So it’s been a about a month since I’ve left Buffalo to live on my own and start the next chapter of my life in Rochester. It’s been a huge wake-up call for me - I never would’ve imagined all of the things that you need to keep up on to maintain a clean and welcoming home. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had at least one mental break down yet, but hey I guess that’s part of growing up and having to take care of yourself.

I wanted to write this first and foremost to let my friends and family back home know that I haven’t forgotten about you. I think about you all constantly, and wish that I was still back there with you all more frequently than I care to admit (or that you were all here :) ).

Through it all though, I still believe I’ve made the right choice and am taking the correct path for me in life right now. I’ve always said that there’s a huge world out there, and I’d hate to spend my entire, one life in the same spot forever. I don’t want to be 80, looking back at my life with regret that I didn’t take enough chances and risks.

There’s definitely a few lessons I can give to people who plan on moving out soon looking to start their next chapter. Here’s some things I’ve learned in the last month.

First off, as much as you think you understand that you’ll have to do your own laundry, cook your own food, wash your own dishes, or take out your own garbage, there are tons of minor tasks that I promise you’re missing. I quickly grasped the concept that literally NOTHING will get done unless I physically get up and make it happen.

Next off, force yourself to be adventurous. Drive to a park you’ve never heard of before by yourself and walk around. Take a bike ride aimlessly around a part of town you’ve never been to before. Go out to places where you barely know anyone and strike up conversations with strangers. If you can’t get these tasks done, you’ll do what I did my first two/three weeks - sit in your apartment alone, depressed with nothing to do.

Also, appreciate the hell out of your parents, and everything they do. Living on my own has proved really, really difficult, and I have a maintenance crew on hand to deal with all of the issues with my home. Between me and my brother, my parents spent 25 years not only managing their own lives with a home, but they somehow threw in taking care of two other people as well. Seriously, appreciate the hell out of your parents and everything they do. I know it’s a cliche that every kid living at home hates to admit, but everything they do really starts to make sense once you’re on your own.

I’ve learned how important it is to never forget where you came from. Whatever issues you have with your family or your hometown, they are huge reasons you are who you are today, so appreciate that. Buffalo is an amazing city, and every person living there talking about how awful it is or how they can’t wait to get out of there, I’m sorry you don’t appreciate the city for what it is. Buffalo doesn’t have a music scene that rivals NYC, it doesn’t have the crazy parties and clubs that you’ll find in Miami, and it doesn’t have the population growth of cities out west, but for what that city has to work with, it’s amazing. I really look forward to weekends where I go back and get to see the city, it’s beautiful waterfront, and all of the fun locations I’ve hung out around the suburbs over the last 22 years.

Finally, I don’t think I’ll ever break the feeling of Cheektowaga, and specifically my parents’ house being called “home.” When I go home for the weekend and spend one night in my old bed, it feels like I’ve been on a long trip away and have finally returned “home.”

All in all, I have no regrets. Buffalo isn’t going anywhere, my friends are all still there supporting me, and I really love my life in Rochester so far. I’m excited to continue writing this chapter of my book, and fill in all of the blank pages I have ahead of me.

Cheers.

Content

For the first time in my life, I’m content with everything around me.

I fucking hate it.

Happiness

Don’t base your happiness on luck, for you’ll find yourself often disappointed.
Don’t base your happiness on another, for when they are gone you have nothing.

Don’t place your happiness in trust, for words are easily crossed.
Don’t place your happiness in love, for hearts are fragile and scared.

Don’t search for happiness in passions, for those can come and go.
Don’t search for happiness in nature, for seasons come and go.

 

Happiness is a strange topic that I’ve spent a good portion of my life trying to understand.  What is it?  Where does it come from?  How do we achieve it?  Is there one, concrete, generalized formula for acquiring it?

Are “love” and “happiness” synonymous?

When we feel excited for something or someone, is that excitement a measure of our happiness?

I was never able to really figure out, at the bare bones, what that word means.  Lately, I’ve tried to use reverse logic, and find out what happiness isn’t.  This constant empty feeling that I have - is that a lack of happiness?  The fact that I am never, ever satisfied with anything in my life - is that a lack of happiness?  Or my incessant need to be in reciprocated love with someone worth all I have to offer - does that mean I’m unhappy?

While maybe not synonymous, I think love and happiness have a lot in common.

I feel like I’ve spent my entire life searching for something to fill that emptiness, maybe that something is this “happiness” I’ve been so obsessed with finding forever.  Am I the only one who feels this way?  I never wake up and feel content with my life, or good about the things I’ve accomplished.  In a strange way… I almost like it this way.  It pushes me to continue working hard to succeed at whatever I do.  One of my favorite Chinese proverbs states, “Train as if you’ll never achieve your goal, but still with the fear of failing to achieve it.”  I feel like this void in me makes that easy to follow.

