In some ways, covid gave me a gift. Sure, it was expensive and I’m sure there were many other ways of receiving said gift, but it was something that I didn’t know I needed … until I got it. But now it’s time to return that gift (in a way) and move forward.
The gift was time. And it was actually a very bittersweet offering.
In May of 2020 we were moving to Spain. Barcelona, to be specific. To start a new life of living as an expat far from the political shores of ‘Amurica. And I had a new hobby that involved cameras and YouTube. Life was going to be grand! … and for all I know, it could have been. But sometimes hardship makes things better. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Was I ready to live abroad back then? Probably. I had done it for months at a time with some success. Was I ready to be a YouTuber? No, not even close.
Now I know many folks are about to roll their eyes and click away. “He’s talking about YouTube AGAIN??? SHEESH!!!“. Yes, I am. But if it helps, insert whatever hobby-slash-passion you have that no one else is interested in and we’ll continue along as friends, ok? 🙂
YouTube is more than a hobby for me. At least now. Back in May of 2020 it was just going to be a way to share my adventures. The problem was … I had no idea how to make a decent video. Heck, I’m still learning. I thought it was like 1-2-3. Make a video, get subscribers, become famous. It’s not like that. It’s so much not. But I’m already semi-boring you, so let’s not belabor the finer points of film production and YouTube growth. Let’s move on to the gift.
What covid gave me was the time and reason to be better. And to discover what I really wanted to do with the hobby that wasn’t a hobby. I’m making two videos between now and the start of next week. And between them, not only is everything going to be different, but clarity will reign. For everything is a’changing. Both within myself, and with what the future holds.
Today’s video is going to be about burnout. And about guilt, mental health, struggle, and prison. I didn’t want to make this video, and honestly I still have apprehensions. But in order to make a left turn, you have to actually turn the wheel of the car. So I need to face what I don’t want to face. Get it all out there so I can start to move on from it. It’s going to be somewhere between cathartic and miserable.
And on Monday’s video … everything turns. I’ve been calling it The Pivot, but it’s so much more than that. It’s everything.
Now I’m not going to steal my own thunder, you’ll just have to wait until Monday for all of the gory details, but I do want to share some of the why. You see, most of you only know me from my works. My video subjects. Maybe you subscribed because you like my old topics of sex and relationships. Maybe some of you like the sound of my voice, and were continually amused at my ever-changing facial hair. (Forgive me, I’m fickle when it comes to beards). But starting next week … my stories and topics? They are going to be slightly different. More focused.
The gift that covid gave me, besides learning the mechanics of video production, was in trying things that were never going to stick. If you look back at my old videos you’ll see a whole period of … well, nothing cohesive. Then I tried cooking. I love cooking! What could be easier? It wasn’t. Then I did a stint about living life after a certain age that somehow found me thinking I could be the next Dr. Ruth. I actually really hated that attempt, but this isn’t the time to share that story.
I couldn’t get it out of my head that what I wanted to cover was a life of adventure. Of travel and living as a nomadic expat. But one can’t create videos and stories on that subject without actually being nomadic and adventurous, right? Which brings us to today. What happens when the confluence of covid lockdown meets mental burnout? When it’s sprinkled with a passion for something that can’t be attained? That’s Monday’s video.
I know I’m being cryptic, sorry about that. And yes, you’ve probably already guessed at the subject. I’ve only been dropping a dozen hints over the past few weeks. It’s about living abroad as I wanted to do starting last year. It’s about what I want to do with YouTube and my career. But it’s actually so much more … and that’s the purpose of this story.
What’s going to transpire when this year becomes next isn’t just a moment. It’s something pretty grand and momentous. And absolutely nothing is going to stop it. I won’t let that happen. I can’t let that happen. I may have to adapt and shift, depending on global issues and concerns, but when the new year rings out I will be living a completely different life … risks and whatnot be damned.
I feel like I have no choice, that this is what I’ve been building towards for years. There is a banner on the channel which has BREAK FREE in bold letters. It’s become my mantra. All of those videos I spent preaching and motivating about life after 50, about bettering oneself by being oneself, I apparently actually listened. You know how sometimes you reach a decision point and it’s “now or never”? How the decision you face will never come again? Maybe it’s “Do I marry Sally or she walks away forever”. Or something like that. This is my Sally. If I don’t make The Pivot now, I never will. It’s really just that simple. It cannot be delayed, my mental health won’t allow that to be a possibility. I have to either move left or right. There is no continuation of the path, and my choices lie in polar opposite directions. One of which I cannot even imagine walking.
So … have I been cryptic enough? I hope so (and also not). I’m not trying to stir interest by being secretive. For me, I’ve hit a crossroads and have the opportunity … and now the knowledge … to go in an incredible direction. I just need to be brave and stay the course I’ve set. For you, dear reader? If our shared prison sentence over the past eighteen months has been anything similar, you too are thinking about what happens when the parole board stamps your paperwork. Whatever direction you choose to walk, I encourage you to throw aside doubts and fears and march steadfastly towards your passions. Especially if you’re anywhere close to my age. Because as the old saying goes … If not now, then when? Make this your now.