When Life Gets You Down (ft. Casey Neistat)

I was discussing my family tree with my grandmother the other day. She was telling me stories of relatives I’ve never met, jobs they had, and who their kids are. At the end of the conversation she said, “I’m just so proud of everyone.” She said that her father was a sharecropper and right now her son was in London, her niece was a judge, and everyone was doing so well. She was overjoyed at how quickly things had changed and she encouraged me that anything was possible with hard work and opportunity. Her words reminded me that I have the freedom to create whatever life I want, and I needed to hear that because it inspired me to keep at it.
Randomly, the next day I had the thought, <em>I love my name</em>. My name suits me perfectly, its brevity and ability to stand alone, are who I am. A few hours later I decide to watch a Casey Neistat video after not having watched them in a while. I didn’t realize the video had become background noise until I heard him say my name. He was answering a question sent in by a girl named Lia (sp?) and hearing my name made me pay attention even more. I listened to his answer and I was even more inspired.
Just like everyone else, there are times when life ‘gets me down’. But actually, it’s not life that gets me down, it’s my choice or thoughts and/or actions that get me down. When it happens, one of the quickest ways for me to change my focus and to feel better is to remember that just a short time ago, people worked long, hard days in tough conditions and for little or no pay. I am the byproduct of hardworking people who prayed that those who came after them would have their rights, an easier life, and could create the lives they wanted.
We’re all entitled to bad days, and we all have the power to get back up when life gets us down. Don’t allow down days to be your new normal.


I tend to admire things I can’t do and the people who create those things. There are pieces of painted art I don’t like and wouldn’t buy or hang in my home, but I marvel at what I don’t have the skill to do.
I drew the picture above freehand, it’s a ‘scene’ from my old Super Mario sheets. I remember spending hours drawing these and all the other characters on those sheets.
I wish I had an designer’s brain. In my free time, I can spend hours looking at packaging on pinterest, logos on dribbble, and illustrations on behance.
I know there are skills that can be learned and with a crazy amount of hours of practice, I could improve. But, right now, I prefer to dabble and spend the majority of my time writing.
I have a desire to be a graphic designer, but I don’t have a desire to do the work it takes to be a graphic designer. And you can’t have one without the other. So for now, I hack, I mimic, I copy, and I steal like an artist.
I recommend you do the same.
Whether the thing you admire, wish you could do, or enjoy is something you want to turn into a career, or if it’s just a fun hobby, reproduce. Sing the song and match your pitch to the singer’s, play the instrument and perfect the chords, look at the photos, learn the buttons on your camera, and take similar ones, watch the videos and mimic the editing, you get the point. The best way to practice, to learn, to find your style, your voice, and your individuality is to replicate.
The reason there are entire sections of the same type of books and entire genres of the same type of music, and entire websites dedicated to the same type of pictures is because every creator, by the time they’ve practiced, copied, and stolen enough, brings a fresh and unique style and POV to their work.
Don’t abandon the things you enjoy, even when other things in life demand your attention. Spend some time each week practicing, listening, studying those who’ve done what you want to do and from all those hours and all those influences, design the work you want to gift to the world.


The picture above is the first page of the first journal I remember having. My mom bought it for me and it’s full of terrible handwriting, bubbles as the dot over i’s, and backwards letter f’s because at the time, that was the cool way to write. But, I loved it, I loved having a place to write down all my thoughts, quotes, lyrics, and sometimes drawings.
Until I opened this book to write this post I never remembered saying that I wanted to be a writer. It made me both sad and happy to see that. Sad, because had I stayed on the writing path and honored that childhood passion, I might have figured out my career earlier in my life. Happy because although I strayed from it, I found my way back to my childhood passion.
I was a huge sports fan back then, these days I still enjoy sports, but I spend more time working toward my dream than I do watching others live out theirs. I loved and still love Psychology and the study of the mind and behavior. So, it makes perfect sense that I would have combined it all and want to write commercials or interest pieces for athletes.
The paragraph in the middle of the page is my favorite part:
“You know how at the end of major sports competitions, like the basketball championship, or the World Series how they go back and take out all the glory moments, and the funny moments, etc and they kind of show them real slow and they always put them to music and no matter what it is, it always comes out nice? Well that’s what I want to do.”
It speaks so much to what I currently love doing and again, it makes me sad that I dishonored that part of me. But, I am now using this as my motivation. Now, I use my words and my flair for the dramatic to inspire, encourage, and tell the stories of ambitious young adults.

