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Today is my twenty-first birthday, which as any underage kid trying to finagle his way into Blind Barber can tell you, is a landmark day. Aside from the fact that I can now retire my four-year old fake ID (shout out to the state of California and their extremely flawed identification system), and from this day forward I will never again have to sheepishly ask my of age friends if a bar "cards hard" or not, I can't help but wonder about what this day is worth. As everyone says on his or her birthday, I don't feel any different from yesterday. Maybe a little bit more relieved, but that's obviously fleeting. Turning one day older is no great measure of success, but naturally I'll go out tonight, act like I'm the greatest person that has ever graced this earth right before blacking out. Regardless, I can't help but think about what I've actually accomplished so far in my life. And yes, before I delve into this, for all of you skeptics that are older and far wiser than I, I do realize that I'm only twenty-one and I have many years ahead of me, but that's part of the problem here, I'm twenty-one, I have an ego, but what have I really done?
I think it's a persistent problem with my generation that our achievements are more tangible than our parents', or our grandparents', therefore we inherently think that what we have accomplished is much greater than it actually is. In this past year and change, I've moved to New York, started a blog, picked up a few freelance jobs here and there, written some articles, met some great people, done well in school, found a job and generally been very content with my life. Yet, at the same time, I haven't really made any money, I've made an ass out myself more times than I can count, I still live off my parents, I'm still terrible with women and, worst of all, I have a false sense of entitlement that comes with a false sense of achievement, all wrapped up in an ego that seems to grow as the days progress. So, sure I have a blog and I think it's great and it's opened up great opportunities, but that doesn't really mean anything.
I thank them and smile and all that, but inside I'm thinking, an inspiration for what? For writing blog posts about roped shoulders instead of doing my homework?
I keep coming back to my parents, and what they'd done at my age. My mom and dad worked their way through school, focused on their jobs, paid their own tuitions and graduated feeling ready and fulfilled. Me, on the other hand, well, I keep thinking that I'm going to peak and fizzle out. I mean, what's going to happen when I graduate? My blog generates no money, I don't really have any savings to speak of and it seems like everyone these days is trying to "get a job in something, anything, somehow in menswear." In eight months when I graduate this could all disappear, and then what do I have? Stories about how many people used to read my shit? How many hits I used to get on a great day? How many followers I used to have? That'll be real great when I'm working at Duane Reade (no offense to anyone who works at Duane Reade).
Sometimes people will email me or, once in a while, come up to me on the street and say something like, "I really like your work, man, you're an inspiration." I thank them and smile and all that, but inside I'm thinking, an inspiration for what? For writing blog posts about roped shoulders instead of doing my homework? For knowing some people but not really knowing any of them? For being hung over from trying to soak up as much of last night as possible? I guess it's not all bad. I've lived (hopefully) a quarter of my life, and I've done some things I couldn't have ever even dreamed of doing before. Consider this an open reminder to myself, and to everyone out there like me, to keep things in check. Sure, we've all done some impressive things, but it's all just a process. We grow up, we get older, things happen, things don't happen. It's all part of living. In the years ahead, I'm going to do my best not to get in the way of what I can accomplish. All that I've done so far, whether I think it's a lot or a little, I can only hope that there's more to come.