Before we continue, I need you to switch on Airplane Mode on your phone. Trust me on this, it will be worth it. Done? Ok, let’s continue.
“I’m retired.” These words don’t quite make sense to the people who hear this. Everyone does a double-take. Some dismiss it like it’s a joke. Others are super curious about what they just heard and it’s context. These are the ones I’m writing to.
Yes, you! The curious ones who wonder and express their wonder. I love talking to you all. You are the ones who are actually listening to what I have to say. And I hope that you will also find something in there to apply and change the very fabric of your life.
This letter has no format and no structure. If anything, it’s just going to explore and answer the question in everyone’s minds and mouths.
“Why? What do you mean retired?”
Disconnect to Connect
When I hit puberty, I also discovered that taking a whiff of gasoline could quite literally blow my mind. I learned to connect to something outside of this world but that meant I was disconnected from this world. Fair bargain if you ask me.
I was a voraciously well-read kid who ‘knew’ the risks of dallying with drugs. I’d read horror stories but made my choice anyway. Of course, like all choices we make, one can really question the agency involved. Nonetheless, I spent a fair amount of my life disconnected. I developed a deeper connection to the unseen, intangible, and intuitive world. None of which provides credentials or continued education points. But I tasted what the ancients referred to as the unknown, the subconscious, the netherworld, no man’s land?
Wondrous imagination aside, I developed a strong connection with myself - the good, bad, and ugly. I could see myself for everything that I was, I could be and I wanted to be. It was an empowering experience. To know that I was capable of raising myself to the heights of glory and losing myself to the depths of depravity. I rejoiced in the delightful that chasing the Dragon was takin me spiraling down the abyss of the mind. Until I imploded into a state of limbo. That breakneck rollercoaster ride down suddenly gave way to a perception of suspended animation. Congratulations! Officially disconnected.
All the King's horses
And all the King's men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
The Cost of Connection
I enjoyed almost every moment of my hedonic life. Until I found the lesson I was looking for at the bottom of the bottomless abyss. In that sacred space, all alone I learn that all one truly wants is to share. I had squandered my entire life, rife with promise and potential to experience this great truth of life. I had severed all ties with the world, with the people I knew. I was a ghoul, a creature of the shadows, a beast amongst men.
I resurfaced with my realization, but I now sought a new perspective of where I belonged in this world. What could I share and more importantly why I should even care? I soon embarked on another journey to rebuild my broken self.
I discovered the breadth of the worlds’ ambitions and slowly partook of the wine that makes man worldly. I discovered ambition. I wanted to build myself. I wanted to build an identity. I wanted to create a legacy.
High on the desire to build, I tasted failure and success both. Embracing and reconnecting with people, however, was my hardest task. Allowing people to love me, help me, and support me has been a challenge, I face even today. Making an effort to connect, to build bridges, to build others, some as broken as me, some barely even scratched is the most rewarding experience of my present. As always, however, I overstepped my bounds and reached beyond.
…who names a starship the Icarus? What kind of man possess that much hubris, that he dares it to fall?
- Amie Kaufman, These Broken Stars
Obsessed as I was becoming with the world around. Material success, connections, and the hubris of being a ‘helper’ were taking me farther and farther away from the self I’d discovered in the deepest recesses of my mind. I defied the warnings of my loving Teachers, dismissed the opinions of my peers, and misunderstood the adoration of my students.
But a catastrophe called COVID-19 got my attention and I experienced another moment of liberation. This time it was a reminder to look within. To remember the child who was curious. Who was caring. Who loved to learn. Who wanted nothing more than to play.
In a flash, I made up my mind and discarded my pursuits, my dreams of world domination, my desire to rule an army of minions. Ever since I’ve been in the process of winding up my worldly affairs. I’ve since brandished the social status of retired like any self-respecting grandpa would. A busted knee and a quarter yeard go a long way in completing the picture.
I’m not here to compete. I care not for titles, credentials, accolades, hustles, and what have you. I’m not an illustrator, but I will draw. I’m not a writer, but I will write. I’m not an expert, but I will explore. I’m not a noun, but a verb. Welcome to my world! Let’s connect :)
A person's life may be a lonely thing by nature, but it is not isolated. To that life other lives are linked.
- Haruki Murakami
My extreme life may sound deliciously romantic and it is exactly that. A modern-day quixotic tale. But kids, do not try this at home! Don’t treat this as an invitation to copy or re-create my adventure. It will lead to serious physical and psychological injury, from which you may never recover. My life’s stunts were performed neither by a professional or under the supervision of professionals. But I survived to tell the tale. Lucky? Hell yeah! Though I’d like to say hard work, dedication, skill, talent, and bull-headedness. Don’t you dare take my word for it!
That said, there are many ways to healthily disconnect with the world and reconnect with yourself. Without uprooting your life and throwing it away. Wondering how? Well, you just did it. Congratulations, you accomplished what I’ve spent the last 40 years of my life trying to do. You spent the last 4 minutes disconnected from the world and yet connected to another being’s earnest desire to share. Thank you 🤗
That’s all for this Manic Monday folks. I don’t curate, I converse. So if you want to hear my thoughts on something or just want to complain about the lack of GIFs, DM me on Twitter and we can Zoom too. If you don’t know how you wound up here, yet felt strangely at home listening to me talk about movement, madness, and mortality, subscribe for more.