So Greg, you’ve gone back to Architecture?
I suppose one could say that, but I prefer to say that I have re-created myself into what I love to do most ever since I was a know it all teenager…create Architecture.
Some will say, semantics…many probably. But for me it goes far deeper than that. And I know the Truth of the life process through experience.
When I walked away from Architecture, I thought to myself, I’m never doing that again.
I’d throw out an old cliche, but I feel like you get my drift.
The process, and I’ll bottom line it, is as follows:
Upon graduation from Carnegie Mellon University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree with Honors, I proceeded along the path of professional Architecture. After my 3 year internship, I became a Licensed Architect and worked as such on my own and with Architecture firms until 2005. For reasons I will not go into here, I walked away from Architecture of my own accord. Back then, I was blaming everyone but me for hating what I was doing. Yet, just like all choices in life, only the one making the choices [Me] can be accountable for those choices. I created my own hatred from my own choices along that path.
In 2005, I discovered that I love Acting…yes…professional acting. I got work, but I wasn’t very good at it even though it rocked my world. I wasn’t good at it because I tried to hard to create a career out of it. I focused on a future instead of the moment I was standing in. Upon reflection, I also remember being stuck in the past by missing what I loved to create the most…Architecture.
In 2007, I took an hourly position with The Home Depot to support my acting habit…and that is all it was in retrospect…a habit which I was addicted to. And I remember missing Architecture. I also remember being grossed out by always feeling like I had to market and promote myself in whatever job I was wanting to do.
In 2011, I set off alone into the Atlantic Ocean on a small sailboat not designed to do that. The sea humbled me and my life began to transform. This was the first time in my life that I actually began taking responsibility for my own choices in life and stopped blaming other people for anything. I published a book about it and thought (erroneously) that I could create a living from my books. At times, I was still struggling with past stuff by missing Architecture and still worked part-time for The Home Depot, which was beginning to become humiliating when people said to me, You used to be an Architect? WTF?.
In 2013, I moved from Wilmington, NC to the Bay Area of San Francisco still with The Home Depot and in 6 months they promoted me. THD promoted me again in 2014. Oh goody-goody…more money. LOL. Acting drifted into the same nothing where Architecture existed…and I still missed creating Architecture. I became haunted by my past.
In 2015, the YPO/WPO invited me to speak at a conference about my sailing adventure because someone in the YPO/WPO read my book. A CEO there asked me why I wasn’t working as an Architect. I didn’t have an answer, sloughed it off and changed the subject.
In 2016, I left The Home Depot to promote my book, attempted to get more speaking gigs and try my hand a Life Coaching. LOL. I’m not even going there…just know that was a complete joke as I look back. Who the F*** am I to coach someone? My life seemed to me a mess. At a conference on Life Coaching, someone said to me, Dude, you are lost. He was right. And I missed designing cool stuff for people. More importantly, I was trying too hard at everything in my life. That was one of the best things anyone ever said to me because being lost is the key to finding yourself.
In 2017, I moved back to the Outer Banks of North Carolina where everyone back in the 1990s knew me as an Architect and was asked by an old friend to design a house for them. I old-schooled it by hand drafting and it turned out cool. A local developer got wind that I was around and asked me to come in and discuss potentially designing for them. What the heck? So I did. In the meantime, I downloaded a free trial of a CAD program I once learned when it first came out…REVIT by AutoDesk….the creators of AutoCAD. It was like falling in Love. REVIT had become what I always wanted a CAD program to be. I took months of online training. Revit was easy for me, so I bought a subscription to the software. In short, since January of 2018, I have had more work than I ever did at any one time and I am loving what I do. Really for the first time since I graduated from University back in the 1980s. In all of my 58 years as a human on this planet, I have never had this much fun working. Working is in italics because I do not consider what I do work. What I do, is what I love. What I do is fun. What I do is passion. I no longer miss Architecture, because I have re-created my notion of what Architecture is.
Upon reflection over the past 34 years of my life, I realize that the path I have taken, I took for a reason. It was my path to take and I would never should anyone into taking the same path, nor would I want anyone to should me into taking the path that they think I should take. Feel me? I despise that word…should.
Twenty plus years in the profession of Architecture taught me the skill sets required to create Architecture. I learned what I loved about Architecture and what I did not love.
Working as an Actor brought me out of my introverted shell and schooled me on how to interact with my fellow humans in a fun way. If you are an introvert like me, then you get it. If you are an extrovert…well never mind and just keep reading.
Working for The Home Depot by walking through the aisles helping people…strangers mostly…schooled me both in my acting and in the feeling of being of service to others who desired to be helped in some way. Getting yelled at by customers and bosses while still standing strong in my desire to be of service was a profound lesson in life experience.
Working for The Home Depot also taught me a lesson about trying to hard. Don’t do it. Don’t try. Just be who you are and do what you love to do and the rest will follow.
Taking a look at Life Coaching in the way that I did, taught me, reminded me, inspired me, to know that I do in fact love being in service to my fellow humans. The trick was to remember my gifts and not what someone else’s gifts are. And my most profound gift is my love for creating Architecture through relating with other humans. Being in service in such a way that my own ego takes a hike while I listen and create what someone else wants without any judgment from me.
Re-creating my life in Architecture has been part of the path. I didn’t try to do it. It just happened I feel because I became open to a possibility. I thought that it should look a certain way to others at first and got body-slammed by the Universe while I was thinking of what should be..
I let go of the word Architect. I do not need a lapel pin to create anything. Sure, some things I am not allowed by law to do on my own, but there is nothing stopping anyone from creating what they love to do for themselves.
So, I create cool homes for other people and create cool sculpture which in my mind can be occupied for myself just as any artist does.
An artist creates…and that is exactly what I do.
Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to be an Architect. I am not allowed to say that by law and I’m cool with that. I do however, design homes for people. And homes are buildings. Buildings are by default, Architecture. Do the math.
The full story is here: