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Thoughts On Turning 30: Love and The Evolution of My Style

July 14th, 2011 7 comments

I’m not talking about the way I dress, I’m talking about my style of being a man to a woman.

Not too many years ago, a woman I dated told me, “You are this dramatic character I couldn’t of made up in the wildest corners of my imagination.” I took it as a compliment when I first heard it, and then I grew up.

More recently, a woman told me, “Your problem is you think you’re easier to date than you really are.” This statement wasn’t meant to be a compliment, but seeing as it is the polar opposite of what used to be said about me, it was easy to interpret it as such.

When it comes to loving a woman, being with a woman, every man has to have his own style. As I get older, I’m trying to evolve mine. You know how things can get too ripe? That’s where I’m at with my style. I’m trying to find a happy medium between being the dramatic character I once was and the blasé guy I am now, the one whose favorite phrase is “Que sera, sera.”

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Thoughts On Turning 30: A Man’s List of Random Things He Wants To Learn

July 11th, 2011 11 comments

We’re now one week away from turning the big 3-0. As the day gets nearer, I’m starting to pay more attention to the things I say and do, trying to decipher what about me has matured and what about me has not matured.

When I was 23 going on 24, a co-worker of mine said, “You’re at the worst age because men like you think they know everything and have it all figured out.” She was right.

These days, I find myself wanting to know more about everything, and caring less about what I already know; also, the only thing better than knowing is learning. When I first started exercising, I tried jump rope, and I’ll be honest, those first couple of weeks, I looked like Forrest Gump…the young version with the leg braces. Now, I’m more like Rocky on the rope.

As I turn 30, I realize while that while I am smart, I can always be smarter. So today, a list of things I want to learn in my 30s, in no particular order.

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Thoughts On Turning 30: Switching Careers

July 8th, 2011 17 comments

My mom isn’t going to be pleased with what I am about to disclose, but I figure somebody has to have the audacity to be honest about their life, so here it goes:

On the day of my 30th Birthday, barring some sort of miracle, one of the first things I’m going to do when I wake up is file for unemployment for the second time since I graduated from college. I won’t go into the details of how this situation came to be, because they’re really not important nor are they caused by an isolated incident so much as a myriad of factors. Also, I am not writing this to get any sympathy from anybody, but I will thank everyone in advance who is sure to email me or comment with a note of encouragement. The truth is I’m not going to switch careers anytime soon, but there a lot of days where I think about doing so, here’s why.

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Thoughts On Turning 30: The Worst Gift I Ever Received

July 7th, 2011 22 comments

Since I’ve never made a big deal about my birthday, I’ve never really asked for much when it comes to gifts. All I ever really want is to be taken to a steakhouse or some other nice restaurant, and since I’m not a picky eater (all I ask is you don’t take me to a vegetarian/vegan restaurant), this should be easy and low maintenance.

But one year, my girlfriend at the time thought she should apply some imagination to my birthday gifts. She had dinner reservations made for us already, so she could have stopped right there, but she didn’t. She wanted to do more for her man. I was turning 25, and much like I feel as I approach 30, I thought 25 was somewhat of a bench mark year. In the weeks leading up to that day I was beginning to make some personal changes, adding some sophistication to my life.

Back then, I  looked like I was 20 years old. I wanted to add some airs to look older or more my age. So out with the baggy clothes, in with the better fitting clothes. Out with the lazy mornings, in with the workout mornings. No more going to just movies and clubs, I wanted to see a play on Broadway too. My girlfriend was all for it. She saw my effort and applauded me. When my birthday rolled around, her gifts reflected her encouragement for my attempts at self improvement.

One of the gifts was an Invicta watch. I still have it, though, I rarely wear it. It’s almost too nice.

The other gift was tickets to go see Chicago on Broadway, which I had been wanting to see for a while.

But the last gift she gave me is hands down the worst gift ever.

The gift came wrapped, in a box. It was kind of heavy. I thought to myself, “What the hell is this?” Then I tore into it, and when I saw it, I thought to myself, “What the hell is this?”

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Thoughts On Turning 30: Waking Up Alone

July 6th, 2011 9 comments

So in 12 days I’m turning 30-years-old, which means it’s all I’ve been thinking about lately, which means it’s all I might write about between now and the 18th.

As I count down the days to my born day, a lot of my friends are asking me what I am going to do, what I want to do, etc. My answer is the same one I give ever year, I really don’t know.

I think I mentioned this last year when I was turning 29, but being a summer baby and sharing birthdays with my sister who is three years younger but born on the 16th, I’ve always been reluctant to do a whole lot for my day. Also, it’s worth noting, since living in New York, celebrating my birthday has always been made easier by the fact that it usually falls on or around the same time as this big barbecue that’s held in Brooklyn every year, and most folk I want to see are usually there.

