Play along.

I want you to close your eyes (after you read this part).
I want you to imagine you – the Real You, the version of you that you feel most strongly connected to, that you want to be, or that you wish to be again.
Got it?
Now, I want you to envision that you – I want you to tell me how old you are, where you are, and what you’re doing.

Go ahead, close your eyes and do that now.
(write your answers in the comments below, please!)

For the longest time, I’d answer that question with this:
I’m maybe 6 or 7 years old… back in my small town home, playing with crayons in the sunshine… dreaming of living in The Big City, getting paid to be creative.

Do you know me? Does that sound familiar?

In my heart, that’s been my answer for years. I’d be in meetings with million dollar companies, and in my head and heart, I was this little kid from Nowhere BC, sitting in the sunshine and daydreaming of something more. I’d catch myself wondering wtf I was doing there, and how long it would be before I was caught out as an imposter.

It’s fucked up, I know.

It took many meetings with an incredible person I was lucky enough to call a friend and mentor, before he finally looked at me and told me to cut that shit out, now. He pointed out to me that I’ve been living in Big Cities for years, and I’ve been paid by some of the biggest companies in the world to be creative. I was where I’d dreamt of all those years ago – I was the version of me I’d been dreaming of.

.. Well, fuck. He was right.

I let a lot get in the way of me accepting this. Somehow where I was from and my history detracted incredibly from my worth, even though I never once questioned those same facts about anyone else I met. I let my barriers I set up against myself hold me back. If I was anyone else, I would have looked at me and said “This person came from a super small town, and managed to achieve all of this? Incredible!” – yet for me, I viewed myself as “Who is this small town kid to dare and try to do what he’s doing?”

The point of all this?
I went back “home” again for Christmas last month, like I’ve done every year since I first moved away. Not much has changed in that small town, and in some ways it’s really disappointing, and in some ways it’s comforting. I met up with one of my best friends for several pints in the wonderful new craft brewery that is set up in the old pool hall, and I asked her what it’s like for her to be back. She replied that it’s just a place to visit, and if it wasn’t for her family bringing her back, it wouldn’t even be that. I told her I wish I could feel that way – that for me, there’s still a tint of rose coloured glasses, that somehow, I still have an attachment to a place I told myself I outgrew when I was 13 years old.

Play along.
Be fearless. Be braver than brave.

Who do you want you to be?
How old are you? Where are you, and what are you doing?

Close your eyes. Dream.
Take a deep breath. Dream some more.
Is that the same person as when I first asked you?

My mentor passed away a while ago. He was someone that I looked up to almost as much as my own father. He was wise, he was creative, he was passionate about everything and I felt an intense measure of jealousy and respect for him the second I met him. He taught me a lot, and gave me goals to achieve. I’m sad that I won’t be able to experience his reaction when I conquer these goals, and I’m sad that he won’t be there to help me set new (seemingly) impossible goals. Another wise person I know helped me to deal with this by telling me to ask myself what my mentor would have done in my situations, and to aim even higher than that. It sounded about right.

During my trip to my former home, I tried to visit most of the places of significance from my past. Stores were shuttered, landmarks suddenly seemed tiny, and things that were once fond and quaint were now… well, to be honest, still fond and quaint, but filed in my brain properly. Sure, I miss a great deal many things from my past (including the mythic underground bar / art show a one time girlfriend showed me in Prince George that I have never, ever been able to find since) – but I have no desire to live, nor return to my past. I’m now proud of where I’m from and everything I’ve gone through to get to where I’m at. Like everyone, I’ve been through a lot and I’ve been lucky and skilled enough to achieve a lot of my goals, but I have a lot more to do, still.

Who am I, right now?

I’m me, right now. Grateful for everything, happy for this moment, earning the next one.

I hope you will be too.

– JT
Jan 8, 2017