Mark Duplass is My Spirit Animal

What can I say about 2016 that hasn’t already been said? It was a difficult year filled with countless hurdles, heartbreaking losses, and growing uneasiness about the future. Yes, 2016 felt like a never-ending downward spiral, however, it also turned out to be a breakthrough year for me on my journey of self-discovery.

In 2016 I saw a wonderful film called Blue Jay, written by Mark Duplass (side note: I’ve discovered over the last several years that Mark Duplass is in fact my spirit animal, and our iPods are soul mates). The movie is a nostalgic, gut-wrenching tale of two former high school sweethearts reconnecting twenty-four years later, and reflecting on their past.

Although I found the film deeply moving and poignant, it was actually something Duplass said about his inspiration to write it that resonated with me even more. He was about to turn forty-years-old, and took stock of his life, wondering if it had turned out the way he’d imagined in his youth.

“I lead the complex life of a 39-year-old husband, dad, runner of businesses. But once, I was just a 15-year-old who would stay up all night crafting a journal entry about my feelings. I was melodramatic and romantic, and I didn’t edit myself. But I suddenly woke up feeling like that person had died, and I didn’t know how to get that person back.”

These words stuck with me long after the film because I realized that’s what was happening to me. I, too, was turning forty-years-old, and an unexplained melancholy writhed in my gut. On the surface, I had no reason to complain, but I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that I’d strayed too far from my path in life—that I’d somehow disappointed my younger self.

So, I followed Mark’s lead and took inventory of my life, and the results were surprising. Although I had much to be thankful for, what I lacked was passion, something I once had in excess. But at forty-years-old, most of my time was allocated to a job that grew more soul-crushing by the day, which drove a wedge between me and my passion.

After much introspection, I arrived at a simple conclusion: My passion is to create, and long have I neglected it. But no more. I made the decision to do something about it, starting with saying goodbye to my soul-crushing job in October.

In the two months that have since past, I’ve devoted more time and resources into feeding my passion. I feel wonderful, and exercising my creativity again has greatly improved my overall mood. While there are many things about 2016 that I can’t change, I enter 2017, hopeful, and continuing to focus on the things that I can. That path begins with the release of my new novel Icarus on January 27th.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year, and encourage you to explore your passions deeper than ever. Let’s make 2017 a brighter year together.

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