June 14, 2017

Subtly Different.

I just don’t have the time, life has been busy. There are so many other things that need to work themselves out before I can share my perspective with the world. If I did it wouldn’t be very good and what I want to be heard wouldn't come through.

My life has been up in the air since I took a break from school. I left the only safety net that I had and now I needed to ensure that my worst fear of becoming a bum didn't come true. So I stayed the course, for the most part, and put the music down. I focused on nothing but making money, being a good son and getting back into the school I wanted to get into. My goal was to get back onto to stable ground.

And I did. I kept making money, I was there for my family and I got into NYU… i fucking got into Clive Davis.

This life became easy and I became comfortable; however, the thing that made me so successful in the first place suffered. I lost my passion, I lost confidence in my talent and I forgot how to be an artist…

I’ve been pushing off being an artist for as long as possible. I make resolutions and swear for growth, but nothing changes. I do the same dull shit, make the same excuses and whenever faced with an opportunity to create, I make a false start and flounder my opportunity before anything can come to fruition.

The only thing that held my connection to the creative world were the relationships I managed to grow and maintain throughout this time. I made a ton of friends and they were all doing their own thing and doing it well. I was in constant contact with people and helping friends with their own projects wherever I could. I was very much out of my element. It felt weird but it felt like growth and thats all that mattered.

Among the collective of creative individuals I was working with was a friend from Pace. We had met at the start of the school year and fed off each other’s creative energies. We both were doing our own respective things and were doing them well. Yet we both wanted to be better. Similarly he took a break from school the same year as me to figure things out, with the intention of getting into Clive Davis at the end of the year.

We were on similar paths, but went about them very differently. During his time at Pace he became unhappy with his overall sound and progression as an artist and decided to spend the year focusing developing his craft. He worked day and night on everything from his vision that came through his sound, to the equipment he used, to the techniques and styles he employed in his music and in the end he had album. A really fucking good album . He had learned to fully embody the definition of an artist.

I did the opposite I spent no time on my art and my passions, regardless of how much I promised myself I would, and spent my days trying to get into school. This required me to take a step back from substances, the mental episodes and the self deprecation, and focused on how to present my efforts and brand. A clear mind, a healthier lifestyle and a constant dialogue with my family and friends, resulted in my acceptance into school.Almost A really fucking good school.

This week he is staying with me in NYC getting the next chapter of his life together and plotting out his next goals and successes. We have been sharing our experiences from the past year and trading philosophies and techniques for our growth. This year has changed us. We both seem more confident, more defined and it sounds like we both have a better understanding of what we want; however, we took subtly different routes to get where we are now and we are both vastly different because of it.

I think we are jealous of eachothers paths or at least curious. Who knows how our lives would be if spent the last year in each others shoes. Maybe I would have found a new found love and passion for music and devolped my sound, maybe released X’s (the album I’ve been working on for what feels like forever now.) Maybe he would have discovered a part of himself he hadn’t seen in a while a side that fit the mold of general masses more. Maybe we would hate where we were. There is no way to tell, but what we do know is he probobly wouldnt have his album that tells the story of his year better than he ever could and I probably wouldn’t have my busines mindset that i plan to use for world domination.

Regardless, time will tell.

May 9th, 2017.


“An afterthought that cannot be ignored”

Writing is not my thing. For me it’s more like the fortune cookie at the end of meal at a Chinese restaurant, an afterthought that cannot be ignored. Whether it’s a song, a photo or a video, every medium is almost always accompanied with text. It furthers the narrative giving the audience more information on the piece. You can’t just ignore it.

I mean you could, but then your piece would have about as much depth as a girl posting a selfie with her ass out and a drink in her hand, followed by an emoji as the caption. Sure it’ll get some love and no doubt be revisited in the future, but it won’t have a story.

These last couple of months I’ve probably written more content than I would’ve liked to and probably more than I would have if I was in school. It’s not like the curriculum wouldn’t call for it, I just wouldn’t have been motivated to give the dull assignment any attention and half assed a paper with no content, hopefully pulling off a decent grade.

