Maybe I'm going through a mid-life crisis. I don't know. For as long as I've written Silicon Valley Bachelor – almost seven years – the tagline has always been, "ludicrous, belligerent, irresponsible..." And for a number of years, I was always happy to oblige. You want someone to party with? That's going to be me. It was a persona that worked well. A brand that took on a life of its own. But lately, it's a burden and a representation I feel less and less comfortable with.
On several recent "party" outings, I had an overwhelming sense of NOT wanting to be there. Maybe it's the negative consequence of extensive travel – finding my home environment neither intriguing or interesting anymore. Or maybe I really didn't want to be there. The same types of people doing the same types of clichéd things. And none more clichéd than me.
The most intriguing woman I ever met once wrote to me:
"Despite the fact that you’re an undeniable gentleman, you’ve spent a lot of your adult life crafting a public persona and a career out of celebrating beauty and sexuality, something to which I’m sympathetic but also deeply wary. Beauty is fleeting."
What she wrote was the moment I had been dreading for years. Someone that I truly, genuinely liked calling me out on my bullshit. And there's a lot to choose from. I'd always known that by being openly forthcoming with tales of dating, courtship, and partying (although I never got graphic or named names), that it might one day impede my chances with someone who actually mattered. She mattered.
Everything I've written has always been an extension of who I am – not WHO I am. Unfortunately, sometimes the most entertaining aspects of what I write is what sticks.
Too often, I feel I must live up to this persona I've embellished and molded for myself. Half the things I write never get posted, because I worry they won't entertain enough people – that those who are reading might not laugh. 700,000 people have now read a story on this site. And rather than be empowered, I feel more beholden than ever. Even throughout this post, I struggle to not make a mockery of myself through jokes – because that's what I believe you want.
Does this mean I no longer want to go out and have drinks? Dance the night away? Or make people laugh? Absolutely not. Making people laugh is what I take the most pride in over these last seven years. It's the one thing about myself that I'm sure of.
I don't have any of the answers to what this next chapter of my life holds. I spend more time searching and questioning than knowing. It's time to take back my persona, whatever it is, or may become...
In the end, you can try and make yourself desirable to everyone, but you can also end up being a sad caricature of no one. A cliché. We've all the right to continually redefine ourselves. People evolve. I've evolved.
Is there still a place for me where I call home? Whom everyone I know lives a life far different than mine? In a way, traveling in foreign lands makes me feel safe. Along with everyone else, I'm just a tourist making discoveries – not knowing what's behind each corner. A far better feeling than being a tourist in my own environment.
Ludicrous, belligerent, irresponsible... might still be accurate, but I won't hide behind it anymore.