Does a lack of happiness feel the same way as a broken heart?

The last year of my life has by far been the best.  I feel like I say that every year of my life, so I don’t know why I’m still so upset.  I guess it’s good because if I ever decided to just lose focus and expect things to take care of themselves, they would be far worse.  What I have learned is that whatever the hell “happiness” means, it’s something that is strictly in the hands of the individual, and not a single external factor can affect it.  Not the weather, not luck, not other people, not money…

Both are similar in the sense that they leave you feeling broken.  But just like anything that’s broken, it can be fixed.  If you truly have the desire to be full again, you can always put yourself back together - piece, by piece, by piece…

Impulse Mondays w/ Alex Vulaj of Solid State Society

Live house/moombahton mix from tonight’s Impulse Live Sessions / Impulse Mondays.  Honestly the best set I think I’ve ever spun in my life :D  Enjoy, and please please please share if you like!

Tonight’s Set

"Hey alex, I had a lot of fun when we went out but I had been previously talking to someone else for a while and when he found out I went out with someone else he asked me not to again because things are getting serious… you’re a really nice guy and it’s nothing personal I’m sorry.”

And this sets the mood for my dark, angry set tonight. Hope you all come out and enjoy it.

Closing Off

My entire life, I’ve met people who are closed off.  ”I was hurt so bad, I could never open up to someone like that again.  I’ll get hurt again.”  I hear variations on this way too often, and it makes me wonder about myself.

I’ve been hurt, but why aren’t I the same way as these people?  Why am I not so closed off and cold like they are?  I’ll admit, I’m a little bitter over certain situations, but I haven’t been this much myself since I was 16 years old.  I’m happy, I’m open, I’m loving, and everything I’ve ever wanted to be successful in is really going my way lately.

I thought about why it’s a bad idea to close off, and about how forcing myself to go out and be open has allowed me to rediscover myself, and be happy with who I am.  To share this with you guys, I’ve summarized my conclusions into two main points.

1.) Closing yourself off is lying down and admitting defeat.
When someone hurts you, and you respond by closing off your entire personality to people, you may as well take away everything you are, hand it to the person who hurt you and say “Here it is, every part of me.  You defeated me and took it all away.”  You give up the bright, happy person that you were at one time (yes you were, shut up) and completely lose yourself.  Not only do you lose yourself, but you start to lose the people around you.  You may be saying “that’s fine, because the ones who care will stay!”  Perfect segue into point #2…

2.) Closing yourself off does not act as a filter that keeps out shitty people.

This can be examined from two perspectives: Finding/keeping “true” friends around, or finding new partners.  Let’s take a look.

2a.) You may think that to some level, keeping people away will show you who your “true friends” are by seeing who sticks around.  This might be true to a small extent, but not even close to as favorable as most people like to think.  What we don’t realize is that going through such a cold, dark phase doesn’t just bring you down, but it weighs equally on the ones who care deeply for you.  In other words, even your truest of close friends can hit a breaking point trying to get you back on your feet.  When they walk away, it isn’t because they don’t care anymore; rather, they’ll walk away because they can’t handle your stress on top of their own.  It’s always important to remember that on some level, everyone is fighting their own battles and dealing with their own problems.  Sometimes there legitimately is no room for your problems too.

2b.) When you’re hurt by a past boyfriend or girlfriend, you may choose to close yourself off for a while, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Often times, breakups can leave emotional scars that take a while to recover from; however, know your grievance period and move on before your life starts to get away from you.  Some people never do get out of that phase, and they don’t even realize it.  These are the people I primarily see putting up such strong walls, which is really ironic.  They construct these tall, thick fences around themselves thinking “Only a REAL man/woman will fight to get inside.  I don’t deserve anything less than that.”  Not only is this an arrogant attitude that screams “I watch too many romantic comedies,” but it’s completely flawed.  In reality, anybody who actually would be legitimately worth your time will say “Nah, I don’t have time for children” and go about their stable, steady, and comfortable life.  Stop waiting around for your “real” man/woman to pull you out of your hole and save you; people who truly have their life together won’t waste their time.

It’s YOUR job to control your life.  Nobody and nothing else controls your happiness, your success, or your motivations for what you do.  It isn’t, nor should it ever be, anyone else’s job to make you happy.  To blame the failure of any of these things on someone else is simply immaturity, and the main reason you’re being held back.

#speakingFromExperience