Hustle The Most Episode 19: Life Moving West
This podcast has been interesting looking back at things through this adult kind of retrospective lens. Sometimes when I look back I see mistakes or maybe other choices that could have been more beneficial. I am a pretty big fan of the phrase: “you don’t know what you don’t know”. It’s easy to look back and think to yourself “well that was dumb”. But ya know its like hindsight is 20/20 and ya know forrest through the trees and any other cliches you can think of for being ignorant. short sighted probably just young and foolish.
Years ago while on tour I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. Seattle Washington is one of my favorite places in the entire world. The views are from the I-5 bridge are some of the most amazing views I have ever seen. The people are great, the food is fantastic and rain is absolutely brilliant. I really moved there just looking for something different. I had these visions at one point of being stuck in Flint or Detroit, working a job and playing in some band. I think it just wasn’t for me. I have said this before that If I had never picked up a set of drum sticks when I was 14 years old I would probably be in Flint at 40 years old working at a fast food place or something equally as outlandish. I mean maybe not because I like to hustle and try to make something out of the nothing but I think that part of successful hustling is having a positive attitude and when I was living in Flint and Detroit I don’t think I had the right attitude or outlook to successfully hustle the most. I remember when I was talking to my Dad about moving out west and I said that I was a little hesitant because I didn’t want to be so far away from him and he told me to just go. He said I got stuck in this town years ago. He was talking about Flint. He said he wished that he had moved out of the city years ago but he got stuck there. He got married and had kids and we were in school and he just settled down there and he kind of always regretted it so it said If I had an opportunity to leave I should take it.
So I moved the Washington in 2001 and lived there on and off for about 10 years. It’s crazy to me how far away Seattle is from everything. I mean look at a map and just look at Seattle and then look at everywhere else. It’s so far away. I think it was really good for me to move so far away. I think anyone in their 20’s should move away or travel and just get out and see stuff. I honestly think it was the best thing that I could have ever done. I remember on the way out the biggest skies and some of the coolest landscapes that I had ever seen. It’s interesting because I had traveled that same path in van a good amount of times while on tour but I this was different. I had all my stuff in the back and I was on my way to something different. I had no idea really what was ahead for me but I was taking a leap and it felt pretty amazing. I moved to out there in April and if you have been the Pacific Northwest in the spring you probably get it but the Puget Sound is so beautiful in the spring. Big bright blue skies and you can see for miles. Mount Rainier boldly standing tall and snow capped all summer long, it’s just brilliant.
Anyway so I moved out there and kind of fell into the same scene that I was in in Detroit. Hanging with a bunch of hardcore kids that were in bands and ate at vegan restaurants. This wasn’t a bad thing it was what I knew so of course I just gravitated to it. I felt like things were much lighter there. This was my first real experience just inserting myself into another scene. I mean I guess I kind of did it when I moved from Flint to Detroit but there was some overlap so it was similar but this was like a full on self immersion. I had a few friends that lived out there but I didn’t really see them very often. I had this weird epiphany after being there for a few weeks. I thought that when I moved there it would be very much like it was when I was there playing shows where everyone came out to hang out and it was like a party but the reality was that once you live in a place and you there there there. It’s just like everywhere else. People have jobs, girlfriends and responsibilities and my assumption that the party never stops and people would go out of their way to hang out was completely wrong. This one actually hit me pretty hard. I had an assumption and I was completely wrong and it actually took me a while to figure that one out.
Let’s talk about assumptions for second. Assumptions are pretty dangerous and of course we all do it but it’s kind of like making a bet. When you make an assumption you’re betting that something is going to happen and most of the time we act on it thinking that we are right. We have this process in the design world where we question all of our assumptions so we can make informed decisions. If you are designing a car or a building or a city something that is going to have some longevity you want to question every assumption you can think of and then some. I think that making assumptions is like skipping a crucial step in a decision making process.
I am just going to go out on a limb here and say that I think making assumptions is basically setting yourself up to fail. Again It’s like a bet. You are betting that a thing it going to happen or that someone is going to say something. Let me tell you really quick how I used to destroy my day by assuming. This is small very small thing that just crushed me every single time and I did it for years. When I played in a band this band in Detroit we would have practice every Tuesday and Thursday and on those days I would think all day long while while at work about practice and different song writing ideas that I had that I wanted to work on at practice. When I would get to practice and someone would say “ I gotta roll early so can we just run through the set and bounce” and I would instantly be in the worst mood ever. Instant attitude shift. Totally not fair to anyone else in the room and it was 100% internal and it just crushed me. I set myself up by thinking something was going to happen, didn’t communicate it to anyone and was totally crushed when it didn’t happen. This completely the dumbest thing in the world but I would be willing to bet money that I am not the only one that does this. I mean it was totally and 100% on me and completely dumb and the lesson learned from that is: that’s what I get for assuming.
I only lived in Washington on that stint for about 9 months. About 4 months in things started to fall apart for me and about 6 months in I got the itch to tour again and get back out on the road playing shows. It’s weird touring is kind of like calling that is always in the background. I don’t know if it’s about the stage or the travel or the excitement but it’s fun and liberating and it’s always there just kind of lurking. When I decided to leave I had gotten a few great opportunities to play in a few bands but they were all from the East Coast. I had a plan but about a week before I left I was presented with some other options and I had to make a call. I was headed East but was I going north or south? I think we will get into that in the next episode. Let’s jump into what I learned from all this.
So let’s talk about what did I really learn from all this
We talked a little about assumptions so I don’t think I am going to dive into that too much I think that pretty much speaks for itself. I think what I want to get into is that I learned how to move. That’s sounds dumb and general but let me unpack that for a minute.
I have met a lot people that feel trapped just can’t seem to break the cycle and just can’t get out. It’s scary I get it but I have moved cities more times than I can remember and once I did it once it just got easier every time. It’s not different than changing a tire or building a deck or making a snowman. Every time you do it gets easier. Have you ever assembled something like a bike or a skateboard. After you do 3 or 4 in a row you get in a groove, you get a process and it just gets easier and faster and with way less headache than the first time that you did it. If you want to know more, call me, text me, DM me. I’ll fill you in on how it worked for me and how it can work for you to make the change, get unstuck and just break the cycle.
I learned that we all fit into a vibe and sometimes that vibe changes. It’s not as much about location as it is about the types of personalities and scenes that we gravitate towards and why. I have always been stoked on people that like the same kind of music as me or people that are into hardcore and punk. That usually meant that we would have possibly similar view on things like politics, possibly vegan of vegetarian food and which Bane hoodie was the best! I am making an assumption and betting on my past knowledge so it’s pretty low risk but yes it’s an assumption. We gravitate to what we like and what we know because ya know it’s comfortable. It’s a weird comparison but this is the same behavior that makes criminals multiple time offenders. My brother was a great example of this. He would be hanging with his friends, get into some trouble, go to jail or rehab and when he got out he would end up right back with the same friends and it would happen all over again. It’s a cycle that just keeps happening over and over again.
So lastly, I learned that for a long time the music scene that I was in really defined me and actually helped me breathe and develop as a person. It gave me a foundation and a circle to share ideas and feelings. For some people it’s sports or church, for me is was punk and hardcore. I think we need these things as kids. I think I needed it. It gave me structure and perspective and taught me that it was ok to feel and it taught me that I was never alone. As I have gotten older and have become more rounded as a person I think it defines me less and less. Don’t get me wrong I will always be a hardcore kid at heart but like a lot of other things in my life its just a piece of puzzle that makes up me.