A lot happened in my life last year and some things really started to change during the second semester.
It had been a year since I came out of school – hopefully for the last time in a while – and I had been working consistently. Maybe too consistently, too intensely, being paid too little and taking on too much. I was too “out there”, not being true to my feelings and ideals, dead set on the things I was told were important. And money.
I noticed a cycle. Having too much gear yet never the right gear, having too many projects yet never the right projects. I decided to try, on life, what I had been doing for my work: pull focus.
To pull focus onto something is to ignore the rest; dissolve it in a blur, pleasing in the background and never able to draw attention from what’s important.
We’re always in pursuit of the shiny and new things, pretending to be someone we don’t fit inside the skin, shouting to the void our accomplishments and expecting recognition from the crowd.
More likes, more shares, more views, more subscribers. For what? I had no answer.
I decided I was gonna be ok with less money. Less visibility. I decided to quit social media. I decided to cut back on the YouTube videos. I decided to sell a lot of gear and buy nothing to replace it. I started to pick the people I wanted to work with, and the reasons each project was important, passing the non-important ones.
I made a film of my own with the most amazing team. I suddenly had time to study and write on my own, I had time to spend with my friends without being in a work setting, I bought a new bike and I go at it as if anytime I could take off into the sky. I had a jolt of a realization about Ariana’s importance in my life and all the things I could learn from her.
Then, on the flight back home after New Year with Ari’s family, “Stupid Deep” clicked. The lyrics summarized my thoughts and feelings. I scribbled a bunch of animation notes and ideas on my little notebook. Some of my best thoughts come while up in the air.
During the next few weeks I dusted off my After Effects animation skills (of which I’m quite proud, one of the things I taught myself) that hadn’t been used in years and started animating one verse at a time.
That’s how I want to end this post, with these lyrics. If you got this far, listen to them, think about their meaning, simplify. Life feels better when focused.
“What if who I hoped to be… was always me?”