Recently writing has been different. No one is expecting it, there is no assignment and I am allotted as much freedom or constraint as I care to give. I started viewing it as a separate outlet to create and like everything else I create I tend to be a little too meticulous with it. I stress over the little things. The things that most people don’t notice. I’ve been developing my own style. Telling my own story, but it’s happening at a crawling pace.

I want to force myself to become better. That’s what this is. Me forcing myself to write everyday, in hopes of becoming a better writer. In hopes that my sentences become more concise, my vocabulary expands, my style develops and I increase my use of literary devices, those things you learned in language arts class in fifth grade only to be forgotten after the quiz on Friday.

However, being forced to create instills about as much motivation as tempting a dog with a dog biscuit while he’s devouring a steak. In the past, the driving force behind my creation has been the realization of unused potential coupled with a number of other luxuries I no longer allow myself. Along those same lines I am attempting to diminish my unused potential by forming a routine. A lesson I learned during my time playing adult.


May 8th 2017


As of Thursday it will have been a full eight months since I’ve taken a break from school. In that time I’ve moved to a new apartment, gotten a promotion at work, started working out, and made some new friends. Time passes and life moves on, but truthfully it doesn’t feel like eight months, it feels like it’s been two weeks.


I am the product of a gaming generation. I live my life like a video game, grinding out hours and hours in hopes of gaining enough experience to level up, completing milestones along the way.

It’s through these milestones that I track my progress and measure my life. So what are my milestones for the past eight months…

A Promotion at work

Started working out regularly

Got my own apartment

Became closer with family

And that’s about it. Thats really not a lot…

I originally told myself that this year off would be nothing but hours and hours of grinding out creative projects, networking and working in hopes of leveling up; However, here we are, two thirds of the way through the year, and I haven’t done much.

That’s not all true though, the intention of this year was to also get closer with my family and to get my head straight. Last year was a tough year for me mentally, always on the go and always worrying about the next thing. Last year was even tougher for my family, my dad getting cancer and my mom losing a sister.

This year has been a more relaxed time. It feels like I pressed pause for a second just to catch my breathe, but only my life paused, everyone else’s kept going. So did mine really, I mean I’m no longer a teenager.

Overall though, it’s been a success. Most importantly I have calmed down. I have rebuilt the amazing support structure that is my family and I no longer look at the world so cynically.

Again, time passes and life moves on and, but it’s about time I starting moving with it.

I’m currently in the process of moving and have been telling myself that as soon as I’m done moving I’ll start being creative again. I’ll start completing milestones again. I’ll just start doing again. Well, I’ve been moving for about a month now and I haven’t made much progress. The room I plan to turn into a music studio is still being used for storage. I haven’t been taking any pictures and I haven’t been writing. I currently just keep spending money trying to get nice things for the apartment and then freak out about how much money I spent, picking up more hours at work to balance it out. So let’s break the cycle and do the least invasive one first.

-Ethan Zingalis

P.s. It’s writing, thats the least invasive creative pursuit.

October 25th, Tuesday.

I’ve got it all planned out, or at least I think I do.

Ask me about will happen in the next year. I have six different answers with two separate possibilities, a flow chart, coupled with a graph and a timeline. Ask me what’s currently going on in my life. I trip over my own tongue like a wet noodle; slowly stumbling on every thought with refusal because I tend to change the topic to something I am much more comfortable with.

It’s called switch tracking.

Used in negotiation, it’s one of the first lessons you learn at Harvard Law. People don’t usually pick up on it unless you do it a lot. The idea is ostensibly one of strategy and and poise and yet we do it almost everyday without thinking.

You might catch it from someone like a friend or a significant other when they are asked about a subject they feel self conscious about or when feedback is given.

A topic is brought up, but solely for the purpose of a segue to a subject of greater importance. The juicy meat of it all is what really matters.

Nycol catches me doing this whenever she gives me feedback. I quickly change the topic and shrug off the comment as if it almost never happened. She mentions that she wants me to pay more attention. Although she loves attention, she doesn’t necessarily mean for me to focus every waking moment up her ass, “You focus on random things and tie everything to something else,” she says. It’s true, I do, but I never really catch it myself and I am always too wrapped up in my own thoughts to understand what exactly she’s saying.

What she is saying is that she wants me to be present in the moment, rather than just looking back on the moments as stories. In the moment, I let everything lead me to something else; life is filled with double entendres and everything is open for interpretation.

