The Final Post

Karangahape Rd, Auckland 2019 (Photo Credit: Christian Espinoza)

Thank you.

For the past four and a half months, you’ve read my ramblings as I etched my thoughts on here, one post at a time.

Looking back at them I see this has been a practice in sharing and reflecting, which developed into a daily ritual. Posting the blog created structure amongst the empty space I was in. It was a voice I didn’t know I had.

Now I feel it is time to say goodbye. I am grateful for anyone who read my blog, took away from it, and I can say I enjoyed every minute of it.

Go well and kill it in the game 🙂

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

– Albert Einstein

Letter to my 10yr Old Self

Auckland, New Zealand 1993 (photo credit: Author’s mother)

Dear Chris

You don’t know me yet, but I know you intimately. You are a fearless, funny, and caring young person. You surround yourself with friends, toys, and movies. You live for speed, no matter the cost (pretty soon you’ll lose the protective pads, and that will hurt). You make people laugh, you entertain them with your magic tricks, and your impressions. Life as you know it now is bliss and you are as free as a bird. I know you well. I was you. I am you. I can tell you that your life will take some turns, but before I do that let me give you the highlight reel.

You’ll carry yourself well through high school, you’ll get good grades and you’ll pursue the Arts over Commerce or Science. You’ll have dreams of becoming an archeologist, however they’ll be knocked out of you by your guidance counselor. As you become a senior at High School, you’ll replace sports with music, and you’ll develop an obsession for playing the guitar and listening to heavy metal music (with a brief foray into British Jungle music in the late 90’s, even skipping your school’s graduation dinner to attend a Ronnie Size concert). You will develop a love for film and video, and in the age before smartphones, you will learn how to shoot, edit, and score your own movies the old fashioned way. You travel to France on your own for three months to meet your Father for the first time… I won’t ruin it for you, just don’t get your hopes up.

As you move into University you find your mind will expand. You will study Design, and you’ll explore everything from 3D animation to Sculpture before majoring in Photography. You’ll make some friends, you’ll lose some friends, then you graduate. In between you’ll learn some valuable life skills like what it means to mop the floor and clean toilets for a paycheck, what to do when you’re involved in a road accident, and also that smoking tastes horrible no matter how cool you think it makes you look.

You will eventually graduate from University as well, get your degree, and get out into the real world. You’ll work a job that overwhelms you so much that you lose five kilograms in as many months, but don’t worry it will desensitize you for any stress later in life. If anything you’ll learn more life skills in these few months than in your entire life up until this point. So now we get real.

Your career takes a different corner, you move away from photography and production and into, ah, Telecommunications. You ride this wave for a good decade, and you develop some hard skills in project management, as well as all that other stuff that people put on their Linkedin (by the way, that’s an online platform where you can… nevermind). You’ll travel some more, meet some girls, fall in love even, and then boom! You inherit a young family. That’s right, you will meet a young lady, marry her, and become a Father to her incredible little boy, his name is Ethan. He grounds you, and for the next ten years he becomes your top priority. You take him to school, you read to him, you teach him about life, movies, and music, as he grows you become best friends. You can be quite strict with him at times so remember to just chill, he really is a good kid.

This brings us to the where we are now. You’ll find yourself at a fork in the road and you’ll be faced with some hard choices. You’ll need to make a decision for yourself, one that will affect the next ten years at least. You’ll reflect a lot, and take a deep look at the person you have become. You will realize that you lost yourself along your journey, but when you finally reconnect with yourself again it sends you into a state of pure joy and happiness, much like how you’re feeling now. Free.

I will leave you with this Chris – follow your nose, trust yourself, and always make time to be with your friends and family.

Yours, CE / 2019

P.s: borrow some money for your 18th birthday and invest in Apple and Amazon stock. Then do it again in 2005 for some Facebook stock. Trust me.

We are Infinitely Small

Night over Doha, Qatar 2018 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

Discover the world.

Take chances, take risks.

Follow your instinct, trust yourself.

Create the environment for you to flourish.

