No computer, TV, or smartphone after 10pm. As simple as this challenge was on the surface, it was one of the toughest yet. Still saw it through, but the rules were bent a little.

Alexis likes to wind down and relax with some TV at night. If I was gonna be around her at all on weeknights, I was gonna be watching some TV after 10pm. Made sure I was only a spectator though. When she’d ask what we should watch, I’d only reply, “I have no say in this.” She was very quick to love the month’s challenge.

Other than that, I stuck to it. 10pm on the dot. Most nights I’d be right in the middle of working on the computer, frantically racing to get something just a little bit further before 9:59 flashed 10:00. It was a hard challenge because most nights, maybe every night, I just didn’t want to stop at 10. To sit and create something has been my hobby, profession, and passion for my entire life. A computer is my typewriter, drafting table, brush and paint, hammer and chisel, sound stage and camera, and on, and on, and on. It’s hard for me to step away from it. Always has been. When things start to connect creatively, I can forget to eat, rob myself of sleep, and neglect my relationships. Passion and addiction could probably be siblings.

I ended up spending my newly freed time reading, enjoying my wife’s company, putting thoughts to a page, and catching up on sleep. Stepping away from the screen wasn’t always what I wanted to do, but I think it’s what I needed to do. At the time I’m writing this, I finished the challenge almost two weeks ago, and I’m still generally keeping up with it. Not as strictly as I was, but that’s alright. As hard as I try to make everything be either black or white, I know nothing ever truly is.

Self-imposed deadlines on self-initiated projects haven’t ever killed anyone, right?

Ten years ago, I wrote the code and made the very first doodles for Six Foot Giraffe. It was done over two weeks on my college winter break, sitting in my old bedroom of my parents South Florida home.

Just like anyone else, I connect particular songs and albums to particular moments or periods of my time, and that specific period ten years ago connects to Continuum by John Mayer. The album was on loop as I worked through the day and night.

I’m the type that plays a song or album on repeat until I can hardly stand it anymore. The years have tested and proved Continuum to be one of my favorite albums. It was a funny feeling seeing him live a few weeks ago. I guess ten years ago, working in that bedroom and playing those songs on repeat, I wouldn’t have thought I’d hear them live, in California, next to my Fiancé, and later writing about it on Six Foot Giraffe.

Slow Dancing In A Burning Room by John Mayer.

10 years ago on this day I made my first post on Six Foot Giraffe. A doodle of a giraffe standing on a rocket blasting off through the stars. A bit of low-hanging fruit symbolizing the launch of my student portfolio site. I was twenty years old, and had no idea or expectation that my little website and modest doodles would end up largely shaping the course of my life and identity.

The past 10 years of Six Foot Giraffe have largely been a chronicle of my twenties. My achievements, failures, adventures, loves, and losses. It’s all here. Some written out in plain english, and others requiring a bit of reading between the lines. Memories the years might have stolen from me had I never stopped to reflect and share.

It’s also been my main outlet to fulfill my thirst to create. A place to make good art, bad art, and everything in-between. Somewhere to satisfy curiosities. It’s been fun and luminating for me to see how I’ve grown and changed artistically over the years.

What I’ve been doing here over the past 10 years has brought me joy, clarity and on occasion even resonates with others enough to inspire. Looking ahead, I have no doubt that this space will continue to grow and evolve. In to what, I can’t say. I do know that I’m just as in love with making art as I’ve ever been. I know that I’ll never stop.

To those who have supported and encouraged me all along the way, thank you. So much.

Happy Ten.

Brace yourself, this whole rant is going to sound a bit dramatic.

I don’t care what anybody says, going bald sucks. Especially in your early twenties. When I had the realization that I was losing my hair at the fresh age of 24, it was the first time I realized that I wasn’t gonna live forever…

Like I said, this is going to sound a bit dramatic.

Of course no one lives forever, but when you’re that young, you really do feel invincible. At least I know I did. But now I had this constant reminder of my mortality. A reminder that time was passing and that I was getting old. Not to mention the feeling of a waning identity. Thinning, receding, balding. It doesn’t get better, it just get’s worse. It’s chronic.

I fought like hell. Slathered lotions and potions on my head, adjusted my diet, and did enough reading on the topic to probably deserve a certificate of some sort. But by 30, the same haircut I had for the past 6 years had slowly but surely just become a combover. Yikes.

So on my 30th birthday I walked into the barbershop and asked for a buzzcut. Decided if I have to keep going through it, I didn’t want to do it kicking and screaming, trying to hold on to something I already lost. I want to go through it with grace.

Was it for the better? Was it for the worse? Am I being dramatic? Absolutely to all of the above. All I can honestly say is, I don’t feel like I’m hiding something anymore, and that feels really, really good.

At the end of the day it’s only hair, and there are infinitely worse things out there. I’ve got a lot of wins in my life that I hardly deserve, so I’ll take a few losses. Or even a full head of them.

Self diagnosed.

From Small Things by Bruce Springsteen.

Cement around my feet is almost dry.