Doing shrooms in NYC

In March, I joined an online coaching program and met Tomas, a guy who would soon become a close friend.

This weekend, seven months later…I met him in real life.

He’s been sober for six years, so before the trip, I was boasting to my friends that I would save money this weekend by not buying any booze and by going to bed early each night. That didn’t happen.

It turned out that even though Tomas doesn’t drink or do drugs, he’s an incredible host and wingman who loves to have a good time. I felt like I was in college again, a man-sized child lost in the largest city in the country.

I…

• stayed out until 4am each night
• played chess hustlers in Washington Square Park
• befriended strangers when we were out and about
• set up coaching sessions with those strangers
• ate mushroom chocolate and woke up tripping with no idea where in Brooklyn I was
• got late-night tacos both evenings
• left my credit card at the last bar we went to
• saw Seth Meyers walking with his son five feet from me in the park
• got offered blow by the CFO of VICE
• decided I would move to the city about ten times and changed my mind each time

Can I do this every weekend? Absolutely not.

But it’s times like these I never want to give up. I’ll gladly sacrifice my comfort for a day or two for memories and moments like I just had.

This weekend was…fun.

Dillan Taylor playing a chess hustler in Washington Square Park

20 years ago

I’m visiting my buddy in New York City next weekend.

20 years ago today, that city was attacked by terrorists.

There are plenty of past and current events with more death and destruction—some led by us—but being invaded leaves a different kind of unease.

It feels worse to have a stranger sneak in and steal money from us than it does our little brother taking cash from our wallets.

I have friends who lost family members on 9/11.

I’m not a sentimental person, but I’ll spend the day reflecting.

Initial thoughts

My coaching friend ran a workshop yesterday and had us do a lovely exercise.

We ran through the different aspects of the root chakra: physical, home, and financial health.

In each category, we broke them down into subcategories and had to write our immediate emotional thoughts. Here were mine.

Physical

• Sleep: sacrificed, suboptimal
• Water: great, peeing a lot
• Diet: mostly good, unorganized
• Exercise: consistent, necessary
• Stretching: infrequent, in the doghouse
• Hygiene: clean, fresh

Home

• Vibe: minimal, intentional
• Relaxation: bed, office
• Safety: solid, dogs

Financial

• Income: vital, growing
• Savings: not enough, a little each month
• Debt: mountain, heavy
• Toxic money: none really
• Income goal: $100K+, relief, safety, freedom

The coolest part about this exercise is how many of my responses surprised me. Try it and see what thoughts pop up.

Not today

Some days I sit down and spend an hour writing what I hope is an articulate and thought-provoking blog.

But not today.

Today I just felt like writing this.

Marry

I’m going to a wedding today. My first one since pandemic began.

A friend from college. Approaching 30 is weird.

The only thing I’m nervous about is my tendency to go to bed around 9:30pm. Maybe not tonight.

Maybe tonight I party it up in the dirty Jersey.

Pray for me.

87

Last night, I talked to one of my best friends on the phone for two hours.

I remember doing that when I was seven years old.

I hope I’ll continue to do it until I’m 87.

The person you should be like

A blooming flower in a field

Until I was about 25, I thought relentlessly, Who should I be like?

I looked to successful friends, role models, even characters in movies or plays.

When I was in high school, I would listen to the music my friends liked even though I didn’t really enjoy it.

Last year, in trying to make YouTube videos on self-improvement, I tried my best to copy my favorite filmmakers who made the same content.

After starting my own business, I read countless business and self-help books to figure out who I should emulate to become prosperous.

In my work, my relationships, and my creative endeavors…I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time asking that same throbbing question…

Who should I be like?

As we get older, one of the frustrating (and uplifting) things we realize is that cliches are cliches for a reason: They remain true.

We can turn to one of the top five cliches to answer this uncomfortable question:

Be like you.

In a world of seven billion humans, there is only one person on the planet who has the exact same combination of interests, strengths, and perceptions as you have. And it’s…me.

Just kidding. It’s you.