Journal Story

 w r i t e r
There’s a lot of work that happens before you arrive at knowing who you are and what you want to do.
When I look back through my old journals, the theme of what I wanted to do was always to inspire, help, and serve. I didn’t know how, but, I had confidence in my ability to make it happen.
I’m starting a series called #journalstory where I share a page from an old journal of mine and what it meant for me both then and now. No matter where you are in your quest to figure out who you want to be and what you want to do, I hope an insight into my journey helps.
If you want to take a trip down memory lane, share an entry from one of your old journals or an old blog post and share it with us on twitter using the hashtag #journalstory.

Take Alfie For Example

When people want you to be more or to do more, that’s their problem.
Take Alfie Deyes for example since people seem to enjoy making him a target. People place their expectations on him, and then they’re disappointed when he doesn’t rise to meet them. But, he too has a path, and he also has the right to live his life as he chooses. I can easily show you 21-year olds who couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to responsibly handle what he has going for him right now. Just like I could easily find 21-year olds who are doing great, lasting, and impactful work in the world, and who don’t post it.     
The World Needs All Types!
Writers find their voice. Artists find their style. Not everyone’s calling, work, or purpose is the same, and not everyone comes into their own at the same time or age.
Sometimes people want you to come out the gate on level 100. Meanwhile, you’re functioning and gracefully excelling at level 47, steadily climbing to 100, and you have every right to. It’s silly to think that everyone can and should mature at the same age, that they will all at the same time see the world through the same lens, or that all at once they will rise up to revolutionize that world. Allow people the space to grow, mature, and learn at whatever pace their life allows.
It’s one thing to want someone to explore what they’re capable of doing and becoming, and wanting them to dream bigger or to live up to their potential. It’s another thing to beat them down and try to shame or guilt them into being what you define as “more”. If they did it out of shame, guilt, or peer pressure, it wouldn’t be authentic and lasting anyway. The thing is, even when a person reaches whatever level you’ve made up for them, like even if Alfie creates the moving body of work you think he should, there will still be opposition. That opposition will come mainly from those whose fears will be reflected back to them through his success.
Stop sucking the life out of people; it doesn’t make you look tough, it exposes your thoughts about yourself. And stop living through other people. Quit wanting them to ‘get out there’ or ‘put out higher quality content’ when really you’re saying you want someone to do the very thing you’re afraid to. Everyone finds their thing, their work, their passion in their time.
There are followers who…
  1. love everything you do and say, no matter what. They get alerts when you post anything on any platform and ‘like’ everything you post. They think anyone who doesn’t is a hater.
  2. think you should ‘up your game’ and put out higher quality content. They keep up with you even though they say they don’t like you. They can’t stand to watch you and they can’t stand not to, so they can whine about you not being ‘deep enough’ or ‘creating content that matters’.
  3. take and accept you for exactly who you present yourself to be. They know what type of things you post and if they’re in the mood for it, or they genuinely like it, they watch it, ‘like’ it, and/or let you know. When you don’t post, they carry on with their lives and if they don’t like what you post they just go watch something else. But, they want the best for you, so they will let you know when you’ve screwed up. They recognize that you’re an imperfect young adult trying to figure out his or her way in the world, just like them.
People place expectations because they want you to match their ideal you. But that’s their problem. You’ve got enough stuff to handle, don’t carry their bag of expectations around too. Live your life authentically and with integrity. What you do now and who you are now will not be what you do and who you are forever. Enjoy where you are, challenge yourself as to what you can do, and live a life that makes you proud.
*Alfie Deyes was merely the example person I used to reinforce a point. I do not know him personally, and this isn’t a post against or in support of him. Although, just like all of you, I am rooting for him.