viernes, 29 de mayo de 2015

Stranger in a Strange Land...

Please forgive, but I'm doing some "over the shoulder" writing to catch those up about where I've been before I take off on where I am now and where I'm going.  Many friends have remarked that they feel as if they are in a similar position as I was in October 2011 and they would like to know "how I did it".  Short version: I just up and did it.

I never even bothered to look at a map to see how far Puerto Rico was from the mainland. Once I was in Miami International, I did see a map, but by then, it was far too late to change my mind.  I had known for years that I was always coming to a Spanish-speaking country and, in my moment of decision, this was one where I didn't need a passport, which I didn't have at the time.  Now, to be fair, my kids were grown, I wasn't living in my hometown and I really had no "ties" to speak of in Georgia where I had last lived.  What I DID have was a ton of responsibility, very little compensation and a LOT of pressure to perform in my marketing/advertising capacity.  What I did NOT have was a love for my industry, which I had always held so dear.

Anyway...(as the awesome host Ellen DeGeneres says at the end of her credits), the point is I had to make a change.  Being the Sagittarius I am, it ended up being a drastic, poorly thought-out change; actually there was very little thought at all.  Here's what transpired.  I cashed out my tiny 401(k), packed some necessities (including the 1988 film I co-starred in, VHS format I can't even play and a DVD of "The Producers"), left behind suits, furniture, a car, etc.  I bought a one-way ticket to a place I'd never been, arriving with one week in a hotel - the charming Coqui Inn - with $600 in my pocket; no job, no family; no friends.  Scared to death?  Yeah.  But I kept falling back on the mantra that helped me make my decision.  If I'm gonna be broke, at least I can be broke in...ummmm...San Juan, Puerto Rico and be happier than this!

I had a dear friend named James who spelled the truth out to me years before that.  I was lamenting and hand-wringing about "this has to be done, that has to be done" and he said, "Michael!  Do you not realize that you are free to do anything you want to do at any given moment?  You can catch the next bus to Mexico and leave Louisiana forever if you want.  You just have to be prepared for the consequences."  Truth, James...truth.

That may have been the best advice I've ever received.  The important part of that is "you have to be prepared for the consequences".  In this case, I was finally busted down to a scenario where there was no Mom and Dad, no benevolent employer, no church, no one to lend a support system.  For the first time ever in my spoiled-brat life, I was reduced to the sauce that is actually me.  What a blessing that was!

I promise God had a hand in choosing my destination (He knew the map much better than I did).  Friendly people, metro vibe, music, inexpensive's all available here.  The beach, ocean and weather are honestly secondary, but, wao, do I love 'em!  I built my own business as a voice actor, found a really nice Mom-and-Pop radio station to fall in with and, while I can't impress you with my car, or my house, or my wallet, or my TV, I've never been happier in my life.  More to come, thanks for reading!

P.S. Waaaaaayyyyy back in 1993 - I wrote the best song ever in my life, which actually had a forecasting of things to come (listen to the waves) - you can hear my band "infinity Over Zero" and my life's theme "Lemmings/Tea Time" here:

An added bonus track with a dear Nicaraguan friend of mine, Josh Hernandez from 2011 follows - now, don't say I never gave you anything!  Peace and LUVS!

jueves, 28 de mayo de 2015

So, now...where were we...oh, yeah!

So, just as an old friend can pick up with another after years have gone by, I offer this recap.  When we last left our unsuspecting hero, he had baptized himself in the Atlantic Ocean at precisely 11:11:11 AM on 11/11/11.  He had found a recording studio at WQII-AM in San Juan, still with no permanent residence or much else in the way of material things.

First, I owe credit and thanks to the gentleman who asked me to tell this story. He is a motivational speaker and feels that I may offer some measure of inspiration.  You may be the judge on that point.  His name is Eric Watts, Eric Ejw Watts on Facebook or @WordTalkPro via Twitter, also by searching Google, etc.  Eric, thanks for the uplift!

Next, I owe answers to the recurring question: how did you have the guts to make such a bold move; to reboot your life?  I'll be completely honest.  I felt like I was acting out of fear and cowardice, not courage.  One particular conversation with my son tipped the scales.  I told no one of what I was contemplating...just abandoning USA life and hitting reset.  I DID call my son and daughter.  My son asked the burning question, to which I now set before you..."do you wanna wait until you're 75 to do something about it, and shuffle along in your walker at the beach to say 'hola, chicas, como estás?', or do you wanna go while you can still do something about it?"  Point taken, sir.  The coward got on the plane.)

Here is the Grand Truth that I had failed to realize: I wasn't running FROM something (my belief at the time), I was running TO something.  I didn't even bother to look at a map to see where Puerto Rico was until I was at Miami International Airport, with no possible way to return.  It was either continue on that voyage or be a homeless guy in the terminal.  I got on the plane.

The question continued to arise beginning about three months into the experiment, "how did you have the "GUTS" (paraphrased for gentle readers) to just rebuild your life like that?  I'd give ANYTHING to be able to do that!"  Oh, really?  It is indeed possible, maybe easier than you think, but in a 3 1/2 year look over the shoulder, that's easy to say.  All I really needed was the support of my grown son and daughter and a kick in the pants.

So, saving lots of little anecdotes for future blogs, here's the deal.  My life was never made for the consumption of creature comforts.  I've ridden in a car maybe 20 times in the last 3 1/2 years; I've driven precisely 3 times - I walk a mile to my studio each day and a mile back to the apartment, which has no air conditioning.  Anybody remember when, in the US, houses were BUILT to accommodate air flow and a nice breeze?  The days of the attic fan and jalousie blinds and kind porches?

Here's my ultimate truth for this story - I was never meant to be defined nor built to be beholden to material things.  Does someone have a bigger car, a bigger TV, a bigger house than me?  It's quite likely.  I'm of the firm belief than, upon my transition bed (i.e. "death" in popular terms), I'm not really going to care about those.  I will, instead, embrace the great conversations, kisses, hugs, arguments, etc. that I was able to encounter on this wonderful planet.  Again, Eric, thanks for yet ANOTHER "kick in the pants" to begin this story!  I look forward to speaking with you all again, soon!