You Can Be More Than One Thing

» — originally shared here on

I wanted to recapture the excitement I used to feel over finding out something that not very many people knew — the satisfaction I used to get from wrestling with things, spinning them around and trying to see the different angles. Before it all got buried beneath analytics and followers and “impact” and gimmicks and waiting for the next round of layoffs.

Not knowing how to say any of this out loud, I didn’t tell anyone. I just slowed down — backed off of pitching editors, stopped picking up late night phone calls from sources. I shifted my focus to editing other people’s work, which is less stressful and also pays better. I wrote some personal essays and took some college classes and sat on my kitchen floor trying to imagine what my Twitter bio would say if it didn’t start with “Freelance journalist.”

When I left JMG in March, this exact sort of identity crisis was a huge marble that wouldn’t stop rattling around my brain.

In the past nine months, I’ve become more comfortable letting go of my identities. Besides, what good are identities anyway?

My interests, my career path, my marital and paternal status, being a “runner”, being “the guy who always gets his steps in”, being “the guy who runs an app development company”… those are all tiny parts that add up to the whole.

My third grade teacher used to make us listen to a song every day that had a chorus which said “I can be the best I can be.”

And I think at this point in my life, that’s all I need to be.

(Thanks, Ms. Salute. ❤️)