My father was an electrical engineer, and my mother a crafty housewife with a hidden talent for art and music. I'm told I was a precocious little by-product of the two: Intensely deep and thoughtful, while simultaneously sensitive, entertaining and artistic. A real handful.
In school I was put in the Gifted Enrichment Program. I had no idea what Gifted meant but for six years, twice a week, I was bused to a second school, where I would get to explore the world with other kids who saw the world though a very sharp lens.
Young life was unconventional for me. Most of my friends had toys from a store, wore new clothes and watched cable TV: I built go-karts with wood and rode bicycles made from parts pulled out of the neighbors' trash. I once hauled an old antenna out of the attic and spent hours trying to tune in remote TV stations. I played an antique violin and sewed my own stuffed animals. My clothes were handed down from relatives and my mom cut my hair into a nifty bowl shape, once every few months.
I grew up confident, but never very competitive. I played sports, but could care less about winning. In high school I quit the baseball and football teams when I realized the kids were too serious. I wasn’t interested in invisible trophies. I wanted to make something tangible.
Being your own person makes you a target for abuse and scrutiny. But eventually you recognize the advantage of thinking differently. I know it sounds obvious, but the traffic is much thinner on the road less traveled.
Looking back at my life, a pattern emerges to me: My strength is in taking non-related things and making something useful out of them. Give me a box and some rubber bands and it becomes a guitar. Give me an old lampshade and some copper pipes and I'll make you a wind chime (on the left).
Steve Jobs once said that when you look at your life in retrospect, the dots always connect. I have to believe the future dots will connect as well. So I don’t worry too much about how things will turn out. Whatever pieces I have at the moment, I'll use them to build a vehicle that takes me to the next stop.
My wife Michelle and I were just three days into owning our first home, when I decided to take a sledgehammer to the wall and make some cosmetic changes. She cried. I admit, I didn't plan ahead, but I figured, I’ll just piece things together and make it work.
Heck, I’d been piecing things together for my entire life.
Wine Living was essentially another one of those moments. I was thinking deeply about a career change and had no idea what to do. I looked at my life at the time: Fifteen years of Graphic Design and Multimedia experience, a life of art, music, passion for travel, a fondness for making wine and studying about it, and nothing to lose.
I dove into the WSET with a thirst to learn, and after two and a half years was out on the other side with a diploma and a title, but still no idea what to do with them. So I took my latest skill set, an interest in film and video editing, and started making movies about what I had learned.
Here I am. Fifty videos later, one of them award-winning, several countries visited, many wineries and distilleries interviewed, and now I’m being invited to attend important local events and be a part of the growing group of people who are embracing wine and spirits.
Not bad, for not really knowing what I'm doing. All I can tell you is, in whatever you want, just be confident that the dots will eventually connect if you keep trying. Just try to find the shapes in that field of spots, and draw the lines in your own way.