Pure Michigan, Pure Comfort.
I was put on this Earth to move.
It’s that simple.
Don’t sit still, don’t give yourself time to think, don’t analyze … just do. And when things aren’t going particularly well in life? Too damn bad. Shut up, embrace the moment you’re in and cherish the fact you can do whatever it is you want.
None of that motivational quote junk.
This fact was proven — in spades — last week, when I made the impulse decision to get in my Jeep and travel 1,100 miles north on I-75 to Detroit. No real established plan. Just get in, drive until you run out of gas and fill up when you do. And repeat.
Michigan is a comfort place. When I visit (from my current home in Florida), I feel invincible. I realize how corny and stupid that sounds. But, I’m being honest. It’s a place I feel like the best version of myself. Somewhere that “questions” and “uncertainties” simply do NOT exist. I have my bearings locked in, both literally and figuratively.
I think clearer. Food tastes better. And beer is stronger.
And here is my 7-day trip to the mitten state through pictures (because typing is annoying sometimes):
I grew up in Redford, Mich., and my dad still lives in the home I was raised. Lionel was reunited with a backyard he’s hung out in a couple times. A win-win. No leash for him … leaving me an empty hand to drink another beer.
Drinking at my buddy Nick’s in Macomb Township for a Memorial weekend hang out. Only the best craft beer money can buy. Some Gumball head here…
And Adam holding our empty KBS bottles from the evening. Yes, it was that epic of an evening. I’d like to think it was because I made the impulse to come home. No?
I made my way to East Lansing, my college town, to enjoy a night of pretending I was still 21 years old. This shot is me outside the (old) building of my fraternity house, Lambda Chi Alpha, at 128 Collingwood. The fraternity has since been moved to the opposite end of campus, but this is the house I’ll always remember.
And what’s a trip to East Lansing without a quick stop to see Sparty? Not 100% sure why this “arms at my sides” pose was the theme of the day, but apparently it stuck.
And when you’re a die hard MSU alumnus, and borderline alcoholic, you always stop at The Peanut Barrel for two of these long islands, which you quite literally are only allowed to have two of. Delicious. And full of booze.
The following morning I hit the links with my dad back in Redford. A man who taught me golf yet not enough to the point where I can even come close to beating him.
Then it was time for the ‘11 JK to get the new ACE Pro Series Front Bumper and Back Bumper. Ever seen a Jeep without a bumper before? Now you have.
And, as you probably guessed, I couldn’t go but a few days without getting the DSLR camera out. Nick and I shot the latest episode of Beer Me Out in his studio. Click here to watch the ep!
The beer drinking continued, this time at One Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale with both Eddie and Erik. We knew to ask for the “Secret List” in order to get Arcadia’s Special Edition Cellar Aged 3 Years. Delicious.
To burn off calories, I met Adam at Stony Creek Metro Park for a 10K run the next morning. Hungover and running 6 miles? Oh the things I do to myself.
Hustling from Stony Creek, I met my former co-worker Valerie at Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch, and to catch up on everything going on in our lives. It was at this moment that I remembered how big of an influence she’s had in my life. Just the best older sister I could ever have.
The next day, I met Nick at Vinsetta Garage to tackle their extensive food and beer menu. Oh, and did we ever tackle it. Gourmet burgers, dogs and fries with the smoothest draft beer in the D.
I spent quality time with my grandfather while I was home, too. He’s the person I’ve looked up to my entire life, and he’s only helped me to remember to continue to work hard and push forward toward what I want out of life. My hero.
The final evening of my stay in Detroit, I grilled out with Tyler and drank beers (not O’Douls, but boy were we excited to offer them for YOU). We have big plans for our careers in the future, and we always get to talking about it whenever we have booze in us.
Overall, this trip home was more than I ever could have asked for. I needed it, to be honest with you. I needed to escape from the grind in Florida and to just be with those I grew up with. It gave me great perspective on where I am and where I plan on going.
Now I’m back in Florida and ready to work hard at the next step of my career. So many good things are in front of me. Time to take advantage of all these opportunities.
Oh, and yes … I did steal this hat from my dad. Ssshhhhhh!
16 Months in Front of a Camera & Getting Paid To Wear T-Shirts
I towel off after a shower, hang it on a hook and begin dressing myself for Friday. Underwear, jeans, socks … and of course, a T-shirt.
For the past 16 months of my life, I made a full-time salary wearing them. Yes, you read that correctly. The cotton stretched across my less-than-man-like chest was actual advertising space for any company to rent, essentially, for a day, week or month. For a small price, I would promote a business in that shirt via high-res photos, self-made videos, and a 30-minute live USTREAM show every day.
