I’ve had FOUR people close to me pass away (which is a complete mind fuck, let me tell ya).
Then I woke up on this beautiful Saturday to find that Jimmy Buffett was no longer with us.
I was not a massive fan of his music (some of his songs, quite frankly, got on my damned nerves), though I did appreciate his impact on his fans and the legacy he leaves behind.
What I did admire was his salesmanship and his writing.
He took his laid-back lifestyle and turned it into a multi-billion dollar empire. He sold a dream of living by the water, drinking margaritas, and sailing on your boat to millions of fans who most likely had never even been on the water or had ever seen an actual beach.
Jimmy Buffett’s music and persona have become synonymous with escapism and the desire for a carefree, tropical paradise.
Many aspire to emulate his ability to create a brand around his lifestyle.
He was also a gifted writer. Being someone who tries to live that ‘Florida lifestyle,’ I was drawn to his books as an escape mechanism during the winter months and when circumstances dictated that I couldn’t be in Florida. Buffett’s books captured the spirit of his lifestyle. From tales of adventure on the high seas to stories of love and loss in paradise, his writing allowed readers to escape their everyday lives and dream of a life filled with sunshine and palm trees.
The loss of Jimmy Buffett is a reminder of the power of music and the ability of an artist to create a world that resonates with many people.
His songs transported listeners to a place of relaxation and enjoyment. Whether it was a beach party anthem like “Margaritaville” or a reflective ballad like “A Pirate Looks at Forty,” Buffett had a way of connecting with his audience on a deep level.
Although Jimmy Buffett may no longer be with us, his legacy lives on through his music, books, and the countless lives he touched along the way.
Life, as it’s known to do, has thrown a few curveballs as of late.
When you have upheavals in life, its best to stop and take stock of what’s happening, how you’re feeling, and most importantly – what the fuck you’ll do about it.
As you reach a ‘certain age,’ you begin to think about legacy.
This is especially vital for creative people:
What did I leave behind?
Will anyone appreciate my work when I’m gone?
Hell, does anyone appreciate my work NOW?
I had trouble answering those questions.
The honest truth is that I have not challenged myself creatively far too long.
I’ll give COVID partial credit for that: during lockdown, I worked at my day job and then basically sat around instead of hustling on a new business idea or creative projects. Prior to COVID, I would post an illustration almost every day on Instagram.
Since I wasn’t hustling, my design firm, Resolve Media, slowly withered away, and my last dependable client retired (she was with me since 1999!).
I sold the domain and walked away.
Fast forward: My ‘day’ job involved a lot more writing and less design. I enjoy writing, but it doesn’t ‘scratch that itch’. Then I got hooked on AI – spending hours at night writing prompts. Made some cool stuff, but nothing I’d hang on a wall.
I can’t remember the last time I got sucked into an engaging project. And to make matters worse, my ADHD is off the charts.
It makes me sad (and angry).
It makes me feel like I’m wasting my God-given talent.
Ok, John, so what are you going to do about it?
I’m going to put in the work!
I’m going to make art for myself and hopefully some happy paying clients again.
Happiness is a choice. You can CHOOSE to be happy. I will refuse the negative thoughts that push me down and discourage me.
Art and design will once again become a priority in my life (next to my dog, Bella, of course).
This morning, in a moment of frustration, and then clarity, I put it all down on paper and am putting my mission statement out there for the world to see.
Here it goes:
I know my worth: I am not underselling myself, giving discounts, or lowballing my work.
I am working on establishing my personal brand as a designer and writer. I will post and engage with my audience daily to build my following.
I am choosing precisely who I work with. If you dislike or are uncomfortable with who you work with, what’s the point?
I reject imposter syndrome and trust in my abilities as a graphic designer.
I am starting a new business idea as soon as my last idea fails. I will refuse to give up building my businesses and try everything until it works. Success is the only option.
I deal with creative block by getting away from the desk and going for a long walk or to the gym.
Comparison is the thief of joy. It’s a complete waste of energy.
If I’m delaying or don’t feel like working on something, I give myself 15 minutes to get started. Completing the task is more satisfying than procrastinating.
I work when my energy levels are at their peak to maximize my day and be able to do things I enjoy.
Health and fitness are top priorities. It requires absolute discipline when it comes to food and alcohol, with zero alcohol as the baseline.
I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. we’ll see what the next 6 months bring.
“Play the tape forward” is a common cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) technique often used in addiction recovery. Still, it can be helpful for anyone trying to make behavioral changes or decisions, and it’s essentially a form of mental visualization or forecasting.
Here’s how it works:
When confronted with a decision, particularly a potentially harmful one, you mentally “play the tape forward” to envision the potential consequences of that decision.
