Today I’m in Salzburg, Austria, two weeks into a four month trip through Europe and Southeast Asia. This means that this is my last blog post until 2023.
I started this in January 2022 with the hope of documenting my transition from going to school to being a professional magician. That process is, of course, ongoing. Here are some of the key lessons I learned:
1. Inspiration strikes when you work at it: The weeks I put a lot of time into writing, ideas seemed to flow. During the times I lapsed, the ideas did too. Insight is the result of the process, it is not a lightning strike.
2. Trust others: Nearly every one of my blog posts was edited by someone else. Magicians are used to being self-reliant: they are their own critics, stage managers, and script-writers. However, they are most successful when they have teams, and I immensely benefited from harsh edits, criticism, and feedback my team provided.
3. Just do it: I wrote this for nearly a month before I told anyone about it. I barely advertised this, and in no way do I claim to be an authority on creativity, magic, or college. But, I recognized that I was at a unique intersection in my life, and it was worth it to catalog the process and help those in a similar position. There is no perfect time to start a blog (or company, or novel, etc); the stars won’t align so that you can succeed. If there’s something in you that needs to get out–and you’ll know if that’s the case–just do it.
4. You never regret a run: I say this to myself every time it’s cold outside, or I’m tired, or I don’t “feel like” running. Never in my life have I regretted a run. Nor have I regretted a magic show, or a hike, or any activity where I expended energy into something that matters. Every endeavor offers chances to learn and grow, no matter what.
5. Do not be a slave to the system: I’m currently surrounded by people who are all unemployed. This makes sense–I’m staying in hostels and it is nearly impossible to work while traveling through Europe. I admire the bravery of each person who quit their job to fulfill what was usually a lifelong dream to see a new part of the world. But it saddens me how many people admit to their trip being their last hurrah. “I’ll get back home, get a job, and I guess that’s it. Back to the real world.”
But this is all the real world, and there are opportunities everywhere. We have an extremely limited time on Earth, and to spend it miserable is an insult to the privilege of being alive. This isn’t to say you need to, or should, quit your job on the spot and chase a spontaneous and half-assed dream to start a cupcake business. Nor does it mean that everyone has the means to do so–I’m incredibly lucky that my current situation is travel, but freedom and happiness can just as well be found anywhere.
It’s crucial to remember, especially in our twenties, that we are in the absolute prime of our lives. We can always make more money. We are more than young enough to recover from mistakes. But we cannot make more time. Of course, we should work. But the question is, are we doing something worthwhile? Are we actively putting good into the world? And if not…yeah, maybe I am saying you should take a step back to evaluate what you really want. Slow down, take your dream vacation, or start your band, or paint, or cook the recipe you saved on your phone six months ago. It’s pretty sweet.
I’ll see you in January. Onward.
Are you in New York City on September 24th? If so, make sure to get your tickets to the newest Evening of Magic show. This month features Amanda Nepo, one of the youngest magicians ever to FOOL Penn and Teller, and our show's producer, David Calamari. Grab your tickets here!