This experience has been, in a word, incredible. A year and a half ago, I wanted to write comedy, shoot skits, edit them, and integrate my marketing background into it all. Oh, and get paid. That was kind of important. Shampoo for redheads isn’t cheap. I don’t think I was totally insane assuming that job didn’t exist. Then a good friend and co-worker pointed me in the direction of a guy who has been getting paid to do that exact thing since 2009. And he was hiring.
This all seemed way too good to be true. But hell, I was a charmer. I’d write him a personal e-mail, all about how great of a “shirt wearer” I’d be, and this guy would have NO EXCUSE but to hire me. Oh the cockiness of a 24-year-old.
But, uh, as it turns out, he receives thousands of job inquiries A DAY from people in every country of the WORLD.
Those high hopes I had?
Not gonna lie. Kinda crushed.
Dammit. I don’t really know how to edit a video. Probably not a great detail to mention in a “reply” e-mail. Or really anything I should ever say, seeing as I want to do it full time. I can’t imagine Windows Movie Maker is a very respected program in the videomakers’ realm. I need that same co-worker and friend’s help drastically but was afraid to ask him to teach me the art of VIDEO EDITING in a matter of a month.
But, if I wanted this badly enough, it was time to step out of a comfort zone or two.
After a lot of his help, a lot of practice myself, a lot of asking for my social network’s endorsement, and a lot (and I mean a lot) of sleepless nights, I submitted this. I watched hundreds of applicants’ videos pour in. Welp, fingers crossed I’m selected? I really had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Fast forward to May 2013.
I’m wrapping up my career as a “Professional T-Shirt Wearer.”
I got paid to be a chipmunk, a sassy drunk leprechaun, a professional ice skater, a karate master, a redneck, and a sorority girl. I got paid to play catch with Arena Football League players in Orlando, devour a 6-pound cheeseburger in Memphis, and camp out in a Firehouse Subs restaurant for 24 hours.
I got paid to walk the Las Vegas Strip in footie pajamas, eat tacos from a truck in Cape Cod, and Instagram pictures from the top of the Empire State Building in New York City.
But most importantly, I got paid to be me.
I am that goofball you see on screen everyday. It’s no act. There’s no personality transformation to get my job done. My mind never stops spinning, always looking to the next idea. I’m inappropriate at the most awkward times. I joke around about sensitive subjects. I simply don’t have the patience for a 9 to 5. Or society’s norms for that matter. And this unique opportunity allowed me to escape from sitting at a desk and pretend-to-work-but-really-Facebook-stalk-people-when-nobody-is-looking.
I moved from Royal Oak, Michigan to Jacksonville Beach, Florida just three months into the job, to be closer to IWearYourShirt.com’s headquarters. I saw a great thing and jumped on it. I created more than 400 videos, took roughly 2,100 photos and laughed just slightly less than 1 million times.
The intimate IWYS community gave me so, so much to wake up to every morning. Fans excited, itching to see what type of content we as a team would post next. There’s no greater feeling than having people whole-heartedly appreciate your hard work and want nothing more than to see more of it. It made me job easy, even when it was stressful and more than I could handle, at times.
The future and what’s in store.
I am still an employee of The Really Awesome Company, Inc. (IWearYourShirt.com). We, as a team, are developing the next stage of the company. We have an entire business model laid out and this week, we begin building it. I can’t give any details, mainly because Jason could crush me with just one of his size 17 shoes, but I can say this:
It’s big. Really, really big.
The Social Media Pessimist video series WILL indeed continue, with a new episode every Wednesday morning. We at IWearYourShirt.com will not be wearing sponsored T-shirts or posting sponsor videos.
An e-mail list is being created to keep those interested in the loop about our next big project. Visit our website soon for that.
All the thanks in the world.
I’m sorry about clogging your Newsfeeds for 16 months, but you have no idea how much I appreciate you all. Whether you clicked “Hide” on my profile or not, I want you all the know how grateful I am to have you in my life. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
This job was unlike anything else out there and I did exactly what I wanted to do with it. It taught me account management and client relations, video scripting and editing, public speaking, and how to work harder than you ever humanly thought possible.
And a gigantic thank you to Jason for believing in me, giving me this opportunity, and flat out teaching me why an entrepreneurial lifestyle kicks ass. There is no other way to live in my book.
You’ll be seeing my face in a social media rant soon enough.
Sean Ely … aka, TheSeanWoW
The Eats, The Exercises, The Drinks (April 2013)
I’m that blogger who loses interest. And no, I don’t expect anyone to keep up with anything that I write, because you’ll be — quite honestly — let down. I don’t love blogging, but every once in a while, I feel the need to write on here.
You haven’t heard from me in a while so what is it that I’m into right now?