For example, suppose you’re tempted to drink alcohol after being sober for some time. In that case, you play the tape forward by imagining the immediate pleasure of drinking – and also the adverse outcomes — such as feeling hungover, experiencing regret, damaging relationships or job prospects, or jeopardizing your sobriety and health.
Be as specific as possible in your visualization.
The more detailed you are, the more powerful the exercise will be. For example, you might imagine going to the liquor store and buying a bottle of wine. You might imagine yourself opening the bottle and taking a drink. You might imagine how the alcohol would make you feel physically and emotionally. Or how lousy you’ll feel the next day.
Once you’ve played the tape forward, reflect on what you’ve imagined for a few minutes. How did it make you feel? What did you learn from the exercise?
Playing the tape forward can often help you see the negative consequences of giving in to your cravings. This can make it easier to resist temptation in the future.
Playing the tape forward can help you make more mindful, informed choices by allowing you to consider both short-term gratification and long-term consequences.
Here are some additional tips for using the “playing the tape forward” technique:
Be as specific as possible in your visualization. The more detailed you are, the more powerful the exercise will be.
Focus on the negative consequences of giving in to your cravings. This will help you to stay motivated to resist temptation.
Practice the exercise regularly. The more you use it, the more effective it will become.
This method can be used for any kind of decision-making, not just in the context of addiction. It’s a valuable tool for weighing the potential impact of actions and behaviors.
Other CBT techniques to consider
If you find the “play the tape forward” technique helpful, there are several other CBT techniques that you may want to explore:
Cognitive restructuring: This technique involves identifying and changing negative thought patterns or beliefs contributing to unhealthy behaviors or emotions.
Mindfulness: This practice involves focusing on the present moment and accepting things without judgment.
Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing yourself to situations or stimuli that trigger anxiety or fear in a controlled and safe environment.
Finding the techniques that work best for you and your unique situation is essential.
Consider working with a therapist or mental health professional to develop a personalized plan for managing difficult decisions and behaviors.
Ever felt a spontaneous yearning to pack your bags and go? A compelling urge to explore the unseen, untouched corners of the world?
That’s wanderlust, my friends.
What is Wanderlust?
The word “wanderlust” is a charming fusion of the German words “wander,” meaning to hike or roam, and “lust,” meaning desire.
The Appeal of Wanderlust
There are many reasons why people experience wanderlust. Some may crave adventure and new experiences, while others may seek a break from their routine. Others might still seek a deeper understanding of different cultures or a spiritual connection with the world around them.
The Science of Wanderlust
Studies have shown that travel can positively impact mental health, including reducing stress and improving mood. It can also lead to increased creativity and more significant personal growth.
Unpacking the Psychological Theories Behind Wanderlust
The Biophilia Hypothesis
Ever wondered why a simple walk in the woods can feel so rejuvenating? Edward O. Wilson’s Biophilia Hypothesis suggests humans inherently desire to connect with nature. This evolutionary bond drives us towards exploration and fuels our wanderlust.
The Self-Determination Theory
According to psychologists Richard Ryan and Edward Deci, we’re driven by three fundamental psychological needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Travel empowers us with a sense of independence (autonomy), the opportunity to learn and adapt (competence), and the ability to form meaningful relationships with others (relatedness). Our wanderlust might be our subconscious desire to satisfy these core needs.
The Curiosity-Interest Model
This theory suggests that our urge to travel is sparked by curiosity. It’s our intrinsic desire to discover, understand, and predict the unknown. Does the thought of an exotic location pique your interest? That’s your curiosity, and possibly wanderlust, talking.
The Brain’s Reward System: Dopamine, Serotonin, and Oxytocin
Our wanderlust also has some pretty fascinating chemical roots. Ever felt a rush of excitement when planning a trip or stepping off a plane in a new place? That’s a burst of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked with reward and pleasure. Travel can also boost levels of serotonin (associated with well-being) and oxytocin (the love or bonding hormone). These hormones work together, making us feel happier and more connected, thus perpetuating our desire to travel.
Wanderlust: A Rebellion Against Societal Constraints?
Sometimes, wanderlust is our spirit’s response to societal norms and constraints. Do you feel tied down by routine or societal expectations? Craving adventure could be your way of seeking an escape or expressing individuality. Traveling allows us to break free, shake things up, and live on our own terms – even if just temporarily.
Reaping the Psychological Benefits of Satisfying Wanderlust
Beyond the joy of seeing new sights and meeting new people, travel is packed with psychological perks. It can boost our mood, reduce stress, and stimulate creativity. It’s also an avenue for personal growth and self-discovery. As we navigate different places and cultures, we learn more about ourselves, our strengths, our values, and our place in the world.
Wanderlust is not merely a desire to break routine or see new places; it’s deeply rooted in our evolutionary history, innate psychological needs, and individual personalities. The next time you feel that irresistible itch to explore, remember it’s not just you wanting to roam.
