2016….. What a year. I don’t know where to begin, but I will say it most definitely was a whirlwind for me.  Just a heads up, this is gonna be  long post where I speak on some of the highs and lows I faced in 2016, as well as some lessons learned.

I’ll start by saying I became a “pseudo” minimalist in 2016.  It started with basic spring cleaning back in March, and then I went to my homegirl Chinye’s house for brunch, and she showed us her closet.  For someone that’s always stylish, she didn’t have a lot in her wardrobe.  When I got home, I counted 40’ish pairs of jeans, chinos and trousers, realizing I only wore 5 of them on a regular basis.  Your taste in clothing changes over time, not just style, but fit, colors, everything!  Here are a couple of old photos I found on my cloud, look at this shit man. Where was I going in this?

Camo Blazer

Why?Blue Suit

Again, why?Red Blazer

Thank God I never wore these camo joints!

Red Dockers

Peach tho? 🙁

Peach tho?

I still like these chucks, but I’m too damn old for them!

Red Converse

Off to Buffalo Exchange I went, I had bags full of dress shirts, tees, shorts, jeans, chinos, ties, sweaters, sneakers, loafers, watches, and so much more.  Nothing hurt worse than giving up 3 or 4 J.Crew suits and barely getting a tenth of what I paid in return.  So much waste, so much with tags still attached, so much money tailoring things I’d never even worn, I was so pissed at myself.

I literally got rid of everything in my closet, except for a few pair of sneakers, dress shoes and my go to jeans that I could still fit and stomach wearing.  When I started to “rebuild” I made sure the new purchases centered around gray and navy.  Everything had to be timeless and complement each other so I could wear them for a while, none of that trendy shit.  I prefer white shirts(solid or patterned) and gray or black tees, so that’s all I bought.  I’m not a true minimalist by definition, but I’m pretty close.  I also feel I can do more with what I have because everything mixes and matches nicely.  So no matter the reason, if you’re considering starting over with your wardrobe, DO IT.  Take your time with it and do it right, it’s scary at first but well worth it.

Next topic.  Back in June I left my 9 year comfort zone and got a new job.  The hardest part was leaving all of my crazy friends and co-workers, BUT a 41% salary increase made for a seamless transition. 🙂  All I can say is the days of staying with one company your entire career is over, who needs loyalty?  Haha, nah but on a serious note, never be afraid to test the waters to see what’s out there.  I had a few possible consulting situations that would have required frequent travel, but I lucked out and got another work from home gig.  God looked out because this allows me to make all of my auditions.  Shout out to God for being the original plug.

Speaking of auditions, in 2016 I fell completely off the map with the acting grind.  Mentally, Hollywood beat my ass.  Like Ronda Rous… Nevermind, too soon?  To be clear, when I say “fell off the grind”, I simply mean I stopped hustling, I lost the fire for a minute, I stopped going to class consistently, where as I’m usually in class year round.  Oddly enough, my callback rate went up and I was “on hold” for  3 or 4 popular shows, one of which is my FAVORITE at the moment.  I’m talking about true, career changing situations, so when you get that close and then hear ‘No’ again, it does a number on you.  One was excruciating because it was 4 months before a decision was made.  The most annoying is when you lose a role based on your social media following.  You can KILL your audition, be the most talented and best fit for the role, but if the powers that be have another option that has 250,000 Instagram followers, guess who books the role. 🙁

On the flip side, me unplugging a bit allowed me to finally finish a script I’d been tinkering with.  And by no means do I consider myself a writer per se, but writing projects for yourself has been the new wave a few years now, and I’ve had ideas and the funds to shoot some things, but I’ve been dragging my feet with it.  I got good feedback from a few trusted, filmmaker friends, so one of my goals for 2017 is to go ahead and shoot this shit.  It’s a bit scary putting it out there, because now I know you guys are gonna be looking for it, so I guess there’s no turning back now.  I’m currently doing some rewrites and actually reading a book on screenwriting, so it’s getting there.  And yes I know I said I’m reading a book on screenwriting after I wrote the script, but I do a lot of things backwards so don’t judge.  That’s just how I roll.

2016 was also the year of weight gain for me.  Yea, yea, yea, I know you’re thinking, “worrying about weight gain is for women” but FUCK!  THAT!  Fellas ya’ll know good and damn well we be having body issues as well, we just too ‘manly’ to admit it.  For the record I weigh 181, and gained only 10 pounds, but my issue is it’s not the ‘good’ weight gain that comes in the form of lean muscle mass.  My shit just decided to develop into a beginner’s gut.  And my apologies to anyone that sees my pictures and think I’m whining and don’t have a real weight problem.  I have a right to not be satisfied with my health like everyone else.  Relax.

Back to the story, what I was saying is that I recently lost a few pounds of flab by adding boxing to the workout routine.

Boxing Gloves.

But I mean an actual fighting gym, not just a “cardio boxing” class, which is also fine, but I prefer the real deal.  Boxing workouts are brutal, but well worth it once you’re drenched in sweat a couple of hours later.  It’s hard to put out that kinda effort on your own but to have a real coach pushing you, it’s a rush!  It’s also inspiring to see the “real” boxers doing their thing.  So if you’re looking to lose a few pounds, try something you actually like, for me it’s sprints at the track, boxing and hitting the weight room.  Whatever you do, don’t put it off because we’re not getting any younger!  Hopefully some months down the road, I’ll have some photos of swollen eyes and a bloody nose to show you guys, because I most def want to get good enough to spar.  But it’s a process.

With all that being said, I’m looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for us all.  Ya’ll be safe and KEEP LIVING!

-Bobby Ray

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