End of Year Tangents
Two things I’m leaving behind in 2023, a facelift, and a thank you video.
Welcome to the last day of the year! The burnt end. The crust. The banana peel of the year 🍌.
I get the feeling most of you are not in the mood to read my comprehensive essay on how to achieve world peace told through the plot of Love Actually, so we’ll keep this short and sweet.
If you only have 2 minutes to read this, then skip to the end and watch my Thank You video. I’m exquisitely cringy in it–so you know it’s going to be great.
Two things I’m leaving behind in 2023
My phone addiction
My left hand has a retina display, a powerful camera, and is made of titanium. Fingers give way to a metal rectangle with the power of a thousand humans.
Though I have good reasons to transmute my hand into a phone.
I’ve got friends in all sorts of places. Across the oceans. Wanderers. Habitants of faraway lands. I dread our friendship lines drifting apart. I want to stay connected.
I must know what’s happening at all times. Knowledge is power and I want to be mighty. Herculean even. A worldly man with the foresight of an Oracle.
I want to be entertained. It distracts me from my incompleteness. The weariness of my flaws makes me feel as if I was naked in the middle of a football stadium. So I cover myself with funny Instagram reels at midnight. I trade awareness for dopamine.
I need it close to me, so when thoughts like these emerge, I don’t let them escape. It’s the only way to catch lightning. An epiphanies-catcher.
I have hundreds of more excuses, each one for every minute my phone fuses with my hand. And I could be the world champion of rationalization, but we know the truth:
I use my phone too much.
My Savior Complex
I’ve grown up yearning to make the world a better place. Leaving it better than I left it. Casual charity is not enough–the good deeds must be big.
To help and inspire. To be a light to others. To achieve things and always bring good news and good vibes. In turn, I’ve become timid–allergic to failure.
Failure is bad news and sour vibes.
My aversion to failure is rooted in the fear of letting people down, becoming a cautionary tale to those who dare to wander into a pathless path and chase their dreams.
I fear becoming Icarus, and upon seeing my precipitous plummet from the sky–melted wax wings on my back, onlookers will never dare to fly.
However, no one has asked me to be their model citizen. I’ve worn a cape and mask when no one asked me to.
This is a mission I assigned myself, borne out of my good nature and benign desire to contribute to the world. But absolutely misguided.
It is not my responsibility to be anyone’s savior, unless specifically asked (and even then, I can decline). Instead, I need to focus on my own greatness.
Not in the sense of selfish aloofness from the world, but steadfast focus on the maximum expression of what I can be. It’s counterintuitive, but the greatest good to others will come by an unrelenting commitment to saving myself.
By focusing on my light, I can help lift the shadows in others.
Tangent got a facelift
It was time, you know?
If I want a million subscribers over the next 12 months, I have to make moves. Get a brand. A sexy logo. An iconic identity. Come up with the Coca-Cola bottle equivalent of a Substack.
At first, I hired the folks who redesigned the Gap logo a few years ago. I mean, they were all over the news for a while, so that can only mean they are good.
This is what they came up with:
Their designs looked oddly familiar to their previous work, so I discarded them like a pair of $24.99 khaki pants I no longer needed.
I decided to become my own Milton Glaser1
Honestly, I can’t really walk you through my design “process.” I just played around in Procreate for hours. Noodling and doodling until what I came up with felt right.
I’m open to constructive feedback and design awards (takes a bow).
Thank you video 🙏
I wanted to close the year by saying a few words of gratitude to all of you who have subscribed and supported me over the last year. This newsletter is a labor of love and I feed from the love you give me.
But mainly I filmed this so you can enjoy my frizzy hair in all it’s rebellious glory.
See you next year!
Milton Glaser was an American graphic designer, illustrator, and teacher, who significantly influenced the direction of visual arts in the 20th century. He is best known for his iconic "I ❤️ NY" logo, the psychedelic Bob Dylan poster, and his work as a co-founder of New York Magazine.