A story has five parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, a resolution. For a story to be entertaining, it needs to have each part.
But if you’re looking to tell a realistic story, it’s not always going to be entertaining.
Stories have clean conclusions.
A year is the time it takes the Earth to go around the sun. But a year’s time is not an endpoint to life events.
When you’re in the middle of growing, things don’t stop because it’s a new year.
Things continue as normal. A year is just an arbitrary point used by our mind to tell ourselves a better story.
It’s like your birthday. You won’t feel any older on that day.
My 2016 doesn’t have a clean ending, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot learned.
I experienced ups and downs from being fresh out of college, clueless with where I’m headed in life, all while trying to be a full-time entrepreneur.
People have journals.
I have a journal, but mine is published online.
Here’s my story:
- January 1st: I blocked (from my phone) the first girl I had feelings for. This was hard to do, but it was the right thing. It was an unhealthy relationship and one that would probably never completely end without taking this action.
- January 14th: I bought a new domain: AllPowerMoves.com.
- January: I became obsessed with the domain Sterp.com (five letters, pronounceable, sounds cool!) We agreed on a price after six months of bargaining.
- January: I lost $10k on my Twitter stock.
- February: My friends and I broke out the N64 and played some old school games (Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros).
- February: I rented out my garage to a friend to use as his workspace for $200 a month. He doesn’t pay.
- February: My friend asked if he could pitch me on the kitchen knives he was selling. I told him he could come over but I wouldn’t be buying anything. I bought a $150 knife. He cut through a rope with one stroke. It would’ve been a bad investment NOT to buy!
- March 1st: I sold Reviewpon for $10k. Reviewpon was the first legitimate site I created, but it became a chore to work on. It wasn’t fun.
- March: My aunt gave me her hot tub. My four-year-old next door neighbor helped me dig the hole for it. We had a great bond, but then his mom told him he wasn’t allowed to come over anymore.
- Spring: I met an amazing girl at the end of 2015. We started hanging out a few times a week, in the spring. I was convinced she was my future wife. She moved back to her hometown after she graduated. It was devastating to see things weren’t mutual. We continued to text after she left. This left the door open for me, but it only dragged things on unnecessarily. When it’s evident to everyone that someone’s not “all in,” take the hint. If they’re not all in, you shouldn’t wait for them to change their mind. Move on, even when it’s painful.
- Spring: I discovered veggie pasta. I hate vegetables but know the human body needs them. Veggie pasta tastes exactly like normal pasta but it counts as a serving of veggies. Real vegetables are better for you, but I think this is better than no vegetables.
- Spring: I listened to a lot of podcasts. (Favorite episodes from The Tim Ferriss Show: Tony Robbins, Naval Ravikant, Derek Sivers and Scott Adams.) I found comfort in hearing successful people talking about their dark times. If they can feel suffering, it’s alright for me to feel bad too. One of the worst things you can do is feel bad about feeling bad.
- Spring: I got invited to a fantasy baseball keeper league. The league has been around for ten years. I took over a terrible team and turned them into a playoff contender. I spent way more time on this team than I’d like to admit. It was a lot of fun and brought me back to my childhood dream of being the general manager for the Sox.
- Early March: I wrote a blog post about being unhappy. I wasn’t expecting it to be read but people 560 did. (Although, most of them were probably my mom logging on from different computers.)
- March 23rd: I went to a Celtics game, then got lost trying to get back to the T.
- March: I had a mental breakdown. I talked to my mom and brother throughout. We grew closer because we all think similarly and have been through the same pains.
- March: I scheduled an appointment to talk to a doctor. I started taking antidepressants to slow down my brain. Meds don’t fix everything, you still need to work on yourself every day. I’ve been exercising, reading lots of self-help books, finding inspiration from podcasts, and putting myself in better situations.
- April 2nd: I hung out with my friend in Manchester. It was my first time hanging out at bars, not in my hometown.