I’ve been doing some work with Firehouse Subs recently. My lord. I had never heard of their 606-restaurant chain until I moved to Florida, but now that I have? An obsession has started. This is a chain-style establishment that feels like a 1-store mom ‘n pop sandwich shop. Brisket, Italian, Pulled Pork, Turkey and Ham … whatever you order is mouth-watering and I just want more of it.
I don’t stick to one exercise routine. The whole point of this blog — and how I live my life — is to act on how you feel in that particular moment. Monday might be a 3-mile run. Tuesday could be a 25-minute weight workout after 15 minutes on the elliptical. Wednesday morning is a 2-hour pick-up basketball day. I’ve been switching it up daily and what does that make me want to do? Start P90X again Ha, I just can’t win.
My beer of choice is Lagunitas Sucks right now. It’s unlike anything I’ve drank in a while and it’s made its second appearance into beer stores after selling out quickly. Get some of it. Now.
It’s 2013! I’m late to the party!
It’s 2013. I haven’t posted. I hate leaving my blog unattended like that. Unattended is the wrong word. It’s 3:30 a.m. My insomnia has only gotten worse as I’ve aged. I’m working a lot. I’m excited for the future of our company. I’ve never met people who work harder than this. I’ve been learning about the art of tequila. I’ve sampled a lot of unbelievably expensive tequila recently. I still drink craft beer like water. I joined an IMPROV troupe. I love performing on stage. I’m staying in Jacksonville Beach for 2013. Big things are in the works. Shorter sentences seemed more efficient. These are words. More stuff coming soon.
the spoiled, ungrateful 20-something.
I’m spoiled. I’m lucky. I have every great thing a 25-year-old kid from the suburbs of Metro Detroit could ever want. And for most of the year, I strive for more. Like what I have is not enough. Sometimes my health, my family, my life that’s so easy to live? I expect those things every day I wake up. I think we all do. That’s part of life. It’s as if those components of my life should remain perfectly in tact and everything else revolves around them.
But, that’s not the case.
Health can spike. Family can implode. Life can turn very, very quickly.
So rather than waiting to learn a life lesson from a tragic life event, I’m taking the day to really focus on the comfort and ease that is my life. How thankful I am for being given everything that I am. Every year on my blog, I talk about what I’m thankful for and what means the most to me. I’m all about traditions, as you can see.
My grandfather is my ultimate hero, the person who sits in the back of my mind no matter where I am or what I’m doing. He constantly reminds me of where I came from, the childhood I so fortunately had and where I’m capable of going with hard work. He’s been all over the world and experienced so much in his 80+ years on Earth and, without probably even knowing it, inspires me with his every word.
My mom and dad are very different people, but they share a few common similarities that have made me who I am. First of all, they’re loving. They care more about my brother and me than anything else in the world, and that shows. Secondly, they’re funny. Without trying to be, they are comedians in their own rights and I think that’s soaked through to me. And lastly, they’re hard working. They take pride in what they do and they have showed me that sitting around is for losers, to put it bluntly.
My brother is my best friend. The kid that has sat next to me — whether we’re in the same part of the country or not — for the past 22 years. He’s tough, he’s intelligent and he’s as sharp as a freakin’ tack. His quick-witted humor is the most impressive thing about him and he refuses to ever back down from anything. I love the kid so much. What do people do without siblings?
My girlfriend is this tiny, stunningly-beautiful creature that balances me out, therefore making me a better human being. She never lets me take life too seriously and she’s always focusing on the little things that make life so worth living. She’s helped me realize that relationships aren’t all about smiling and being happy. Life sucks sometimes and the couples that can piss each other off yet turn around and grow from it? That says something. We’re continuing to build what we have and I’m glad we’ve done so. She’s the greatest.
My closest friends are few. I say that because I’ve always been one for keeping specific friends extremely close to me; individuals who know what I’m thinking when something happen in my life, without ever having to actually ask me. I’ve also realized that I only cling to hard workers. I can’t stand laziness or people who don’t make something for themselves. I thank these people for pushing me and never letting me sit still.
Beer because a life without hops is a life without smiles, happiness and skipping.
Legs because a life without the rush of finishing a race is a sad, cold one.
Video cameras because life is too precious not to capture on film.
Lionel Bean because true happiness comes from the love of a puppy
There are — quite obviously — a million other things and people (specifically) that I’m thankful for, but this post had to end sometime today, right?
This year has been a whirlwind, but I’ll hold off on all that for now. A year-in-summary post is inevitable for late December. I’m thinking a video will appropriately be made to summarize all that.
For now? I’m thankful for this life and continuing to move forward.
Vault: Thanksgiving 2011’s “thankful (for the ability) to be thankful” post