Of course, it’s necessary to be influenced by others. Soak in ideas and motivation from the people you respect. There’s always something to learn from everyone.

But only you can take what you learn and make it totally your own.

I’ve written about 1000 blog posts on this site you’re reading. There’s not a single word I haven’t taken from something else.

My mom and teachers taught me how to read and write.

All my ideas have come from experiencing the outside world—conversations with friends, stories, and lessons I’ve learned and pondered over.

But they’ve made it onto this screen because they’ve traveled through the filter that is my brain and then out of my fingertips and onto the keyboard.

Thus making them mine.

The same is true for everything you do and say.

What do you value and cherish? What excites you? What do you love?

Do that. Do it all the time. Get really fucking good at whatever you hold dear to your heart.

Because that’s you.

When you do that, you don’t have to be like anyone else. You can be the coolest person on earth.

You.

From strangers to family

Carlos Catania Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Last night was my first day back to the jiujitsu gym in four months.

I took time off because I had a bunch of family events for the holidays and trips and flights I didn’t want to miss out on. I didn’t want to increase my chances of getting COVID.

Spoiler alert: I got it anyway.

There are a number of life lessons I could write about (and have written about) from my short time doing jiujitsu. But today, I want to talk about something you can apply to any type of practice or community.

Being a n00b

Last winter, I remember hopping into class for the first time. It was fucking terrifying.

The thing was, I wasn’t really scared to get my ass beat—though that would happen each and every night. I was aware that that was simply part of the process going in.

No, what intimidated me was jumping into something with a group of people who already knew each other for years.

My thoughts: They are a family. I am an outsider.

I felt the same way when I started acting in the theatre program in college. They are a family. I am an outsider.

It’s tough when everyone:

• tells stories you were never a part of
• knows everyone’s names and facts about them
• is constantly talking and laughing with everyone else besides you

How to change things

To be clear, by no means was I ever excluded or belittled at my gym. There’s just a noticeable difference between feeling truly close with the people you practice with and not.

The lesson here: That closeness doesn’t happen overnight.

It’s analogous to building trust with someone. It’s an organic and slow process.

Slowly but surely, I would talk more, tell more jokes, and get enough time in with my gym peoples to tell stories of my own.

One day, I was talking to a classmate before class, and I said something like, “People should feel lucky to come in and join your guys’ gym.”

She raised an eyebrow and unironically retorted, “You mean, join our gym.”

Holy fuck. I’m in.

Conclusion

I got lucky to become closer with an amazing group of people. Not every group of coworkers, athletes, or neighbors will come together in such a way and that’s okay.

The point here is: When you enter a new community, the feeling of being the outsider can be daunting and often discouraging.

You may think, They already have their group. They don’t need me.

But if you keep showing up, keep listening, keep caring, and the group is a good bunch…then after a bit of patience and consistency, you’ll find you have another family.

My old thoughts: They are a family. I am an outsider.

My thoughts now: We are a family. Outsiders welcome.

27

I turn 27 today.

I’m almost as old as my mom was when she had me.

Ten years ago, I was a junior in high school. That doesn’t feel like a decade.

Ten years from now, I’ll be 37. And I’m sure that won’t feel like a 10-year gap either.

I’ve enjoyed getting older each year so far. I love the maturity and wisdom that comes with age.

Perhaps I’ll feel differently one birthday in the future. But for now, I’m just enjoying the ride…which I assume is the only thing I can do.

One of the best gifts I receive on a daily basis is you, the reader, giving me your attention for a few minutes each morning.

Thank you so much. I am eternally grateful.

Here’s to 27 more!

Tea time with a demon

A statue of a baby demon

When the Buddha spent a month under the Bodhi Tree pursuing enlightenment, he was challenged by the evil demon King Mara—bringer of death and desire.

Mara’s army rushed toward the Buddha, but he did not plea or run away. Instead, he placed his hand on the ground and calmly stated that the seat beneath the tree was his and that they were welcome to join him.

The sword of each soldier fell to the earth and turned into a flower.

