Thoughts on minimalism, inevitable doom, and weird movies

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Photo by Aaron Mello on Unsplash

Being 22 is weird.

And sure — so is much of 21st-century life in your early-to-mid 20s. We even coined the term “quarter-life crisis” to describe the arresting terror of realizing that — in the utopia of the modern first-world country — we still manage to find ourselves feeling lost and confused.

And then subsequently feel guilty for even feeling such things.

And there I go again
To the next further removed level
Of that same exact feigned humility!
(And this for me goes on and on to the point of nausea.)

This is why having a book or small journal of quotes is essential to surviving in an ever-expanding world. …

Or, “Your Word on Your Words Matters”

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Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

Have you ever been too early for a flight?

And I’m not talking about being early to your gate or having time to stop by the vending machines. I mean early.

Like literally rejected from admittance at the check-in desk early.

I have. And that’s thanks to Tom.

Tom is my stepfather — and he’s the kind of man that runs on principle to an obscene and austere degree.

He’s worked for the same company for thirty-two years — and has been late three times. He remembers this fact not as a standard of punctuality, but as an account of his failures.

He is virtually never late.

Out of every vacation, dinner, or excursion our family has been on over the years, he has never been the person that needs a few more minutes. In fact, the time he typically tells us to be ready by is usually an hour before he wants us to leave — to account for our own shortcomings on time management. …

Thoughts on growing up, growing old, and being okay with that

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Image by Andrew Amistad on Unsplash

I didn’t accept that I was balding until late last year.

It wasn’t the first time that I had noticed the receding hairline. Ever since I was a child, my hair came to a rounded edge in a strange “U” shape, which left my face framed with higher temples than usual.

My hairline went unnoticed for some time — as I wore my curly black hair first combed down towards my eyes, later straightened to make me feel “whiter,” and then ultimately left to hang limply in front of my face.

Eventually, I grew up — and my hair was swept backwards and slightly to the side. …

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Photo by Yoal Desurmont on Unsplash

Stop feeling guilty for needing a break.

(Author’s note: This story was written specifically for an audience that tends to overwork itself. Ergo — most of Medium. If that doesn’t sound like you…try to find few guides on how to be productive. Like mine!)

I was depressed in 2015.

It wasn’t quite an existential depression, or a crisis of self (that was 2014), but rather a crisis of vocation.

I remember staring at the number of zeros behind my then-current levels of student loan debt, thinking to myself, “I could’ve bought a Lexus with that money.”

That realization only amplified my demographically-appropriate levels of angst and anxiety and began to give me more and more anxiety. …

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Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

Hint — Stop Thinking About It

You ever read something you’ve written and thought to yourself, “Christ, I wrote that?”

Yeah. Same here.

There is an inherent permeance to writing online that I don’t think applies to many other forms of expression. When we’re growing up, we have horrible and short-sighted opinions that fade with time. Maybe we said something stupid or treated someone with undue malice. But — at the very least — there’s usually no evidence.

Making something personal and putting it online is a lot like talking to the police. Anything you say can and will be used against you.

A lot of my personal opinions live online.

Whether that be through social media platforms, on blogs and YouTube, or even on here…there’s probably no shortage of contradictory statements and doublespeak you can find. …

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Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

Whoever came up with the ridiculous notion that self-employment meant being your own boss clearly didn’t have any clients. If you’re running a startup, contracting independently, or offering any sort of service, you don’t just have a boss.

You have several.

The difficulty in working with several clients versus a direct superior is that there’s more than one person to impress, and an even higher chance that you’ll be passed up for someone else when you fail.

By the time you’ve factored in cold pitching, email correspondence with current clients, and problem solving any issues you may already have, you’re probably doing more more to keep your clients happy than actually doing the work you’ve been commissioned for. …

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Photo by Marcus Neto on Unsplash

Avoiding the superficial for the sake of your sanity

There are too many people writing without a thing to say.

There are too many bloggers with empty words and creators with hollow creations. Posts without a point. Stories without a story.

This hardly news for writers who get around — but the problem grows each and every day. Each growth comes with growing pains, and those pains come with frustrations and fears and anxieties all the same.

I think this is partially why many people flock to Medium. And partially why many on Medium are independent thinkers and doers — creators and bloggers and entrepreneurs themselves. …

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Photo by David Cohen on Unsplash

Swallow your pride and steal from others

Most people can trace their respective journeys back towards a singular point — a moment in their lives where they thought to themselves, “this isn’t good enough. I am better than this.”

My moment came halfway through dinner rush.

I was spending my days frying chicken and my nights writing screenplays and stories that nobody would ever see. I was miserable, I wanted more, and I knew I was better than this.

So I took to online forums read a little bit about this strange concept called Freelance Writing. At the time, I thought it was a way for people to pay you to do the kind of work they hate to do. …

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North Cascades National Park. Photo by the author.

Don’t let unmitigated passion hold you back

Passion is a frivolous word in the blogosphere. Follow your passion. Your passions will dictate your career. Don’t do something that you’re not passionate about. You’ve read the type of posts, and so have I.

While I agree with the sentiment of these storytellers and writers, I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that they’re selling an idea rather than anything actionable.

The truth is, telling someone to follow their passions is a lot like telling someone to follow their dreams.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Or, All Writing is Rewriting — Even Yours

I’m seated in a black plastic chair in a respectably large soundstage — three students to the left of me, eight behind, and one to the right. We’re watching a powerpoint assembled by a man who is clearly the most liberal professor at a for-profit Christian University.

This is COMM 1803. Introduction to Film Production.

“How many of you have written a screenplay?” He asks. My hand shoots up alongside four others.

“Alright,” he responds. “How many of you have edited that screenplay?”

Five hands rescind from the dead studio air.

“I hate to be the man to tell you,” he says — deliberately avoiding eye contact with any of…


Michael Ruiz

Lifestyle and culture writer from Atlanta. I make music, produce films, and travel when I can. The business side of me lives on

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