It has been a challenging start to the year. A lot of left over loose ends from the mad rush that 2013 turned out to make themselves known to start 2014. A lot of which, on their own, are just part of life. But condensed into the sprint that took place felt a little like running through a row of paddles as part of some initiation. Life kicked the life out of me, I felt like I was the all singing, all dancing crap of the world. Annie asked me, "How can I help you avoid the tailspin?" A very fair question from someone who my peaks and valleys directly and viscerally affects. A question that I have asked myself on more than one occasion recently. At the pace I am going right now, I will finish my current moleskin notebook in half the time of my last one, ideas were captured and the long looks into the mirror exposed. It was a little like insomnia, you're need really asleep and you're never really awake.
I realized over the past few years, that I have defined myself by my work. "Who is Andy?" was a question answer using the names of companies. "Who is Andy?" was answered with "not sure, think he's different now" if someone hadn't seen my latest update. "Who is Andy?" didn't have an answer that I was comfortable with outside of the version of Andy that I could fit into 140 characters. If you posted something different for each social network, were you a different person?
And as I continued to allow myself to define myself by what I was doing, I allowed my mental status to be defined by something external to me. If what I was doing wasn't doing well, then I wasn't doing well. If a project I was involved with was floundering, so was I. If a big pitched ended up as a failure, I claimed that status for myself. That stuff was my life.
But as the question of "Who is Andy?" began being asked less and less as more and more of what I was doing began to change. Projects I'd been involved with wrapped up or moved on. Pitches I'd been really proud of didn't pan out and the void left wasn't immediately filled with something else. And I just let that space exist and leaned into its awkwardness. When friends asked if I had time to catch up, I did and we did and nothing about the laughs we shared was not contingent on what I was doing. I wasn't my LinkedIn profile.
And so now, clearly in the midst of more change, I am finding clarity in the question of "Who is Andy?" Not in what I am doing, but in who I am in the eyes of the people around me that matter the most and in the slow moments where I am not a human doing, but a human being. But as those previous edifices fall and a new kind of freedom is uncovered, it is fair to say I couldn't have powered through this with out my friends and family, even if recently they met me at a very strange time in my life.