through divorce, depression, anxiety, alcoholism, suicidal ideation, marriage, kids, mortgage, life, death, loss…it’s a rollercoaster.
That just fucking life, though. I’m not a special case. This is the same bullshit millions of other people have to go through every single day. I haven’t been given a shit hand. If anything, my life is amazing. We all have to deal with pain and loss, and huge numbers of people have to deal with addiction and mental illness. It could be so much worse, and I should be grateful I even have the opportunity to deal with my struggles. The struggles of others can be so much more difficult by comparison.
The only thing about me that’s special is that I am introspective enough to understand how my own thoughts and actions have brought me to this place. That’s not even that special, either, because that shit can be taught and cultivated in anyone. It’s the entire catalyst of making changes in your life. Without self awareness and reflection, you’re bound to get stuck in those patterns of thought that keep you exactly where you are, in that dead end job or lonely marriage or those friendships that only offer drama. If you can’t look at yourself with introspection and see what’s happening now, yo won’t be able to change what happens later. You’re just blowing in the wind of circumstance.
Which brings the circle right back around to me, and turning 40, and what that means for my own personal growth. I’ve talked a lot about how tattooing doesn’t hold the same fascination that it used to, and how I want to do other things with my life. I’ve also been pretty open about the fact that I don’t know exactly what that means, or how change is going to manifest itself.
All I know is that there’s other things I love. Other things that make me happy, other things I thoroughly enjoy for no reason whatsoever. I’m just going to grab those things and squeeze the fucking life out of them, and hope that I stumble into the satisfaction we all deserve.
For now, that means I’m going to make a lot of art. I’m going to write, vlog, go to thrift stores, hang out with my family, and take midday naps. I’m going to eat delicious things and then feel guilty about it. But most important, above all else, I’m going to use these experiences to help other people.
I don’t know what help looks like from one person to another, but I do know that no matter how different we are, we go through life the same way and experience many of the same things. We feel the same emotions and ask the same questions of ourselves. We wonder “can I even make changes in my life?” We often don’t have an answer.
Lean on each other in support. That’s what I’m here for, if I’m to be completely honest. Hopefully you can see me fuck up and feel like shit, and then maybe you won’t feel like shit when you do. We’re all human. The happiness and contentment isn’t in our destination, it’s in the journey.
All that stuff, and whatever other cliches you’d like to add in, ad infinitum. You get the idea.