Boundaries, Books, And Getting Better

some personal thoughts, musings, and declarations

Boundaries, Books, And Getting Better

Sometimes you can feel life changing around you.

The deja vu of “I’ve seen this before” bumping directly into the vuja de of “holy crap, I’ve never seen this before?!”

The same patterns repeating until you notice something feels off, again, and then the C-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-CD skips.

At the end of last week I recorded an Intentional Investor with Daniel Crosby. He’s a behavioral psychologist, author, and a bunch of even fancier titles, but he’s also a suburban 90s punk rock kid. Which makes him one of my people.

He told me a story about burning out while working in a clinical practice during his 20s. He didn’t have good professional boundaries at the time. He was bringing too much heavy, heavy, heavy emotional stuff home with him and, extra Mindhunter (book/Netflix series), if he kept doing the job, he realized it would keep him away from the rest of the life he wanted.

So he quit. He had to draw the line. He needed to establish a boundary.

I asked him how he defined a boundary and he explained it as a porous membrane. The membrane establishes what comes in, what stays in, and what goes out. Every part, parcel, and participle of lived life is a choice for the membrane.

The guiding rule is understanding what you want the boundary to do and why.

My wife and I had lunch with my college buddy, Scott, in the middle of last week. I was telling him about the YouTube stuff, how the conference we were just at was giving me a ton of great feedback I wanted to run with, and sharing - as my wife and I had been talking a lot about - how spread thin I was feeling.

“You need better boundaries, and you need to know why whatever you’re choosing is better than what you’re choosing not to let in. Simple rules. Stack the outcomes.”

It’s not a direct quote, but it’s close enough. Daniel would bring it home again a few days later. My wife, to be fair, has been reminding me of this for years too.

Deja vu and vuja de. It’s not different, you just need to see it differently. The patterns repeat until you change them into new patterns.

The conference that Scott, my wife, and I were all attending over the prior weekend was made up of (mostly) what I call “online friends.” People I know by twitter handles, forum names, and email addresses. It was amazing to share physical space with them.

What I didn’t expect was how much it would make me miss my real life friends.

I found myself taking a picture of a sign to send to one friend. I was wondering if another had finished selling his house yet because we hadn’t connected in over a week. I laughed at a text exchange with another that was just memes, but worried we hadn’t talked about anything “real” recently. I saw a couple of group chats piling up with messages I knew I didn’t have the bandwidth to handle yet. I started to feel overwhelmed that it was easier to chat with online friends than the people who knew me.

Not exactly, but I’ve experienced that before. Enough to see it. Enough to know it was time to change it.

I, and you, don’t need more words in a post than this. Our trip over the past week- it was brilliantly focusing. More importantly, the last week of life was profoundly prioritizing.

Less social media time is in my near future. I’ll be sharing the work I’m doing, but with a better system. I’ll probably share more details about that, in case it helps anybody else, but I don’t want to respond to an online comment before I respond to a friend. I’m embarrassed to admit that, but I’m more embarrassed to know it and continue it. Yeah.

More Just Press Record episodes and broader YouTube/podcast strategy is in my near future. This idea, that people find value, or entertainment, or whatever in me performing on a different type of stage than I had ever been on (until about a year ago, which is wild), is exciting to me. I have to shift some life around for the focus, but it feels like I’m 16 and setting up local punk rock shows again and we’re selling out small rooms. I want more of that. I want that to be my tie from online to real life, and I want to lead with that example of how I like to traverse the too.

I’m going to write a book, or something that resembles one, in my near future. It’s been growing on my mind for the past year, but I think the core idea has finally gelled. When I grew up, I wanted to be a record producer. Then I burned out, burned my life down, and got a finance job where they told me I was a “producer,” which… ugh. The irony always hurt, and I’m ready to talk about it. Through my eyes. With a lot of music producer references too, because why not, it makes me happy, and it’s my book. Expect more Cultish Creative posts in this direction.

This is business, not personal.

Except for all the personal bits.

Those truly personal bits are the ones that make us human. I want to be a better human at my core. And maybe, this time, I can model that for some others too.