The moral of the story? LSD was strong even in 500 BC.

Kidding.

Negative thoughts and emotions are omnipresent. For the vast majority of us who don’t plan on spending years training to be a monk…anxiety, doubt, envy, longing, depression…these are things we must battle with almost every day.

The problem is: Many of us approach these demons by vigorously wishing them away.

A few years ago, when I was struggling with suicidal thoughts and depressing episodes, I refused to take action until the demons left me alone.

But they’ll never go away.

As of right now, I’ve never been happier with myself or my life…and the demons are still around.

The only difference? I have a healthier relationship with them.

By following the Buddha’s example, by inviting the demons in for tea with open arms, they become laughably weak. Their swords disappear.

It’s analogous to when a bully is making fun of your shoes. The second you join her and start talking shit about your shoes too, her words become utterly powerless.

Today, the thing that brings me the most mental pain is my anxiety over money. It has crippled and even paralyzed me at times.

That’s my demon. I handle it in two steps:

1) Clearly identify the demon

Not in the Western sense of tracing it back to its source from some childhood memory. There’s validity in that, but in the moment it’s not my priority.

For this, I note each thought, feeling, and physical sensation.

• “I feel tightness in my chest.”
• “I see images of me getting evicted.”
• “I can hear the disappointment in my friends’ voices.”

By simply articulating each and every thought and feeling, I get a sense of clarity and lightness.

2) Invite the demon in for tea

This can take practice.

As stated above, the demon isn’t going anywhere. So you might as well become friends and get the most out of your time with him.

The obvious caveat here is that I’m not a therapist or psychiatrist. These are just strategies that have lasted millennia and can help you the next time a demon knocks on your door.

You can try to slam that door in his face, but he’ll just grow bigger and stronger.

Make him a cup of tea, and he’ll shrivel down in strength and size.

I hear they prefer Chamomile.

Be more like the people you respect

Two friends bumping fists

Simple advice I heard from a friend the other day.

It’s lovely because you don’t have to change who you are or pretend to be something you’re not.

It’s more like a ‘build your own character’ practice.

She said she loved the fact that her friend deleted Instagram because it was bad for her mental health. So my friend changed her own relationship with social media.

It got me thinking.

What are things people I respect do that I wish I did more of?

So I made a list in my Notes app. Here are the first three examples:

• Change out of sweats and into work day clothes to feel more professional and productive.
• Get cheaper, more unique, and more thoughtful gifts for friends and family.
• Actually go hiking and spend more intentional time in nature.

What about you? What do you respect in the people you know? How can you do more of those things in your own life?

What pain do you want to feel?

After starting a freelancing business last year, a number of unique stressors came into my life.

• How will I find my next project?
• Where do I find good clients?
• Can I pay my bills next month?
• How will I make this work?

I’ve had plenty of days where my financial uncertainty and stress has lumped itself in my chest in the form of physical pain.

That sucks.

But oddly enough, it’s all been worth it. Here’s why.

• I never count the days until Friday or the hours until the end of the workday.
• No one tells me when to show up to work, what to wear, or how to act.
• My schedule is crafted entirely by me.
• PTO is not a thing. If I want to take a long weekend trip to visit friends, I can.
• I can work wherever I want so long as I have my laptop and an internet connection.

Now, I’m not saying you should care about any of these things too. I know many people who would be an anxious wreck if they were in charge of their own schedule.

My point is: No matter what you’re doing in life, discomfort and sacrifice are unavoidable.

The question you need to be able to answer is: What discomfort or pain do I want to feel and what sacrifices am I willing to make?

What would make it all worth it to you?

Use people’s names

A smiling bartender

Yesterday, I went on an errand run in the morning.

I got my teeth cleaned at the dentist and my car tuned up at the shop.

Dale Carnegie’s self-help classic, How to Wins Friends and Influence People, is quite archaic in its language (consistently referring to women as secretaries, etc.). But it’s a classic because of its timeless tips on how to conduct yourself in social and professional settings to more easily connect with others.

