Original artwork gifted to me by Clara Tomaz.
The Year of Living Like Prince is coming to a close.
I can’t believe it. This has been one of the very best and certainly one of the most memorable years of my life. My greatest hope is that you might feel inspired to step outside your comfort zone in 2020. Pick one small thing each month that’s new or different or doesn’t feel like typical you, and see where it takes you! (It doesn’t have to fit a theme … just reach out for something new 💜). With my year of Living Like Prince nearing a close, here are 7 things I want to tell you.
I decided to spend the past 12 months living like Prince because of what I learned about how he lived when I co-wrote a biography about him.
Living Like Prince might seem like an unusual choice for a suburban mom like me. But I’m not only a suburban mom. I’m the co-author, along with Alex Hahn, of “The Rise of Prince: 1958-1988,” and in researching that book I realized Prince had left more than a musical legacy. He’d left a roadmap about how to live an extraordinary life. That intrigued me and I wanted to take that journey in 2019. I had no idea where it would lead!
Living like Prince changed me.
Living like Prince has taken me from having an enjoyable life to having an exhilarating life. It did that by pushing me outside my comfort zone. When you intentionally place yourself in a position where you’re outside your comfort zone — for example, by changing your name to a symbol, as I did in April — then you have to get creative. Why did I put this symbol on a nametag and introduce myself this way at the party? I had to answer, and in doing so, I began to create a new experience of living.
The year was NOT what I expected.
I thought that Living Like Prince was going to be about success, and how to achieve success because Prince was obviously successful. But it turned out to be about creative living. I learned that instead of striving for happiness, we should choose to strive for an exhilarating life. Exhilarating leaves happy in the dust: It’s next-level happy. There’s a quote in Prince’s memoir where he talks about how he wanted to tell people to create. Start by creating your day, and then create your life, he said. Day by day, I created my days with intention, whether the month called on me to be a spiritual seeker, form a band or dress up daily, and I wound up creating a more exhilarating life.
I wanted to quit.
People ask, did I ever want to quit? The answer is an unqualified “oh my gosh, yes!!” I thought about quitting on more than one occasion because there were times when this felt bigger than I anticipated. I even wanted to quit right away in the first month, when I tried fasting (Prince, in a 2014 interview, talked about fasting and its positive effects on him). I never want to replicate that month! But people were cheering me on, and that’s the great thing about community. Sometimes, the thought of Prince was enough to spur me on. Living here in Chanhassen as I do, I couldn’t help but think about how Prince had worked down the road at Paisley Park, 20 hours a day, day after day, for decades. If he was able to do that, just a couple of miles from where I sat, what excuse did I have not to follow suit, even in my own small way?
There were things about this journey that made me scared.
I felt exposed and vulnerable many times this year, notably when I did a photoshoot while posing as my alter ego Aurora in downtown Minneapolis. I was quaking in my four-inch heels! Then, doing media interviews was incredibly scary, but when I succeeded in not keeling over on live television I enjoyed a sense of accomplishment.
My favorite month was changing my name to a symbol.
My favorite month was April when I changed my name to a symbol because it was really interesting learning about what Prince’s symbol stood for, and even to explore the nature of symbols and how they communicate more about us than a name with letters might. What did I stand for? And how could I share that in a symbol that identified me? That was fascinating. Also, I won’t lie: It felt rebellious and fun to mess with people’s heads by insisting on being identified by an unpronounceable symbol.
My hardest month was saying “no.”
The hardest month was June when I said no to things that weren’t right for me. Like many of us, I’m a people pleaser and although I’d imagined that I’d be gleefully tossing out “no’s” like candy in a parade, it was really hard. But Prince said no to things that weren’t right for him, regardless of the reaction, so I had to follow suit. Doing so was hard, but ultimately liberating.I’m ending the year by honoring Prince’s legacy of giving and the way he anonymously and quietly gave away millions of dollars during his lifetime. I’ve chosen Urban Ventures, a nonprofit based in an under-resourced neighborhood in South Minneapolis, with a music program and recording studio. Kids who would never be able to learn an instrument or learn how a recording studio works are able to get that exposure thanks to this amazing organization, in a community that Prince loved. My goal is to raise $10,000 and we’re not there yet. I know there are a lot of great causes out there, and I greatly appreciate you considering Urban Ventures for your charitable giving. To learn more or make a donation, visit www.urbanventures.org/prince.