It’s the end of the year, which is when I always do two things…
Reflect on the past year
Set resolutions for the new year
Typically I keep these private, but I’ve decided to put an abbreviated version out publicly this year because vulnerability has been good to me as I’ll explain. So for those interested, here we go.
WHAT I LEARNED IN 2018
The past year (and a half) has been a whirlwind. I left NY and went nomad for 12 months, opened up about my mental health, launched the Mental Health League (MHL), landed back in Brooklyn, and started DJ’ing again. With all that external change came quite a bit of internal change.
Emotions Rule Everything Around Me
Beyond all the moves, the biggest change has been how I view emotions.
To be honest, up until recently I prided myself on rationality. I told myself emotions weren’t important and preached the joy of logic.
But while I was alone abroad that all changed. I was on a mission to figure out what to do next with my life. At first, I thought…hey, you just need to figure out a way to to make enough money so you can live cheap and travel the world for the next few years.
So I started working on a few ideas that would fund my nomadic lifestyle and quickly realized that money wasn’t a motivator, neither was the lifestyle. They didn’t get me out of bed in the morning. They didn’t light my fire.
Everything in those self-help and marketing books was true. Emotions trump logic every time. Once I realized this, I started the view the world in a totally different light. I started focusing more on what excited me and less on what would make me money (although the gravity of money is still a constant battle tbh). I became fascinated with storytelling, art, community and self-expression and how things made myself and others feel.
Which led me to the next lesson…
Vulnerability Is A Gift
The more you express myself, the happier you’ll be.
As I dug into my emotions, I realized that a lot of my malcontent was during situations when I couldn’t express myself and had to hide who I was. Situations where I had to dress like a suit or DJ music I didn’t like or build a product I didn’t believe in.
What was unsettling about this realization was a lot of the situations were voluntary. I didn’t believe I could be who I wanted to be to do what I wanted to do. I was proactively limiting myself to be what I thought people wanted me to be.
Looking back, the times where I took risks and radically self-expressed myself (aka I was vulnerable) were my happiest days. Not only that, but it had a multiplier effect of attracting the people and opportunities I wanted to pursue, which led to more happiness. Your vibe attracts your tribe as they say.
After realizing this, I figured it was time to overcome one of my ultimate fears – telling the world I’d been diagnosed with Bipolar and ADHD. So I did, and so far nothing but good has come from it. I’m working on the company I’ve always dreamed of, I’ve met a whole slew of new friends passionate about mental health, and generally have received nothing but support and vulnerability in exchange. Now, I know privilege plays a huge role in my positive experience and also that I don’t know how this story ends so I can’t recommend everyone go to this extreme, but in moderation I for sure encourage it.
Based on these lessons, I’ve mapped out my 2019…
2019: THE YEAR OF THE FEELS
In 2019, I’m going to do all the things I’ve always wanted to do and been too scared to do because they didn’t make sense or wouldn’t make me enough money or whatever other reason I made up not to do them. I’m going to push myself to be as vulnerable as possible and full express myself via any and all mediums (which will definitely be a struggle so keep me honest). I’m going to do all this…and see what happens.
And it just so happens that all of these things are centered around feelings. So without further adieu, here’s where I’m headed…
Mental Health League
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a friend of mine and therefore already know about the Mental Health League. That’s going to remain my focus. Bigger than raising money for mental health, our goal is to make everyone feel like a champion and help them realize that they’re not alone. We want to normalize and elevate the conversation around mental health and connect people to the community and treatment they need to move forward. If you haven’t already supported the cause, please do.
DJ’ing x All The Feels
Fun Fact: I’ve DJ’d more than 500 gigs in the past 10 years. Throughout that time, I always had this little voice in the back of my head tell me…You need to stop DJ’ing. You’re getting too old for this. This can’t be a career. It’s not the worth the time. Get serious.
Well, fuck that. I love DJ’ing. I hope to do it for the rest of my life. It may not be my main gig, but it’s the world’s greatest side gig. Realizing this my biggest regret is not letting myself really go down the rabbit hole and see where I could have ended up. Good thing it’s not too late. Here’s what I’m going to do in 2019 (well actually starting like now)…
All The Feels Mix Series: When I was abroad, music was my therapist. I created playlists to help pick me up, to make me feel grateful, to calm me down, etc. So I’m going to take that further and curate mixes based on as many emotions as I can possible come up with – starting with Gratitude.
Corporate Gigs, Weddings, Conferences, and More: While I’ll keep doing club gigs, tbh I am getting older and going to bed early is pretty cool. So I’m going to work to book more corporate, wedding, conferences, and other day gigs. Yes, I travel. Yes, you should refer me.
My 30th Birthday Party: Church
(It’s a working title.)
When I was in high school I threw a fake prom. Little did I know that would lead me to start three event companies, lose my college life savings throwing a Ying Yang Twins concert, throw 500 person field parties outside of NYC, and more. Just like DJ’ing, I kept trying to quit it. I had dreams of hosting a monthly party in Brooklyn, but always told myself no. Then while abroad, I looked back and realized how many of my best friends (and even jobs) had come from these events – most of them. Those events built my community, something I should never stop building.
So for my 30th birthday (March 6th), I’m organizing an event that celebrates human connection. Part dance party, part ceremony, my goal is that everyone who comes to Church leaves feeling more connected to the world around them and grateful to be a part of it. The goal of this is to (a) have an amazing birthday, and (b) if it’s tight, host it every month.
Details TBA. If you’re interested in coming or celebrating your birthday (Pisces only) as a part of the event, signup below.
Life is a roller coaster, I’m just trying to learn how to enjoy the ride. I don’t know where this is going to take me, but I know I’ll regret it if I don’t find out.
I hope life is giving you everything you need, and at least some of what you want.