My favorite tip is probably the simplest:

Use people’s names.

You don’t have to be Donald Trump to love the sound of your own name. Everyone does.

Whether its your nurse, your server, or your mechanic…using someone’s name does several things:

1) It gets their attention.

When the two guys were walking around and fixing up my car, I used their names after reading their name tags. Before then, they were asking me routine questions without making much eye-contact. When I used their names, they would basically stop what they were doing and look directly at me.

When I was a server, whenever people would use my name (if they weren’t an asshole), I felt like I wanted to do more for them.

“Hey Dillan?” will always get more attention than “Excuse me sir?”

2) It shows respect.

When you use a stranger’s name, they will very often look pleasantly surprised—as if no one has ever called them by their name before.

This is probably because for most of us, we’ll meet someone, learn their name, and forget it completely after one or two seconds.

That’s because we don’t genuinely care to learn their name in the first place. But if I told you I’d give you $100,000 to go to the grocery store, meet 20 people, and remember all their names…you would do it effortlessly.

Actually using someone’s name—especially right after learning it—is a surefire way to remember it quickly.

Just don’t overdo it. I got pitched by a salesman last week and a typical sentence from him sounded like:

“Dillan, that’s awesome. And you know what’s so awesome about that Dillan…is Dillan, when you told me that…”

Dude, I get it. You know my name.

It’s obvious when people are doing it to appear respectful versus when they genuinely want to treat you like a human being.

Which brings me to the last benefit.

3) It reminds everyone that we’re all just a bunch of humans.

It’s very easy to go about your day and see others as nameless, faceless extras in the movie of your life.

But she’s not Dentist 1 and he’s not Mechanic 3.

Those are humans who have families, hobbies, and anxieties. Treat them as so.

It’s a great habit to get into. And you never know…you could make someone’s day.

Don’t read books you hate

Beautiful dark flowers

For years, I was convinced I had terrible taste.

I hated:

• Poetry
• Drinking more than one cup of coffee
• Jazz
• Classic novels
• Card games

I remember forcing myself to listen to weird hipster music and painfully spending hours reading books I wasn’t enjoying. All the while thinking, You like this, you’re enjoying this.

Fuck that.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t dig these things. I’m just saying that I don’t.

You should always keep an open mind and be willing to experience new stuff, but you can’t force yourself to like something.

It doesn’t matter how much your friend loves this movie. If it doesn’t resonate with you then it doesn’t resonate with you. No amount of explanation or argument on their part will bring you much closer to the love that they feel for it.

A good analogy for this is when I tell people I hate smoking weed—it makes me insecure and diminishes my social skills.

I always get the same response from marijuana advocates (Jesus I sound like a 60-year-old Republican):

You just need to find the right strain.

Yes. I need to keep experimenting with this thing that makes me feel miserable until I like it.

Or…

I could just do a little bit once in a blue moon to the extent to which I’m comfortable.

Conclusion

It took me until I was 26 to come to terms with the fact that I simply don’t enjoy most classic novels. That’s okay.

I pick one up from time to time. But I never pressure myself to enjoy it (or even to finish it).

When I was in high school, I would literally play music my friends liked and I hated because I didn’t want to admit that my favorite bands were Blink-182 and Green Day.

Again, fuck that.

Life is too short to read books you hate.

You can be open minded and challenge yourself, but there’s no need to torture yourself with something just because other people love it.

Put on some American Idiot. Open your Harry Potter books. And don’t apologize for the things you enjoy.

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it.

Dave Grohl

I wrote this…

…Yesterday.

I’m probably hungover this morning.

Happy New Year!

Happy

Christmas Harry!

Value is Friendship

One of my best friends hired me for an online project. I finished it yesterday.

He offered me the gig because he knew I was trying to establish my online business.

When I was done, I thanked him profusely for the opportunity. Then something weird happened.

He brushed it off quickly and thanked me for all my help.

I thought, “You’re thanking me?” That’s when it hit me.

