I’ve been neglecting my readers because it’s hard to be looking for a job, writing a book, taking photos, developing brands, and figuring out how to find joy in my life’s work.
Life is crazy. For centuries people had no clue that they weren’t living to their fullest potential. How could they know? It takes knowing what you’re missing to miss it. How do you know you need to protect your mental health when mental health isn’t a concept? Happiness was reserved for the rich.
Well, guess what? I reject that school of thought. I believe in doing what you must but what’s the point of living for a life you hate? I’m not saying you shouldn’t live if you hate your life. Instead, you should create a life that you will love. How do you do that? Well, since our country doesn’t offer free healthcare (specifically healthcare that includes mental healthcare), you have to put up with nonsense. But, while putting up with it, don’t lose focus. Know that you’re putting up with it to get to a place of less stress and more smiles. A place where relationships are more valuable than materials. You’re putting up with the rubbish so you can eventually put it down for peace.
Make more smiles a priority.
For the next few days, I’m in New York for what I have determined will be the concert of a lifetime. My favorite hip-hop group, The Diplomats, is performing in the city that I’ve adopted as my second home. I’ve been rocking with them for over half of my life. I’ve purchased (not stolen but PURCHASED) every album they’ve dropped. I have their apparel. I’m a fan’s fan. But, sadly, every time they’ve been in NC during my adult life, I’ve been out of the country or state. Most recently, I was in Thailand while they did not one but TWO shows in NC. 🤦🏿♂️😫
Know what? Tomorrow is not promised and so, in this moment, I decided I would be in NYC this weekend to see them close out the Dipset Forever tour in their hometown. As much as they break up and get back together, who knows which tour will be their last? So here I am, living my best life. I ain’t goin’ back and forth with you… well, y’all know the rest.
Oh, and, while we’re on the subject of being a fan, I couldn’t come to the city without getting a cut at the best barbershop on this side of the ozone layer: The Standard Grooming Company
. If you’re in Brooklyn, make sure you rock with them. While all three of the groomers in the spot are exceptional, I sit in the chair of the man who has been cutting my hair for over a decade now, co-owner Vince Jamael
. Definitely a fan not only of the work of Vince, Autumn,
, but also love the decor in their spot. Make sure you follow D Squared Visuals
on Instagram to see some of the dope shots I’ll be capturing here (I’m writing at the shop as I await my cut) and from around the City.
Ok. Now I have to figure out exactly what I’m doing with my hair. I haven’t gotten a cut since May! Here’s to a great weekend!
Make living without regrets a priority.
It is an empowering thing to see us breaking down society’s rules of what it means to be successful and, instead, define it as our happiness. Certainly, many of us stunt a bit on S.M. but we are making progress and that’s what matters. I love scrolling down my timeline and seeing my friends defining success and joy for themselves.
Whether they just got out the bing or started their own business or got a promotion or switched careers or decided to pursue dreams of spitting bars or finished reading a book or learned a new word or quit their job to travel the world, I’m happy for you. You may have just saved your first $100 or $100,000. I am happy for you. You may have just gotten engaged or announced you’re having a kid out of wedlock. I am happy for you. I am happy because I know that every step you take, even if it is a challenging one, is another step toward your destiny. You are going to be great and you’re getting greater each day you do something that causes love in and for yourself to grow.
Life is short. If you aren’t loving it, you’re wasting it.
Yesterday, I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off and I didn’t make time to write. Today will be the same but I decided to start my day off creatively.
On this day in particular, I want to say enjoy the weekend. Being an adult is hard and it can rob us of our joy if we let it. Pay attention to the underlined words. We have a choice in this thing we call life. Some may have fewer things to restrict them than others but we all have a choice. I don’t have kids so I may have more freedom than some folks with kids but someone has no wife so they can make decisions at the drop of a hat without consulting anyone else. Still, there are people with kids who have amassed such wealth that they can conceivably get up and leave work today and be no worse off. No matter what, we cannot live our lives buying into society’s narrative that, to be an adult is to be unhappy. I just won’t believe that. I like to believe I will always look for that opportunity to relive moments of youthful joy. I still know my dreams of making an indelible impact on humanity is possible. Shoot, I still love picking up books and reading for fun.