Instead, I need to learn to savor these experiences and let them affect me. I need to learn how to take in every sense and appreciate it.

From the sounds of the clinks and clanks of the freshly steamed dishes and the softly muttered conversations around us, to the taste of the better than average (yet still bland) sesame chicken being scarfed down by my gorgeously starving girlfriend in front of me.

She just got a haircut so her hair hangs just below her shoulders. She has a full cup of tea. She didn’t ask for it, they brought her one anyway. She has her plate sectioned off with just a little bit of pork fried rice, some vegetable chow fun and just a couple pieces of sesame chicken. She has a fork in her hand and thinks I’m a cute idiot for insisting to eat with chopsticks. I am taking pictures in the mirror of Nycol, in her leather jacket in focus, with the old man cleaning the hot sauces as the background.

Last night Nycol and I hung out with our friend Nick in the East village, contemplating the amazingness that is ‘Life.’ Nycol was amazed by the idea of evolution; some reptiles can use both of their eyes independently. We somehow fall on the topic of the future and Nick makes an observation:

I am always looking to the future and seldom towards the present.

I was slightly confused for a split second but the more he went into it and explained, I knew exactly what he meant. It made sense, I am always so wrapped up in what will happen that I miss out on what’s really going on around me. I tend to focus on random things and let everything lead to something else. This advice was next to gold and yet, this wasn’t the first time that I had heard it.

Nycol has told me countless times before that I need to pay attention, but why was it so hard for me to understand what she was saying until Nick said the same thing?

This is because the advice isn’t perceived as a subjective form of feedback. Even though Nick and I are good friends, our friendship is still new and I am not immediately searching any advice given for its double meaning, like I so often do. Nick was simply stating an observation that he had. However, when Nycol stated her exact same observation, I questioned her motivation and intent behind the counsel.

The trick here is something I learned from work: assume positive intent.

This is asking you to trust the people around you and to do your best to not immediately go on the defensive whenever advice is given. It’s scary to think that everyone has not only their best interest in mind, but potentially yours.

The truth is there aren’t many people that are out to get you and if they are, just let them swim past you and focus on the people who truly do care. Don’t look back on moments as stories and remember the details because that’s what matters most. It’s something I’ve been working on and the little effort I’ve made so far has made all the difference.


October 19, Wednesday.

*Alarm buzzes* I have to work today, fuck…

There is nothing worse than having to wake up, dreading what is to come. Knowing that you have to endure hours of either boredom and monotony, or stress and mental exhaustion for something that you couldn’t care less about.

Work, it’s something we all must face in time. You can run and avoid it for as long as possible, and I recommend you do, but work will find you and torture you.

Whether you work due to financial obligation, parental obligation or social obligation, it’s always an obligation that gets you.

When you’re young this obligation is small and really doesn’t matter. You’ll work here or there because your parents want you to learn the meaning of an honest day’s work or maybe because it’s nice to have a little bit of change in your pocket. You don’t really mind working because otherwise you might have spent your time watching tv, playing video games or doing some other bullshit activity.

But now, you’re sixteen, seventeen, maybe eighteen and its 9:33 in the morning. You have already slept through two alarms and have work in a little less than an hour. It only takes fifteen minutes to get there. So, you have forty-two minutes to wake up, get in the mindset of having to adhere to someone else’s rules and agenda, get dressed, eat something and head out the door. If you are a youthful and ambitious person and are excited for what you do, this isn’t so hard.

Sure, work is filled with dumb people that you wouldn’t have ever been able to fathom their existence before working there; however, their are some benefits, such as money, friends and even a feeling of accomplishment, but here you are. Helping some foreign couple understand the English written out in front of them, only to find out that they are from Wisconsin. Not only that, this isn’t a one time thing.

This is an everyday thing; yet, you can still wake up every morning and get yourself to this shit-hole of a job if your excited about the company, your friends or even the money.

