I don’t write a lot of personal stuff here anymore. There was a time when a “blog” was all about pouring feelings all over the internet. The internet has changed. Blogs have changed. Commenters now have Facebook. Our readership has remained stable over the years, but we’re no longer comment driven. Here, we now lean more towards being a news source than a clearing house for discussion.
All of that is OK, I guess. When I signed on to the old place ten years and two months ago, there was no agenda. It was a lark. Alcohol “may” have been involved. I only wanted to make a smart-assed comment. I made up the name “Icarus” in less than two minutes. Two minutes bought me a decade and counting.
For those that want the back story, there’s a link here. Another link is in that one that goes back to the very beginning. To borrow the term used by my friend Thomas Wheatley, it’s an “epic tale of woe”. It has a happy ending, more or less. Less in that the journey is still underway. If there’s one thing the last 90 days have reminded me, it’s that life IS the journey. I remain a lucky man.
There’s only one end, and it’s very final on this side. Luckily, it’s eternal on the other. There’s one thing about the timing of the anniversaries of revealing who was behind the Icarus moniker for three years – now on it’s eighth commemoration. It’s usually close to Easter. This is a story of redemption. Mine, especially the blogging part, it all about that.
Ten years ago I was in a home waiting to be foreclosed upon, the real estate crisis having taken me out a bit earlier than most. I had borrowed $30K to put myself in business. I made about $2 million. I lost about $4M of it. There’s a much longer story there, but that’s all you really need to know. I take the blame, and the consequences, real and self-imposed, have taken time to work themselves out.
It’s been an interesting journey since. Many have helped me along the way. I’ve tried to help a few along the journey as well. Some marginally successfully. Others…not so much.
Ten years ago I had lost all my money, my career, and the ability to do everything I had been trained to do professionally. I honestly wondered how long it would take before I could get a job that didn’t involve working a drive through window. It’s been a fine line re-establishing self-confidence and self-worth without reigniting the underlying arrogance that was almost my fatal flaw.
Luckily, in the best stories of redemption, doors are opened that are surprises and plot twists. A corporate job in a field I had never worked in, the prior website and this one, and frankly, my entire very public involvement in politics and government are some of them. But not all of them. The journey continues. The forks in the road are numerous. Some of them, I’m going to take.
Why am I writing this? Why the new blood all over the recently mostly-sanitized internet?
Several reasons. I’d be lying if I didn’t count the last 90 days as both a reminder and a wake up call. At Jon’s memorial service, I spoke somewhat bluntly about the lessons I’m quite sure Jon and/or God were trying once again to teach me. I tried to listen. I hope I got the right ones down.
Jon and I had already started the transition of day to day full control to him. Obviously, that plan wasn’t in the cards. As such, I’m back. And yet, not. I have other things that need doing.
I don’t mind writing here and sharing the occasional opinion. We’re going to have a collaborative management structure for the near future. No new “Editor In Chief” will be named soon. Frankly, there’s not yet a need. Our contributors’ work stands on its own. If you have an issue, comment, contact them directly, or use the email in the hot link above that says “Tipline”. You don’t need to call and text me if you disagree with something that’s written. My phone is not a substitute for the comments section.
Then, there are folks whom I don’t work for that still feel…familiar enough to reach out at odd hours to discuss this blog and politics. It’s getting old. It’s flattering, and I don’t want to be “that guy”, but the time management of all hours access has to change. I genuinely like most of the people I’ve inadvertently trained to hit me at random late times to chat. The result of that is that after ten years this is no longer my happy place. It’s no longer fun. It’s work. It’s not my job, but is integral to it. And discussion of politics 18 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, has made this very, very old.
I’ve grown to loathe many social functions of my friends. Political activist friends beget political activist friends. And when we/they get together, guess what all they want to talk about is? Yep…more work. (For those that need a self-help group, here’s a 4 year old Facebook thread filled with mostly political people from all political stripes. The foremost rule? No politics. It’s going strong some 183K+ comments later.)
I’m not saying this because I want/need/expect pity. It’s a problem of a certain level of success, and also yet another self-inflicted wound. I’ve allowed and encouraged this behavior. I’ve often benefitted from it. But having been around the block a few times now, I hope one of my life lessons is to take some corrective actions before it all blows up. Again.
Ten years ago I had to make the decision that the bad was eventually going to pass, and that I was going to live. Now, I’m making the corrective decision that I need to pay more attention to living well, and to living right. I’m not talking about monetary trappings or seeking more publicity, but re-establishing a balance with real me that Icarus shoved aside for therapeutic purposes. Quality of life – and some reasonable facsimile of a private life – will be my priority.
As such, I’m moving forward. Icarus…will now be a memory. I’m removing his name from my Facebook page and my twitter handle is now @CharlieBHarper. He was quite useful at a time I needed him, but all good things must come to an end. This time Icarus didn’t have to have his wings melt. He’s just faded away.
The next steps in the journey have already begun. I’m grateful to those of you who have been a positive force in my life over the past ten years. I hope we’ll continue to enjoy the journey together for some time to come. Hopefully you’ll even enjoy – maybe even be a bit surprised by – one or three of the next chapters.
Now y’all don’t let me fly too close to the sun on my own again, OK?