He didn’t hire me because we’ve known each other since preschool. He didn’t hire me because I make him laugh. He didn’t hire me because he was trying to do something nice for a buddy.

All of those played a role in the partnership, but above all, he hired me for one reason:

I brought him value.

The 23 hours I worked on this project were 23 hours he and his partner didn’t have to.

I saved them time. I saved them headache.

And they were willing to pay for that. Being friends was simply a bonus.

Friendship is love. But it is also value.

What value do you get out of your friends?

What value do you provide them?

The Sexiest Thing in the World

I used to think love was being with someone you needed to be with.

It took me a while to realize that you should instead just be with someone you want to be with.

If you’re with someone you feel like you can’t live without, what will you do if they:

• leave for a few weeks?
• break up with you?
• get sick?

These are not fun to ponder, and they will be incredibly painful no matter what…but they all happen.

I firmly believe that you need to be 100% good to go all on your own first. Then, and only then, should you find a partner who loves and supports you.

Not a crutch. Not a rock. A partner.

Someone who takes you from 100 to 120, not 50 to 80.

Last week, a friend asked me, “What’s the sexiest thing in the world to you?”

My answer: “A woman who doesn’t need me.”

Take care of yourself. Live an incredible life.

Then, find someone who makes it even better.

Lazy Saturdays

It’s 5pm.

I can’t remember the last time I sat down to write the blog this late in the day.

I also can’t remember the last time I stayed in bed lazily, had food delivered, and took a nap…all in one day.

An organized and structured life makes me happy and fulfilled. But a little spontaneity and laziness here and there can do wonders for the soul.

Meow.

Happy

Thanksgiving, bitch.

Fixing Your Relationships

Are you in a toxic relationship? Let me clarify.

We often think we do a bunch of different things. But we can see it as being in a bunch of different relationships.

You have a relationship with work.

You have a relationship with health.

You have a relationship with clothes, food, friends, reading, sleep…you name it.

The question is: How healthy (or toxic) are your relationships?

A year ago, my relationship with work was that of stress, exhaustion, and lack of fulfillment. Once I quit and started running my own businesses, it became one of immense joy, excitement, and meaning.

Three years ago, my relationship with the gym was that of insecurity, discomfort, and reluctance. Once I pushed through enough Resistance and got fit, it became one of love, energy, and even necessity.

When I attempted suicide three summers ago, my relationship with figuring life out was that of avoidance, confusion, and darkness. Once I began taking intentional steps toward something better, it became one of gratitude, resilience, and total fulfillment.

TL; DR:

It is crucial to understand the strength (or lack thereof) of your relationships with the things you do.

It is even more crucial to understand that if you aren’t happy with a certain relationship, you can change it.

Nice Guys Finish…First?

“Nice guys finish last” is bullshit.

There are annoying limits to someone being too nice or not assertive enough…but for the vast majority of people, if you are kind to me then I’m MUCH more likely to help you out.

Do girls like bad boys? Assholes?

With the girls I’ve known and have been with, most say yes…for a short while.

The general consensus is that being with a douche-bro is exciting and spontaneous for a bit. But then, after a week or even a few years, they realize it’s not sustainable.

How many shows or movies have you seen where the mom dates a sweater-wearing dud after divorcing her leather jacket-wearing wildcard?

I’m getting off track here. My goal is to champion the nice guys.

The trick: How can you be a respectful and loving human being without letting others walk all over you?

The solution: set boundaries.

Be it with your boss, strangers, even your best friends…you must project to others that YOU are in control of your time and energy.

Yesterday, I was catching up with a fellow entrepreneur friend. We talked about the prospect of me helping him rewrite content on his website.

When he offered to exchange yoga lessons for my writing, I had to set a “boundary” at the risk of hurting his feelings.

I said: “Thanks man. But at this point in time, yoga isn’t something I value enough to pay for, so I don’t think I’d be willing to exchange hard working hours. But the next time you do a free group session, I’d love to hop in.”

You know what he said?

“Word. I totally feel that man.”

