I turned 36 on Friday, which really doesn’t mean anything. But anything but khakis turned 1 on Tuesday, and for that I am very proud and thankful.
So this is the one-year anniversary blog. You’ve seen everything I’ve done, so I won’t regurgitate. I want to share with you everything I’ve learned in the past year, so strap in. By a country mile, the number one thing I learned is this. Figure out yourself and what really matters to you, and then focus the vast majority of your time and energy there. Take time for yourself. What do you like? What don’t you like? Do this daily. Meditate. Doesn’t have to be cross-legged at 6am. It can be your style. What really matters? Family? Travel? Learning? Being kind? Being rich? Having the nicest car? Being a good parent? Wearing cool shoes? You see where I’m going. Whatever these important things are to you (no one else), that is your focus. The rest is noise. 95% of the world right now is noise. Get it out of your life. Don’t allow others to monopolize your time and energy. What energizes you? How can you make a difference?
I discovered that I love writing. Originality. Variety. Freedom. Spontaneity. Weirdness. I have a tough time with the same ole status quo. I like dorkiness. Imagination. Self awareness. Imperfection. Effort. Individuality. People who are interesting. Personal challenges that provide fulfillment.
The second major learning was the importance of keeping an open mind at all times. People are raised differently. Think differently. Behave differently. Have different life circumstances. Are often going through something you and I have no frame of reference for. We are certainly entitled to our opinions, but we weren’t put on this earth to judge. Take a deep breath next time…massive learning for me personally.
My mate Junior helped coin the line for the blog “Own your life story.” Own it! Good, bad, or ugly, it’s yours! Being human is okay…it’s kind of the definition of who we are.
My favorite podcast of the year helped me decipher 3 categories of life: plain ole fun, intense personal growth, helping others. If you are spending a good amount of balanced time on these 3, you should be good. Spend a little extra time on the last 2.
“Always in style.” This isn’t a fashion blog anymore, but we here at abk love good, unique, personal style. Having said that, I gave away or consigned half of my wardrobe this year. I made friends with and now support local Charlotte stores, which I had never done before. I got a little more casual. I learned how to relax.
I came up with my favorite travel quote in the back of an uber in Mexico City. “Rarely to escape. Sometimes to recharge. Always to enrich.”
I collected custom pieces from my travels. I designed and bought proper hats any chance I got. I explored the edgy crevices of the world that you will never find on TripAdvisor, but are as real as real can be. I started becoming a citizen of the world.
I am now a completely different human being. It took one year. I’m not nearly done yet, but the foundation took one year. I was out of my comfort zone every single day. It looks like I played all year long. Incorrect. Not even close. Immense, in depth work on myself, just in cool locations and in cool clothes. I haven’t rested all year long (other than my nap in Mexico
lol). I logged over 35,000 travel miles. Had
to put in the work. It’s big stuff. It’s little stuff. And it all bleeds together. It’s a new way of living.
I hope you know by now that this is not just words, it is a bona fide call to action. Year 1 of the blog was about building a foundation. Family, friends, acquaintances, and a few strangers who hopefully got some value out of the unique written word, pictures, clothes, ideas, or behaviors. Year 2 is going to be about collaboration. More trips with people. Designing custom clothes. Brainstorming new ideas about life. I want everyone doing what fulfills them and what they find important, not worrying about stupid stuff. Myself included. It’s noise.
I worked daily to try and give you all something of value. Something to think about. Something to act upon. In return, I got so much more. It’s cliché, but it’s true. I offered my unique perspectives. You all offered me some of yours. Messages and podcasts and articles and videos filled my inbox. Really, really good stuff. And I thank you! Good God, I thank you!
I also want to thank my right hand woman Ros for the title this week. It has an explanation, but I’m just going to let it sit with you. You’ll get it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for Year 1. But that is now in the past, and I need you in the present. More importantly, you need you in the present, focused on whatever it is that really matters to you.
Have a great week.-Benj
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