- April: My friend and I replaced the all the rotting windows in my garage.
- April: My accountant emailed to let me know I owe an additional $9k in taxes after already paying my quarterlies. (This caught me by surprise.) That was all the money I had. It was stressful. I had to sell my beloved iMac 27”.
- April: I had to dress up with a tie, for the second time in my life. I hated every minute.
- Spring: I got a lot of criticism from friends this year. They told me that I need to get a real job so I can experience the “real world.” Here’s what I realized: Out of self-preservation and laziness, friends don’t want you to succeed too much. They want you to be happy, but not succeed so much that you make them question what they’re doing in life. So when you work unconventionally and it works, it makes them question things. (I realize this might sound arrogant, but that’s not my intention.)
- Spring: I got into politics more than I thought I ever would (shoutout to, my guy, Bernie Sanders). A lot of young people got involved in the political process, and that’s important for our democracy. Casting a ballot is a cool feeling.
- Beginning of May: I had a new idea. Sterp. People have cool things and want to show them off. Why not give them a platform show off their stuff? If you’re looking to find new things, this is the place for you too.
- May 11th: My friend, from Boston, called me a few hours before a Sox game to see if I wanted to sit on The Monster with him. I did and it was great.
- May: I painted a room in my house that didn’t need painting. Again. I threw away my moleskin notebook with all my business thoughts because I thought it was holding me back. I realized I do these things when I feel out of control and want to regain control. From Tony Robbins: “When life doesn’t match your blueprint, and you don’t have control, that’s when you experience suffering. Helplessness is when life doesn’t match what you think it should be. The only thing keeping you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself. Change your blueprint when you can’t change your life.” It’s valuable to think in these terms, and it’s helped to explain a lot of why I felt terrible.
- May 20th: I went to another Sox game.
- May 25th: My dad invited my mom’s friends (and my brother and me) to Fenway for her 50th birthday. It made her happy, and it was a good time.
- Summer: I played men’s league softball for a different team than I normally do. The coach thought he was Terry Francona. He got way too fired up for the occasion. But whenever we were down, he knew how to pick us up with a “motivational Facebook post.”
- Summer: I went bowling a lot on Sunday nights. I’m a terrible bowler.
- Summer: I blogged a lot. This post is my 18th on this blog. I wrote more on other sites too. I found blogging therapeutic. I don’t care if no one reads my posts. I do it for myself. It’s a way for me to get the thoughts inside my head out and hold myself accountable for what I write.
- June: I started to look up to Casey Neistat, and I watched his vlog every day. I found him inspiring, and he made me want to work harder.
- June 20th: I sold Bidiction for $600, after spending more than $10k creating it. This is embarrassing, but a lot was learned.
- June: We designed and launched a beta version of Sterp. Then, I created a parody profile page, on Sterp, for my friend. I found that I love creating stuff people find funny or get pleasure from. That’s why I’m an entrepreneur. It solidified that I’m on the right career path. And when I’m down mentally, I need to create.
- June: I started to feel the best I ever have mentally.
- July 4th: I threw a party at my house. My friend almost set my backyard on fire.
- July: I had another mental breakdown. I started to freak out that my meds weren’t working and that I’d be stuck being miserable forever.
- July 15th: I wrote about my underwear: CamsUnderpants.com. I had a lot of fun with that project. Sorry, friends.
- August: I created a lot of niche sites in low competition markets. I don’t care about these sites. My only goal is to flip them once they show a few months of profitability. I used to be against this, but have found it’s alright to work on things with short term goals, as long as it’s not substantially hurting the longer vision.
- August: I went on Tinder date that went well. She insisted it was an “A- date.” We never spoke again.
- August 19th: I went on a baseball road trip to Detroit with my grandfather, brother, and cousins. The game started an hour late because of rain. Then we left when it went into another delay. We drove twelve hours, crammed in a minivan, for five innings of baseball. It sounds miserable, but it was a lot of fun.