Your nature, curiosity, and desire for self-fulfillment guide you toward new horizons.
You feel trapped. Every move you attempt to make is met by some wall – real or imagined.
The barrier could be a dead-end job, a bad relationship, or a feeling of lack: financial, spiritual, or plain old malaise.
I’ve personally had these feelings. It’s not fun.
You lay awake at night trying to put the puzzle pieces together that will solve ‘the problem’ — only to wind up in the same place the next day. (Pro tip: 3am is not the time or place for problem-solving.)
You need to get ‘unstuck and unf$%#d’.
It is a frustrating experience, but remember — it’s not a permanent state.
Let’s dive in and explore some practical ways to get unstuck and start moving forward:
Recognize That You’re Stuck
It sucks that we’re not progressing in the ways we’d like, whether in our careers, personal lives, or other areas. The first step of change is always the hardest. Go ahead and admit to yourself that you are stuck.
Confirming this reality is the first significant step towards freeing yourself. Look out for signs such as feelings of dissatisfaction, frustration, or feeling overwhelmed.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
It’s okay to have mixed feelings about change. Acknowledge and accept your emotions rather than trying to suppress them. This is a healthy part of processing change and moving toward acceptance.
Identify What’s Holding You Back
It’s essential to identify what exactly is holding you back. Fear of failure? Uncertainty about the future? Lack of motivation? A toxic environment? This identification process should be easy — but this exercise may cause you to discover other things about yourself or your problems that may have been simmering under the surface. Once you’ve pinpointed the issues, you can begin to address them head-on.
Learn from Past Changes
This can be a tricky one for some people. Some of us use the past as a crutch or an excuse for why our life isn’t better. This is a recipe for disaster.
Reflect, but don’t dwell on past changes in your life. What did you learn from those experiences? How did you adapt and grow? Use these reflections to build confidence in your ability to navigate future changes.
Set Clear, Achievable Goals
Without a clear direction, it’s easy to feel stuck. That’s why setting goals is so important. Your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This approach will give you a clear path and a sense of purpose as you work toward your objectives.
Goal setting shouldn’t be empty wishes.
‘Losing weight’ is not a goal; it’s a concept, and it’s neither specific nor measurable.
‘Lose 25 lbs in a week’ is neither realistic nor obtainable.
‘Lose 25 lbs by your friend’s wedding in October’ is more realistic and achievable.
Often, we’re stuck because we’re unwilling or afraid to embrace change. However, change is a part of life and is often the catalyst that propels us forward. So, lean into it. Embrace the new experiences, opportunities, and people that come your way.
Develop a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset, a term coined by psychologist Carol Dweck, is the belief that skills and intelligence can be developed with effort, learning, and persistence. This mindset encourages embracing challenges, persisting in the face of setbacks, and seeing effort as the path to mastery. You’re less likely to feel stuck if you perceive challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.
Use the Power of “Yet”
When faced with a difficult task, remind yourself that you may not be able to do it “yet.” This small word is powerful because it implies that growth and learning are on the horizon. It shifts your perspective from a fixed mindset (“I can’t do this”) to a growth mindset (“I can’t do this yet, but I can learn”).
When you’re feeling stuck, taking care of your mental, emotional, and physical well-being is more important than ever. This means eating healthily, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and taking time for activities you enjoy. These actions will improve your mood, boost your energy levels, and provide you with the resilience needed to tackle your challenges.
Sometimes, we’re our harshest critics. It’s important to remember to be kind to yourself. If you need a day off, take it. Watch your favorite movie, eat your favorite meal, and do what makes you happy.
It’s okay to ask for help. Reach out to trusted friends, family members. They can provide a fresh perspective, advice, and the emotional support you need to get unstuck.
If you’re uncomfortable sharing your issues with friends and family, a telehealth counselor or professional coach may give you the insights you want. They can provide you unbiased information, opinions, and a fresh perspective to help move you on your way.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, take action. Even small steps can start to break the cycle of feeling stuck. Don’t wait for the perfect moment; it will never come. Instead, make the moment perfect by taking decisive right now.
Feeling stuck in life is something that happens to everyone.
It’s not a sign of failure; it’s a sign that it’s time for a change. As you work on yourself, keep these thoughts and practices in mind:
Practice Gratitude: Stay grateful for what you already have. Being thankful attracts more abundance.
Believe: Have faith that you can achieve your dreams. Believe in yourself and your abilities.
Patience: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t expect instant gratification. Keep working hard and be patient.
By acknowledging the issue, identifying the causes, setting clear goals, embracing change, and taking action, you can break free and start moving forward again.
Here’s to getting unstuck and turning the page to a new chapter.