Life is too short to be unhappy, undervalued, unloved, or unloving. Today, I challenge you to ask yourself if you are happy. Do you feel valued and loved? Are you loving those things and people God placed in your life? If the answer to any of these is “No,” and you are just going through the motions, take time to figure out how to say yes to them all. And then take a step to do that. If it’s discussing a (deserved) raise at work so you feel valued, have that talk. If you and your significant other need to find a book so that love is flowing more abundantly on both ends, head to Barnes and Noble ASAP. Maybe finally starting that business you’ve been wanting to start will add to your happiness and I’m sure you can find some time today to do some research on first steps. Whatever you do, know that your time here is limited and, when it’s all said and done and you’re in heaven or hell or some box six feet deep thinking “I wish I had…” you want that list to be as short as possible.
Make having fewer regrets a priority.
“There’s always a choice.” — Charlie Cunningham
I’m at a stage in life where I don’t care enough to allow anyone to make me grossly unhappy. Thankfully, I’m in a position where I have the autonomy to come and go pretty much as I please. If the day is nice and I don’t need to be inside, I won’t be inside. If I don’t feel like wearing a tie and don’t have to wear a tie, I’m not wearing a tie. Conversely, if I feel like sitting in my office in a restful state with the lights dimmed, I’ll dim the lights. If I want to rock a tie, it’ll be a tie that I rock. Long story short, if it’s impractical and causing me undue stress, right now is the time I can let it go. I don’t have any dependents. One day, I may. So right now, I’m here in a polo, chinos, and chucks with the sky as my ceiling, my earphones playing a pretty cool Spotify playlist, and my lap as my desk, working on projects and loving this 68° cloudy day. Why? Because I don’t have any meetings today and I work well in different settings that allow for me to be inspired in different ways, so why not?
For too long, people were told that work had to be a stressor and that you shouldn’t be able to relax at work and I just don’t believe that. These are the same people whose parents and grandparents worked in sweatshop conditions without a department of labor regulating unfair practices. I believe in working hard but that doesn’t have to result in high blood pressure and health issues. Once your health is gone, it’s gone. And, to be honest, these companies and organizations will keep moving with or without you. So take that mental health day when you know you need it. Use your sick days for a check up at your physician and your dentist. I’m not saying abuse the system. I’m saying don’t be afraid to take care of you because these corporations and institutions will take care of themselves.
Break’s over. Back to work… from this park bench. 😁
Make working outside from time to time a priority (if that’s your thing).
I, like many people I know, would rather work somewhere for a little less money because I loved where I worked. The friends of mine who don’t have kids always know that they have options. And having options scares employers. If you have kids, you can’t quit as readily. If you have kids, you need to be able to easily transition and, how ironic is it that, fiscal years and raises come at the time when you could actually make that transition most comfortably?
Some employers want to keep you more scared than you are happy. They’ll pay you to give up your joy. But, if you don’t have to sell it, don’t. Sure, every day won’t be exciting or joyous but every day should be tolerable. The moment you realize that your job would be intolerable were it not for the paycheck, it’s time to start looking. Even if you have a family, there’s nothing wrong with securing an option that will reintroduce joy into your life.
Though we do not know how numbered, we do know that our days are, in fact, finite. Don’t let one pass and feel that it was wasted. Keep your joy. Protect your mental health. If you need help with your résumé, don’t hesitate to give me a call and we’ll make magic happen.
Photograph of DJ Ken “The Brooklyn Bouncer” Reid doing what he loves and getting paid for it.
Make joy a priority.
Nothing serious today. Just have some fun. It’s hump day. Tomorrow you’ve made it through half the week. Pat yourself on the back tonight. Have a beer if you need a drink. Watch Luke Cage if you need a new Netflix series to check out. Pick a book on iBooks if you like to read. Plan a trip if you like to travel. All in all, just kick back for an hour. Life is too short to be stressed out.
The picture above has nothing to do with anything but it made me laugh so I hope it does the same for you.
Make personal happiness a priority.