And then we moved on…

Notice: I 1) thanked him for his offer, 2) explained my honest feeling toward his offer, 3) said no clearly (without actually saying the word no), and 4) offered something new moving forward.

This may seem like a benign example. But when I spoke those words, I could feel the adrenaline. Saying no. Setting boundaries. These are tough to do and they can create a strange amount of anxiety.

The sacrifice: Short term discomfort for long term wellbeing.

I risked hurting his feelings by telling him I didn’t value something he’s passionate about. But even if he was hurt (which he wasn’t at all), setting this boundary would prevent even greater damage to both our futures.

If I reluctantly said yes to his offer, I’d be doing work I normally love with a sense of resentment. I’d also probably see his yoga sessions as a chore more than something new and cool to learn.

None of this is fair to either of us. It’s dishonest.

People pleasing might seem like the respectful thing to do in the moment. But in the long run, it’s actually the least respectful thing you could do to someone.

Don’t be a nice guy or gal just to appear as one.

Be a nice guy or gal because it will bring you and others lasting happiness.

My Identity

What do you identify as? No, not that.

I’m referring to the link between our identities and our actions.

In my personal and professional experience, I’ve noticed that one of the leading causes of an unsatisfying life is: a disconnect between what we do and who we want to be.

In the past, I’ve said that I value my health and fitness. Meanwhile, at the time, I was eating whatever I wanted and was barely exercising. Consciously or unconsciously, I felt like a piece of shit.

It can sound grandiose, but take a look at your values and brainstorm exactly who you want to be when it comes to each one. Pair them with your consistent actions and pinpoint any discrepancies. Here are mine:

Friends/Family

• I’d like to treat my close friends like they are my brothers and sisters–supporting each other in our pursuits, giving feedback when necessary, always laughing…

• I want to help make my mom’s life easier and more enjoyable. She has given me everything good in my life and giving her back even a fraction of it would make it all worth it.

Business

• When it comes to learning, trying new things, and pursuing interesting projects, I’d like to always emulate a Growth mindset. Meaning, with everything I do, I know that if I simply put in enough time and effort, I can become good at anything–especially things which terrify me.

• I never want to chase money. Instead, I always want to chase helping others solve problems. Seeking value over seeking rewards from doing so.

• Having said that, I never want to feel the pit in my chest which comes from wondering how I will pay my bills. I’ve been there before. It’s a dark, cold place.

Health

• I want 80 to 90 percent of what I consume to be nutritious and productive for my body. The other 10 to 20 percent–so long as I am aware and intentional about it–can be left for junk and poison. I like to have fun too.

• I always want to be moving. I’d like to become a black belt in Brazilian jiujitsu and I want the gym to be a consistent part of my life: 3-5 times each week.

• I never, ever want to be uncomfortable with my shirt off.

Coaching

• Whether it’s a client or anyone else who wants help, I want to dedicate myself to helping them live the healthiest, most productive, most fulfilling life they possibly can.

• I want to bring so much value to a person’s life, they don’t think twice about paying for sessions.

That’s who I want to be.

Who do you want to be?

Doing the right thing is easy. After all, when your behavior and your identity are fully aligned, you are no longer pursuing behavior change. You are simply acting like the type of person you already believe yourself to be.

James Clear

Good Investments, Bad Investments

“The best investment: investing in yourself.”

Cheesy. Self-helpy. But true.

Outside of the stock market, I have made–and continue to make–a number of investments which make my life easier, more enjoyable, and more fulfilling.

I have also made investments which have proved to have terrible ROI.

Here they are:

1. Good Investments

• My new apartment–$1100/mo

My mom let me live with her for free while I got my shit together. For that, I am eternally grateful; but having this new place to pay for has given me two things: the freedom to live an adult life, and the hunger to work well and increase my income.

• Supplements (Athletic Greens and LMNT Electrolytes)–$122/mo

Supplements are tricky. It’s hard to accurately pinpoint their benefits. It’s not as if I feel awful when I don’t take my nutrient shake. But even if it’s just a placebo, I feel mentally and physically strong knowing that I have all the essential nutrients and vitamins in my system at all times.

