“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves” ~ Henry David Thoreau
A friend once told me, “The problem with self discovery, is all the self you discover.” At the time, I can remember internally scoffing at, what I perceived as a lame attempt to sound deep; sort of chuckling a little and answering with my go-to “throw away comment” of, “Yeah, I hear ya.”
I turns out, I did not hear her at all, because I’m literally living that saying, right now. Or, maybe it’s the complete opposite. Maybe I’m not discovering much self at all, because I feel lost.
For the past 18 months (give or take), I’ve been on a vision quest of sorts…well, a half-assed vision quest at best. No, I’m not looking to wrestle some kid for the state championship, or anything like that.
Shout out to all my 80’s kids who get that movie reference.
But trying to discover who I am. Where I fit in this world. Basically trying to figure if I’ve done anything noteworthy, or of much significance. Or, am I just another brick in the wall. Whoa…that got a little to deep there for a second.
Alright, allow me to dial it back for a moment and provide some clarity to my ramblings. I turned 40 recently, and as you can see, I’m handling it GREAT! The last 12 of those 18 months I mentioned earlier, have felt like a ticking clock, counting down the minutes until 40 arrived. And when I wasn’t stressing over that, it was wracking my brain over something to write about, worrying if I was in the right job, wondering if I was doing anything right in this whole parenting thing, and as for my marriage…(psh), don’t get me started.
So, as you can see, not a lot of self-care or relaxing going on. That’s why I was super-excited to receive an email inviting me to #TheNewKia influencer event I attended about three weeks ago. Not only was it with an awesome brand like Kia Motors America, but it was being held in my home town of San Diego, at one of the best hotels out there – the Hard Rock Hotel, right in the heart of the Gaslamp District.
It was just what I needed. A trip, filled with fun, cool people, fast cars, nice weather, far away from home…to my old home?
Now with a new obsession on my mind; the thought of what the word home really means, and can you have more than one, and….OMG, can I my brain just be normal for once?!?!
I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, because I’m not. The trip was everything I hoped for and more. The people from Kia were some of the most welcoming and gracious people I’ve met. And the host influencers, were awesome. I met so many new people to chat with online, and hopefully in person at other events, it had my head spinning. And that was all before I even got a chance to drive the Kia Stinger; which was the whole reason I was invited out there in the first place.
Let’s take a quick time out on the existential crisis that is my life at the moment, and talk about the thing that could make anyone forget about their worries…the Kia Stinger.
You guys, I’m not kidding when I say I think this might be the coolest, slickest car I’ve ever driven. Now, I’m not a car guy by any stretch of the imagination, but I know a nice car when I see one. And who doesn’t want to feel cool in a nice car? Just look at this car; I dare you to tell me this doesn’t fit that description…
I got to spend the whole second day driving around beautiful San Diego, in this beautiful car (ours was red though), with these awesome ladies; three hilarious bloggers I had never met before…
Oh, and I found out I had been nominated for an Iris Award (kind of like the blogger version of the Emmys) earlier that morning. I handled it with the grace and humility you would expect. It’s not like I let it go to my head or anything…
Ok…maybe a little. Hey, I’m a child of the 80s; how could I pass up the chance to pretend to be in a White Snake video?!? Speaking of which…
But even during all this fun with friends, new and old; even while driving this sexy machine, with it’s amazing Harmon Kardon sound system, and goes from 0-60 in 4.7 seconds, topping out at 167 MPH…not that I would know or anything. Well, there was a moment I almost changed my name to Cole Trickle, and dropped the hammer.
Even during all that, I could shake the nagging feelings I had been having, and even worse, WHY I was having them. During one of our many stops around San Diego, the ladies were off taking pictures, and I sat in the car zoning out, with my usually millions and millions of thoughts rolling around in my head, and then something clicked in my thoughts.
Earlier that morning, during the info/questions and answers portion of the event, the Director of Corporate Communications, James Bell, was giving us all the cool stats about Kia, where they were headed with the brand, and how things were only going to get better with cars like the Stinger. But it was during the history of Kia Motors America segment, aka the Started From The Bottom Now We Here portion, that something really resonated with me.
James told us about an event Kia held back in 1994, where absolutely no press covered. Not one outlet. Why? Because it was Kia. There was nothing sexy or interesting there, they were just the car you used to get from point A to point B. They were…familiar.
Kia decided they were done with simply exuding familiarity; they wanted to be exude desire, intensity, charisma, and most of all, confidence. They were tired of other telling them who they were. Telling them, “Yeah, you’re nice and all, but you’ll never be wanted like that car over there.”
So, they stared change in the face, threw caution to the wind, and said, the new Kia’s journey starts right now! And since that time, it’s been nothing but wins for Kia. So much so, a couple years ago Kia was rated #1 by J.D. Powers for new model reliability. The first time a non-luxury brand claimed the top spot over two decades.
How does that all tie in with my situation? Well, I feel like Kia right now. I’m a crossroad in my life, and I realize now it’s because I’m lost in familiarity. I’m just another dude. There’s nothing sexy or intense about me, and don’t get me started on confidence. I’ve let too many people tell me who I am, instead of going out there and showing people who I am. Well, that stops now!
I’ve heard a lot lately that life starts at 40. My life may not be starting over, but my journey certainly is, and now, thanks to Kia, I know what I gotta to do.