For right now, the only thing I do know I want is to wake up in my own apartment by myself on my 30th birthday.

To some, this might seem like an odd request. To others it may seem like a roundabout way of asking for two women to offer up their company around the stroke of midnight on July 18. That is not true (unless there are two girls who want to make a liar out of me).

But no, really, as I get older, the weeks and days leading up to my birthday always seem to get more and more introspective. I think. A lot. And so the solitude of waking up by myself on my birthday has become a weird sort of necessity to starting my day off right.

Throughout the majority of my 20s, I always had the pleasure of waking up to a girlfriend or a lady friend (we do know the difference, right?) on my birthday. It wasn’t until I was 28 that I experienced waking up alone that day, and I remember that year going to bed with a deep anxiety about the whole thing, as though it was some sort of poetic justice that being served onto me for all the wrongs I did.

Now as I turn 30, I kind of feel like waking up alone is what’s best for me on my birthday, even if I am dating someone at the time. The day before, the day after, I can celebrate with whoever is in my life however we would like to, but on that specific day, with the exception of the hours in between spent with people who are important, I want to wake up alone and I want to go to sleep alone.

Birthdays are intimate, man.

Turning a year older grows in significance for me every year, and these days I have become more mindful of sharing such significant moments. This was something I realized on a day that wasn’t my birthday.

I was asleep, alone in my bed. At the time I was single, but of course had a woman in my life who I cared about and I knew cared about me, but she wasn’t in bed with me. The reason, I can’t recall, but in retrospect, waking up alone was exactly what I needed.

The phone rang at an unusual time, something like 6:30 a.m. It was my brother, and it is amazing how in the two seconds it took me to answer the phone I already came to the conclusion the news wasn’t good.

“Brother,” he said.

“Yeah,” I said.

“He passed away.” The “He” my brother was referring to was our father.

“Okay,” I told him. “Give me an hour? I’ll be ready.”

We were going to D.C. immediately to meet our other brother and make the necessary arrangements. For about five minutes, I went into autopilot. I immediately got out of bed, called my mother to break the news to her, turned on my shower, and then, that is when it all hit me. The emotions of it all just poured out of me, and the only thing I was thankful for at that moment was my solitude, because this was a significant moment for me, not to be shared with anyone.

I know it seems odd and maybe even morbid to think that morning would be anything like waking up on my birthday. Turning a year older is good news, and certainly better news than receiving the news that a loved one has passed, but I bring up that memory to illustrate the importance of sometimes needing to be alone during life’s most significant moments.

The day I turn 30 is going to be huge for me, I know myself well enough to know that when I wake up, I will be the happiest man alive, but also in a level of thought so deep it’s going to make yoga masters look like they have ADD. It won’t last all day, probably just the duration of my workout, but I’m going to need that time to be alone because I’m turning 30 that day. Biggest moment of my life.

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SOME READING

I went to Essence Music Festival and wrote about it for THE ROOT. Click here to read.

PAPER Magazine let me write the cover story of their latest issue on Swizz Beatz. Cop it at a newsstand or click here to read.

For BILLBOARD, I contributed to a package the magazine did on independent artists with a small profile I did of saxophonist Kenneth Whalum III. Cop it at  a newsstand or click here to read.

Speaking of jazz musicians, also did an interview over at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL with Christian Scott, Stefon Harris, and David Sanchez who just released their new collaboration album, Ninety Miles. Click here to read

 

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The Sneaky People Who Stay In Our System

April 25th, 2011 16 comments

So I just finished reading the book, “One Day” by David Nicholls; a solid read about two people — Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley — who meet on July 15, 1988. The book then follows their journey for the next 20 years on that specific day, each chapter taking place a year to the day later. Sometimes they are apart and sometimes they are together.

I won’t get into what happens to the two of them, but for those who want to find out, read the book or wait for the movie which will come out sometime early Summer and stars Ann Hathaway as Emma.

What I will get into is how reading Emma and Dexter’s story made me think a lot about relationships we keep forever, though never planned to. The way some people sneak into our system and stay there for years.

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Our Days Are Now

March 11th, 2011 8 comments

Excuse me if today’s post is all over the place, just writing to wrap my head around things.

When I found out this morning about the earthquake in Japan, the tsunamis running through Hawaii and the ones headed towards the area where my family lives, of course I panicked. I called my mom at the ungodly hour of 4:00 a.m., ringing her phone until she woke up. Of course her being the woman she is, when she picked up the phone, she was worried about me.

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