I woke up early. I didn’t have to, but I did anyway. Tired, I sat on the couch. Coffee in hand, staring at the TV, attempting to make sense of what was being presented in the form of news. I turned off the spectacle, picked up a book, read a few lines, put the book down, browsed my Twitter and Facebook streams, went back to my book, briefly followed by a return to the SocialSphere. ADHD and ADD top a long list of glorious acronyms that come to mind as I write about the wandering of my mind. However, in the midst of my tired and nomadic mind, a thought was forming, slowly but surely: Missing are the simple days of anonymity and not being known for what I do as a living, gone are the days of simplicity.
As a small-business owner, I spent yesterday meeting new people being introduced as a video storyteller. When people want to know what I do, I often say that I am a documentary filmmaker, photographer and writer. It’s not just what I do, but what I aspire to be. To my family, I am the son or the brother, to my wife I am her husband, to my friends I am Chris, to myself I am me. A lot of labels to own, a lot of different hats to wear. But as I think about all of the different ways that I am known, there is something missing: The joy of not being known and the resulting discovery of what could be found in the unknown.
Modern culture can be extremely surface-oriented and shallow. What can be seen and experienced at the moment we are looking is only what is worth knowing. If something or someone is not known, they are either doing a poor job marketing themselves or their social media needs to be optimized, getting more eyeballs to stare at their stream of social-media-consciousness. Likewise, if something takes awhile to build, grasp, understand or communicate, it’s not ideal for the breakneck speed of society. Regardless of the speed and depth of our culture, each of us has a choice: Swim laps in a wading pool or wade in a vast ocean that is large and being compare to our meager, finite lives, risking danger and drowning.
As I look back at the last year and a half of seeking to be known for what I do and what I have to say, I finally understand the folly of my journey. I sacrificed my sanity so that I could have more work today, not looking at the sustainability of what that pressure would do for my life tomorrow. An adage says, “live for today, don’t worry about tomorrow.” But I say that if you live just for today, you might not survive to enjoy tomorrow. So, is this a “have your cake and eat it too” scenario? I don’t think so. It just makes me strive to be a little more anonymous, a little more simple, and to remember to take a breath, smell a rose, eat an ice cream cone, and enjoy everything that I do. One day at a time.