Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Be like Casey

Not all "aha" moments are minor epiphanies. At least that has been my experience. It's great when they are, but yesterday I had one that was more like a kick in the gut or a slap in the face or more accurately the "holy fuck, I just noticed a grey pubic hair" moment.

So I have spent the last few days watching the Australian Open tennis and as much as I love tennis, watching the pros is always a reminder that I am no longer twenty-something or thirty-something or even forty-something and I am never going to hoist a trophy before the throngs and cameras at Rod Laver Stadium or Wimbledon or even my local tennis club. Those days are behind me. I will keep playing until my body won't allow it anymore and that is a good thing and I will make the occasional  shot that gives me a glimpse of what could have been but I will never be the subject of a wikipedia page citing my career hi-lights and stats and details of my personal life that I likely would prefer remain private.

Now, I am a realist and I am well aware that even if I had grown up with parents who had pushed me, or parents who were rich enough to hire coaches and send me to training camps, or parents who even noticed that I was a wee bit athletic and encouraged me I still may not have succeeded like thousands of other hopeful young athletes, but I often do imagine..."what if"? This is not a blaming or shaming thing either. Who knows? Even if they had cracked that whip, maybe I would have rebelled and said screw you, I don't want to work that hard. I would rather hang with my friends and smoke cigarettes behind the school gym. It takes more than just a push from mummsie and poppsie to turn out a star athlete. The kid has to want it too. It's easy to look back and think would've could've, should've, but as the saying goes, "don't look back, you're not going that way".

These are not thoughts I tend to dwell on. I accept that it is too late in life to turn tennis into a career and am happy to be able to still play doubles with the ladies 2-3 times a week. It's fun. It's social and it gets my body moving. Sometimes it moves parts of my body beyond what is comfortable and I wince or limp around for a few days, but that comes with the territory. Heal and get on with it. The alternative of not playing anymore is more painful as it is always a great spirit booster as well.

Enough about tennis. Back to the "aha" moment. I suppose it may have been even more impactful because of the young tennis players in my aging face all weekend but this is what happened. I was scrolling through my FB feed and came across a video of a couple of young dudes who decided to take advantage of the snow in Manhattan to make a video of themselves being towed through the streets by a rope attached to an SUV on snowboards. This is the sort of youthful shenanigan that "old" people might scoff at as dangerous or foolish or irresponsible but I thought it was brilliant. 

The clip had already been viewed by over 27 million people. Of course it had. It was Casey Neistat. If you don't know Casey by now, you will one day. It is inevitable. Until yesterday, my knowledge of Casey was limited. I had heard him interviewed by one of my other favourite success stories, Rich Roll and I followed him on Instagram, but this latest video made me dig a bit deeper. Who the hell was this guy anyway? As I sat on my sofa, reading through his Wikipedia profile, awestruck by his achievements in his life thus far (he is 34), now I was really impressed. I thought he was just some other "one hit wonder internet sensation", but now I see how wrong I was. This is a guy who dropped out of school at 15, lived in a trailer park, on welfare with his girlfriend and their son from 17-20 and then all that changed when he moved to NYC. He has worked as a dishwasher, a short order cook and a bike messenger. Now he has over a million YouTube subscribers, is co-founder of a social media company called Beme, is a film director, film producer and Vlogger. Geez Casey, maybe you should get a life. 

And that is when I had my "grey pubic hair" moment. Fuck. I have been sitting on the sidelines my whole life. This is how it is done. This is the kind of creative fearlessness I have always wished I possessed. (I know, I do possess it, I just need to utilize it) This "just do it" energy that Casey oozes - that is da bomb! This guy is idolized by millions who wish to be more like him but fear holds them back. His followers on Twitter and Instagram seem to worship him. They can't wait for his next move. What will Casey wow us with today? What crazy comment or video or stunt will he hit the Internet world with tomorrow? He does not hold back. As ridiculous or useless as his ideas may seem, he throws it as us and who cares if it bombs? Tomorrow is another day and he ain't looking back. He just keeps moving forward. And that is what it is all about. So many of us get mired down in the 'what ifs?" and it paralyzes us.

So, forget about Bill. Bill is boring.

Be fearless. Be like Casey.

Better still. Be the you that is lurking and always has been.

Enjoy this video...Casey at his best!

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