• My own studio–$140/mo

Moving into this new apartment, my roommate and I arranged that I would take the den and turn it into my own space for work and productivity. Separating this from my room has done wonders for my ability to focus and pursue deep work.

• Gym memberships–$110/mo

With the combination of my weightlifting gym and martial arts gym, I make sure to get consistent and well-rounded exercise. Aside from the physical benefits, practicing Brazilian jiujitsu has thoroughly changed my life. Increased confidence, a sense of family, an ability to defend myself…these are all priceless.

2. Bad Investments

• College–$60,000

Although I have a massive amount of debt for a degree I do not have, I do not regret going to college. What I regret–and lament–is making $20,000 decisions at the age of 18. I was a child, and I went to college because that’s what you do. Not because I had a goal or a plan. Just go and see what happens. Well, what happened was it didn’t work (for me). And now I am indebted to the young fool that I was.

• Friends who don’t share my values–Mental and emotional exhaustion

This has been one of the toughest realizations for me. Not all of our friends are helping us cultivate a happy and healthy life. This is incredibly sad, but totally natural. Identifying those who don’t make your forcefield stronger is one of the best things you can do for your wellbeing. I’ve spent an unfortunate amount of hours caring for and mending relationships with people when I should’ve just cut the cord.

What investments are you making that give you a great ROI?

What investments are you making that give you diminishing returns?

Do Cool Shit; Don’t Take Pictures

Instagram is my favorite social media tool. I deleted mine last week.

Without getting into whether or not you should be using such apps, I’d like to talk about my weekend.

I spent four days in North Carolina with some of my closest friends. We laughed, played soccer, ate mushrooms, watched anime, had political discussions, and drank copious amounts of wine.

Driving home last night, something hit me as I went to send my mom a picture of my time there: I didn’t take a single photo from the weekend.

This wasn’t intentional; it was simply a byproduct of not having a reason to use my phone.

I felt the typical compulsions to post something–to share a photo to commemorate the amazing time we all had. Preferably, it would be a semi-funny action shot of the gang–perfectly representing our shenanigans. Alas, I had nothing…or so I thought.

Actually, I have everything. It’s everyone else who has nothing.

I have memories, new ideas, stronger connections, a sense of love and depth. So what if I don’t have a photo I could post? What would that bring me? In my experience, it would provide about 24 hours of likes and heart emojis. But I already have real-life heart emojis.

My question is this:

The next time you attend a lovely event, or have an incredible time, would it be enough to just experience it?

If you post it, wouldn’t that make it not about the memory, but instead about others seeing you do something cool?

Maybe not. Maybe you get genuine fulfillment by posting such memories. But it’s an interesting thought experiment.

What would be so bad about not posting anything after an amazing time? Then it would be yours. Just for you and those you were with. You’d have stories to tell. People would listen, instead of double-tapping their phones for a 2-second congratulations.

We all have those 3-minute videos from concerts we’ll never watch again.

The next time you have an amazing time, don’t take any pictures. Just take it in.

Love What’s Real

No hangover this morning. Just a few hours of sleep, awful breath, and the same shorts I’ve been wearing for 3 days.

Spending this long weekend with best friends has been refreshing and therapeutic. But it’s time now.

I don’t see it as returning to “reality.” Work is reality. But so is play. When you’re breathing, when you’re thinking, when you’re laughing…it’s all real.

The only thing you can do is love what is real, here and now.

Artsy AF

My hands are frozen as I type.

I’m sitting next to a slightly open window in Asheville, NC. The breeze makes it harder to type but the sound and smell of the morning trees makes me feel artistic as fuck.

I’m visiting my best friend, his girlfriend, and another friend…with another one of my best friends. Friends.

In the last 24 hours, I have been reminded of three things:

1) An 8-hour road trip can feel like 2 hours or 20. It just depends on who you’re riding with.

2) Being irresponsible and having fun feels better when you take intentional time to do so.

3) Visiting your friends–especially your best friends–is worth it 100% of the time.

