I used to be someone completely different. (Part 1)
Oh hey there.
This is Jess speaking. I’m just letting you know in advanced to *Please approach with caution*
Introspectives are a little hard to swallow if you’re not prepared.
This is the truth as how I see it.
Do not read if you do not care to know. I won’t be offended, promise :)
“They say you die twice.
Once when you stop breathing and the second, a bit later on, when somebody mentions your name for the last time.”
This is a quote I made my career with. I believed in it so much that I breathed this for years. I wanted to leave a legacy of the most creative advertising campaigns you ever did see. I wanted to make my mark and change the landscape of advertising forever by way of wildly ingenious experiential activations.
Please, read the quote again.
For years, I chased this dream of leaving my name at the Cannes Film Festival, collecting award after award for creative brilliance. And all the while, I became miserable and I damn near killed myself drinking out of that dream.
I have to ask myself, why did I expect to see my work at Cannes? More than “I ain’t nothin’ special,” statistically speaking, all those nights I made reckless decision after stupid mistake when drinking diminished my chances for actually, like, breathing. I have no idea how destroyed my liver is, and I really don’t know if there’s any returning point. I’m not exactly holding out to be a 40-year-old anything, I’ll count my lucky stars if I make it that far.
“We are all buried in the same size hole in the end.”
Why did I think my name would be any more famous than anyone else’s? There are so many brilliant people in the world; so many whose names will never be known. I know all about Hitler and Mussolini [it’s insanity that we glorify murder], but don’t know jack shit about the engineer who thought launching a rocket into space was feasible at a time when the modern engine had really only been around for 30 years.
And at the end of my life, who will really give a shit? Probably not my grandchildren (and I only base that on how I treated my grandparents :( ).
All I can hope for is a happy existence, righting my wrongs, leaving as little of a footprint as possible, and exiting this world as gracefully as I can, realizing that, even if I fucked up a little bit, I got to experience one helluva journey.
So, when I began to embrace this change six months ago, everything that was the old me went away, including that quote.
“We are all just time travelers wandering through outer space.”
— My old roommate, George K.
I’ve done a lot of changing in the last year, and “the changes” are really just realizations of what life is supposed to be (for me. Everything is relative). I learned that it’s not about my career, and it’s certainly not about making money or getting that title or award (sure, it’d be nice..), but I’d rather just enjoy this crazy ride, finding the thrill of every up and and the low of every down, because I’ll never be able to experience it the same way again.
If I leave this world with an impact on one person enough for them to remember me once in good spirits, I’ll consider that to be my life’s work. That’s an expectation I can fulfill. And every day for the last six months, with the expectation that I could die tomorrow, I’ve tried to be nice to every person I have been given the opportunity to share a truly unique moment with.
The reality is, I’m now facing the reality. I’m facing the damage every day. I’m contemplating death almost every hour. I have had enough panic attacks to control them with one final exhale. And when I can overcome my fear of death with every breath I take, I’ll know I’ll have succeeded. It’s what I’ve been practicing as often as I can.
As scary as it sounds, it has made me the happiest I’ve ever been.
This is the truth as I know it.
Love & coffee through these all-nighters,