Not sure where this is going to lead us, friends, but I've decided to document the process of starting over, at 37 years old, with no safety net in sight. I am terrified. That terror is very frustrating, because "old me" (meaning: young me) wouldn't have thought twice about any of this; he'd have just launched right in. I miss that dude. He was insane.
Most of what I assume I will share via these posts (and some audio posts if I get ambitious enough) will be my mindset throughout this process. Starting over is heavy business on the mental health of an individual, and while there are plenty of top ten lists and Forbes articles about how to manage your time and health and money and family and friends: I feel there's a severe lack of honest, fearful, uncertain "reporting" on the topic. I'm not 15 anymore, and I'm not 25 anymore; I'm young to the old, and old to the young. It's a precarious place to start from.
15 year old me was pretty intense and I liked him a lot. He played music for hours everyday, wrote stories, booked shows, hosted charity events at VFW halls, and embodied every bit of the punk rock culture that he was founded on. He would sit in the basement on his electric typewriter and come up with business ideas, write to public figures, or just riff on something he found interesting. That dude wound up being one of the youngest people to ever be invited to perform at the Rock n' Roll Half of Fame. He was full of himself, but he was a doer.
25 year old me was beat down. Music had changed with the advent and introduction of the consumer internet, the iPod and iTunes, and - of course - sites like Napster (if you're under 30 you might have to google that one). There was much to be lauded, but most of it was terrible for indie musicians who were living on dwindling merch sales. He got married too young, quit music, quit doing much of anything creative. He was sadder than any version of myself that I can recall. I don't miss him.
However, that version became the foundation for the next decade, for reasons I still can't really follow. I went to school for entertainment media and business and immediately stopped to anything of the sorts. That's just dumb. I was dumb. More accurately, I was Depressed (note the capital D), and unwilling to accept that I needed help. I got divorced at 27, moved back to Cleveland, and started living a normal, boring life. I'd like to think I wore it well, but I did not, and anyone who knew me during that period would give me shit for pretending I was holding up.
I tried to take my passions and turn them in to hobbies at the suggestion of just about everyone in my life at that moment. I'm hopeful that some of you who are reading this will fully understand this: my passions are so far beyond hobbies to me that it's impossible to try and contain them in such a way. For a while I viewed music, movies, comics, and all of the things that I loved most as a disease that was keeping me down; like they were illicit drugs that I couldn't be trusted with. If I got my hands on even a little bit, I would spiral out of control. This is how I viewed myself. Yikes. No wonder I was Depressed.
I only recently figured out how stupid I've been this past decade. That comes with its own set of frustrations and guilt, but at least I'm no longer under the illusion that my passions are weaknesses that are to be avoided. Fuck no! They are to be celebrated and worked on and built up. That's why I'm here, writing this silly post, because it's time to blow it all up and start again. Hopefully, my 15 year old self will finally be proud of me.