- August: I blacked out, on a Tuesday, at a college party (I’ve been out of college for two years.) This was a low for me. It made me question a lot of things in my life, like why I put myself in certain situations. I took a few weeks off from drinking because I didn’t like where things were headed.
- August 30th: I had a fantasy football draft, in Boston, with my high school friends.
- September 16th: My friend didn’t want to walk back to my house from the bar. He “borrowed” a kid’s bike to get back. He gave me the responsibility of returning it. I don’t think anyone noticed.
- September 22nd: I went to the casino with my dad for the first time, and then watched the Patriots play at Gillette.
- Fall: I read and listened to a lot of books: Purple Cow, Money: Master The Game, Stumbling on Happiness, The Gifts of Imperfection, 4 Hour Work Week. Zero to One, by Peter Thiel, was my favorite. (By the way, Audible is a great app.)
- October: I refinanced my mortgage. I was able to knock off eight years and get my parents’ names off the loan. My parents never paid for my mortgage, but it’s cool to have JUST my name on the title. Also, the refinance let me pay off $10k in my high-interest student loans. I’m chipping away.
- October: I drove 50 minutes away for a girl I met on Bumble. Meeting up with a stranger, who lives far away, is not something I would’ve done last year. It made me uncomfortable. I took a chance, and it didn’t work out, but that’s cool. (Our night ended while hanging out in a dark cemetery. That was the last time we spoke.)
- October 12th: I spent an hour customizing an email pitch to one of my marketing heroes. I wanted it to be perfect and was nervous to hit send. I poured my heart out, in what I thought was the perfect pitch, he responded with “i like the hustle. site is promising.” Thanks, dude, I appreciate the whole seven words.
- November 1st: My roommate failed to pay rent. I turned off his electricity, and he moved out until he had funds. Balancing friendship with business is as hard as they say and don’t do it.
- November: My office and kitchen were not separated. I like my roommates, but sometimes I need to work and don’t have time to shoot the shit. I built “The Great Wall Of Cam.”
- November 28th: Power Moves hit an all-time high in daily visitors (5,780). This isn’t validation that this site is a success, but it’s a cool feeling to see more than 50 people on MY site, at the same time, reading something that I created. It makes you want to work harder.
- December: Working whenever you want is a dream for a lot of people, but it comes with disadvantages. It gets boring and is socially isolating. During the end of the year, I went to coffee shops for a few hours every day. Getting some human interaction was nice. I’ll continue to do this next year.
- December 2nd: I didn’t want a new car, but I bought a new car. I walked away with a $15k check and a new car at 0% fixed interest. It’s free money. I know this doesn’t make sense, but you’ll have to trust me. I took this money to pay off more of my student loans. This made me happy, but that happiness wore off after a week. Things like this can buy your happiness, but it’s only temporary.
Casey Neistat said, “the trouble with success is that it makes you very comfortable.”
This quote means you need to be uncomfortable to find success, but once you achieve that, you get comfortable again. Life is a battle of constantly challenging yourself to evolve.
My life has lacked adversity, and I haven’t taken many chances. I’ve been comfortable most of my life. This led to some success, but that was luck. I got even more complacent with success.
The lack of adversity caught up to me. 2016 was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been.
Everything that happened proved to be some lesson or if it hasn’t yet, I have confidence it will. This uncomfortableness will inevitably translate into more success or happiness.
I’m looking forward to 2017.
I found creating things makes me happy.
I like the challenge that it brings. This process can be painful but hitting the publish button is an addicting feeling.
In 2017, I want to create more things (whether that’s blogging, creating more sites, or YouTube). I want to get out of home town, see more of the world and have my thoughts challenged.
In 2017, I’m going to double down on the uncomfortableness.
I’m on a path to happiness, and that’s exciting.
But like I said, the problem with real life is that it doesn’t have a clean endi…