Invite others to collaborate with you.

Laugh more and spend more time with friends.

Make time just for yourself.

All things you can find on a Hallmark greeting card, but maybe it’s all true. Try it and find out for yourself, and see if you’re life becomes more rewarding.

Mother Earth

Avondale, Auckland 2011 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

The indegenous people of the Andes praised the goddess, Pachamama, or Earth Mother. In Peru, there is an entire section of the National Museum dedicated to the potato. The potato is Peru’s heritage and one of our country’s greatest contributions to the world.

The true nature of life is represented in the life cycle of the potato. The soil is prepared, nurtured and condition for birth. Once the seeds are laid, the roots take shape and then we see the green leaves start to grow above the ground. With good nutritious soil, hydration from the water, and some natural sunlight, the potatoes will grow perfectly in the soil itself.

There is a sense of connection to the literal roots of the earth, and the Inca felt it. They were much more intuitive and the breadth of their knowledge was not reliant on much more than their senses.

I recommend if you’re feeling disconnected or lost, look to the soil for answers. Put away your cellphone, visit your nearest grocer or garden shop, get yourself some seed potatoes, find a medium patch in your garden (or planter) and feel the dirt between your hands.

If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

This is your Life

Ethan 2014 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

You wake up everyday and there you are. It’s you!

Life is hard, it can be a nightmare sometimes, but we wake up every morning and we do what we have to or what we need to, and if we’re lucky, what we want to.

Most everyone will have an opinion on your life and how to live it, their way of course. I think social media has highlighted our need for reassurance from others, and turned it up to eleven. We are growing deaf from the loudness of other people’s thoughts and lives as we continue to stand right next to the speakers.

If you know the true nature of what you are, who you are, and why you are then nothing else is relevant.

Put on your noise cancelling headphones.

Drown out the external noise.

Create your life for you.

The Expert

Ethan and David, 2011 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

Nobody but you knows how to live your life. You are an expert at it!

You know exactly how you wake up, how you get out of bed, and how you start your day. The people that play a role in your life know you as well, but they’re still not an expert at being you. Imagine if your best friend had to play you in the film adaptation of your life’s movie. Would they know all of your inner thoughts, needs, desires, and then be able to express them in way that only you can? Not likely.

Just like with any craft, your life takes time to master. Depending on how many years you’ve been around, you may not have as much experience as someone who is older than you, that’s a simple fact. Although, just because they’re older also doesn’t make them an expert at being who they are.

There are lots of colorful emotions in this life, they help season our experiences with flavor. Sometimes we add hot sauce, other times maple syrup. One of my favorite flavors to taste is Joy, the same one you may have felt when you were a child and you weren’t an expert yet. You were only discovering, searching, and in the process you marveled at the world around you and you were open to learning.

If you feel like you need a bit of joy in your life, a bit of maple syrup for your pancakes, all you need to do is remember that you were once that child who wasn’t an expert yet, and despite the years in between, that child is still there and still ready to learn again.

Character Development

John Peach, 2003 (photo Credit: Christian Espinoza)

Is there something from the past that haunts your character? Maybe a skeleton in the closet, a deep, dark secret that no other living person knows.

Has your character developed right amount of empathy, humor, and maturity to be relatable or even likeable?

What about culture? Virtues, beliefs, morals? How about sex appeal, charisma, charm. Is your character strong on the inside as well?

How does your character identify, and can we identify with them? Can we sympathize with them? Can we love them? Do we loathe their very existence? Perhaps we see our lesser attractive qualities in them and we identify that way.

Are they vulnerable, afraid, or fearless and powerful? If your character is in trouble, will we want to see them get saved?

Lastly, has your character been broken before? Are they battling their own demons? Are they fallible and do they make mistakes?

It may be a real life character, or pure fiction, but to really develop a character you must harness the essence of their humanity, the very fabric of their being. Every right, every wrong, every failure, every victory, and all the boring and mundane life in between. Warts and all.

Authentic characters and great characters.

So give us characters we will care about.