A New Home

I’m writing this in an empty room. There’s no lighting but the early morning cotton candy sky, and books and recording equipment splayed about the floor.

Yesterday, this entire apartment was empty. Now, it contains all of my belongings. I live here now.

I woke up at 6am this morning and my first thought was where the fuck am I?

Home, I answered. It’s a good place. It’s a good day…

It all seems so very arbitrary. I applied for a job at this company because they were hiring. I took a desk at the back because it was empty. But no matter how to get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift of making that place their home.

Creed Bratton

Moving Out

Three years ago, I was in the worst place I’ve ever been in life. After failing out of college (among other disasters), I had to move back home with my mom and pursue Project ‘Get Dillan’s Shit Together.’

It took about 2 years to get said shit together.

There are a thousand things I can say about the suckiness of living at home. Seeing all my friends start new lives, meeting new partners, and going on adventures outside of the same county we went to high school…the comparison game is hard to avoid.

But with this little post, I’d like to give a shout out to the net positive: I was given a free home–a headquarters to gather myself, organize my life, and figure out what my values are and how to pursue them.

I’ve accomplished all of that. And this morning I am packing up a 26-foot UHaul with my entire room. My home base since 2008 has been gutted and will be replaced with my sister’s belongings.

I feel so grateful that my mom let me shelter up here and genuinely allow me to figure everything out. Sorry it took me 26 years, Ma. I guess that’s better than 30?

Thank you to my mother for saving my life during the time I needed it most. We rarely sit down for dinner together as a family–me, my mom, and my sister. Yet, I feel like the first thing I want to do is come back tomorrow and sit down at the table and eat together…

I accidentally typed “home” instead of “back” in that last paragraph.

Have you ever been incredibly excited to do something, and at the same time, incredibly anxious and reluctant?

Kasey Musgraves put it well:

Is there a word for the way that I’m feeling tonight?
Happy and sad at the same time

The Joke That Never Works

Over the summer, two of my close friends were in town visiting family.

Excited to see them, if only for a few minutes, I called them to learn that they had already headed back home to Philadelphia.

In hindsight, they were leaving a chaotic family experience, dashing back to a city with a strict curfew during a pandemic, and exhausted–not from a weekend of leisure, but one of stress and obligation.

Unfortunately, none of these facts were present in my mind when I heard the wind of their open car windows on the other end of the phone.

I was hurt. My friends didn’t care to stop by and say hi.

If I had taken a second to consider what they were going through, I would’ve realized: No shit! They have much more important things to worry about right now. You’ll see them soon enough.

I tried to play it off with a joke. A joke that in fact, never works. I call it the “Thanks for the invite” joke.

This is a joke that attempts to playfully jab others for excluding you in some way. I’m not joking (clever). It literally never works.

My words in this particular situation were something like, “Well I guess I’ll go fuck myself.” Meaning: I guess I’m not important enough to give 5 minutes to.

Here’s why this joke always fails:

1) It’s not funny.

You’ll never hear anyone actually laugh at this type of joke.

Jokes have to be funnier than they are anything else: mean, clever, offensive, etc.

2) It promotes shame.

If you want to question why others have excluded you, then just ask. Hiding behind a “joke” is cowardly.

This kind of joke only stands to produce guilt; if that’s your motive, then you don’t actually care to get to the bottom of things for a resolution.

Which brings us to…

3) It doesn’t make them want to include you anymore than before.

If you say “I guess I didn’t get the invite!,” and the person then invites you, you know they are doing so out of guilt rather than a genuine desire to spend time with you.

If my friends turned around after I said what I said, it would have just been an awkward and obligatory meet-up…

It sucks to be excluded from things, but it’s bound to happen. You can either accept it, or in something like my case, you can take a second and think about what the other person is going through to figure out if you should actually be a priority or not.

If you’re really curious as to why you didn’t get an invite, reach out and inquire. But never use the Thanks for the invite joke, or anything like it. It doesn’t work and it doesn’t get you what you want.