What is the meaning of life? To everyone comes a different answer. Life, a gift. A gift so complex, so vast and beautiful many spend most of their lives just trying to figure it out. As we only live one life we cannot compare it to previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come. Thus making this gift even more precious, for once it is gone, it is gone.

So, it’s not what we want, say, or think that truly matters. It’s only what we do. Simply, it is what defines us. It is our story. And personally, I like to shake mine up from time to time.

Who do you think you are? Every morning I wake up a different man. A new man. I base my actions on who I was yesterday and what I know of today. And as the years I carry grow heavier I sometimes struggle to remember why I do certain things. How do I know I’m the best I can be without challenging who I am? So, I have taken practice to not take myself for granted, to occasionally hold myself up for an examination. Change something and document the outcome. Always be reevaluating, always be growing.

There were many reasons I decided to take a photo of myself every day in 2008. To challenge my photography skills, to document my adventures, but also to escape myself and see Dean from a different point of view. So, after a year of literal self-reflection, I discovered I felt engaged and invigorated! And totally burnt out. I wanted to continue to explore, to challenge but needed something less time-consuming. So, my next project was simple — do nothing. Born out of pure curiosity after shaving my head, I let my hair grow without a single snip. As the days passed I watched myself transform; my hair testifying to my passage through the days one millimeter at a time. A year later I saw time visualized, sitting on top of my head. Later, as I cut it all off and it fell to the floor, I sat there staring at a true physical representation of the last 365 days. Produced by me. Now gone. Literally history.

There are many things we do simply because we like to do them. All have risks. All have consequences. It’s the individual who must struggle with the options. So, many times we get into habits in which we forget, we act impulsively, instinctively, subconsciously. Taking the time to audit your life, your choices, are something that must take priority once in a while. Otherwise, we are just adrift through the seas of time, picking up shiny things, forgetting to peek inside to discover the outboard motor in ourselves as we waft closer to the edge of that beautiful waterfall of doom. And that’s no way to live.



I drink. I’ve been gobbling down booze since I was a teenager. Not daily mind you. But I would be hard-pressed to say there has been a week that’s gone by that I didn’t have at least a sip of wine or beer. But why? Had I just accepted that it was a normal part of my social environment? If you can’t miss something if it is always around, then how did I know what drinking truly was to me if I never came up for air? I know a few people who abstain for various reasons; what would it be like to jump into their shoes?

The more I thought about it the more reasons poured over me: Alcohol is a poison, if I stopped what would be the effects on my health, motivation, energy, memory, and overall body condition, how much money would I save, how would I feel about drinking after a year, would I finally get my butt to the gym on a regular basis, could I make better decisions, would I eventually appreciate alcohol more, what would it be like not to drink in social situations, bars and parties and what would be reactions of people, my friends, when I told them I’ve stopped drinking?

Truthfully, the most compelling reason that has convinced me to climb aboard that infamous wagon of sobriety? It is doing something against your nature. Redefining yourself. Keeping this promise and following through with it will give me a glimpse of my willpower — a better understanding of myself. Curiosity piqued. The bar has been set, to closed.

“When you stop drinking, you have to deal with this marvelous personality that started you drinking in the first place.”
—Jimmy Breslin


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