Now let’s take away the novelty of your not so new job. You have been working there for about four months now. You no longer get the feeling that you have just been punched square in the stomach, thinking about work. You wake up about five minutes before your now, 8 A.M. alarm because your body has become accustomed to waking up at this time. You lie in bed waiting for the piercing buzz from hell to meet with you. You have a little bit of money saved up. You’re mentally exhausted. You have been walking into work only to check out and send your thoughts somewhere else for eight hours. Your friends, which you have been pushing off and neglecting to go work, are all meeting up to spend the day in Central Park, only to go to a party tonight. You think to yourself for a quick moment. I might miss the day at the park, but maybe I could go to the party and meet up with everyone.

*Alarms buzzes* You press snooze.

It dawns on you, you have to be up for 6 A.M. count tomorrow. fuck…

It’s the fact that the day filled with so much more potential than your job currently has to offer. It’s the fact that you can no longer just do what you want and have this obligation to something you have no control over. It’s the fact that you are no longer excited to wake up and start your day.

When you are excited the negative parts feel so much smaller and less significant. When you’re tired and not into it, these problems feel like the most important thing in the world. You start to believe that if these negatives were just a little less apparent or if your manager was just a little less demanding you wouldn’t mind going into work everyday.

Until those issues are mended and you find new reasons to complain.

You realize that you hate your job and there isn’t much you can do about it. You’re young; you have obligations and you dream of a future where you are in control. You believe or rather force yourself to believe that if you stick with this long enough you’ll wait until something better comes around and you’ll leave and never look back. You’ll do something that challenges you and excites you and uses your talents and passions to make you shit tons of money. You believe that it’s all going to be worth the pain and struggle. Because the alternative is waking up and feeling numb. Feeling like nothing matters and that you are just another cog in the machine.

But what if it doesn’t get better. What if you wake up after four months at your no longer ‘new’ new job and you feel the same. The cycle tends to loop…

*The alarm buzzes* I have to work today, fuck…

October 15, Saturday.

The cycle tends to loop.

Set alarm followed by six more to ensure I wake up in the morning, lie in bed, think too much, meditate, entertain a runoff thought for way too long, fall asleep, wake up, throw on clothes , head out the door, contemplate not going to class, go to class, go to work, pretend, think about what I would rather be doing, come home, make food, do a third of what I wanted to do, socialize, shower, roll into bed. The cycle loops.

This isn’t too far from the average day for most people; It’s not a terrible routine and when I was first given the routine, I actually enjoyed it.

Being busy made me feel productive.

Having every hour of my day scheduled made me feel like I wasn’t being a ‘bum.’ This is my biggest fear, to have lived knowing I wasted my potential; however, like most things it got old and stale. I needed to change it up.

I hadn’t realized what that meant, how could I have. I’m nineteen and the world is being offered to me, with limitless possibilities, I could have anything. But, right now, all I wanted was time; time to think, time to create, time to socialize, time to do. So, I did just that. I gave myself time by dropping my business law class, which I had every Friday. I now went from having school Tuesday through Friday, to just Tuesday through Thursday.

This give me some room to breathe.

Dropping this class allowed me to not have to rush to work directly after class, three days out of the week. Instead this was just two days a week, with my Friday morning open to do more of what I wanted. This was great, I love my mornings. I used this time well and felt more relaxed going into my weekend. I work retail, so my weekends are everything, but relaxing.

This routine lasted another week or so until I ultimately dropped out.

Dropping out gave me all the time in the world. Although I’m still pushing 35+ hours a week at work, I have way more time to spend on myself. Its nice; however, the sentiment, ‘Idle hands make the devils work,’ resonates with me and I understand where its coming from when people use it, or at least I thought I did.

Working at this capacity gets to you.

Set alarm three hours before work followed by four more to ensure I wake up in the morning, lie in bed, think too much, entertain a runoff thought for way too long, fall asleep, wake up, make coffee, research topics that interest me online, throw on clothes for work, head out the door, go to work, pretend, think about what I would rather be doing, come home, make food, do two thirds of what I wanted to do, socialize, shower, roll into bed write an article. The cycle loops.

My days still consist of the same amount of work they did before, same amount of sleep I got before, and probably a little more learning than I did before. My days also have a little less complaining and mediation, and a lot more time to do what I want to be doing.

Aside from stopping my conventional education, what changed?

The only thing that has really changed is my outlook. Instead of having to wake up every morning and dread going to class where I may or may not have had the homework done, I wake up knowing what I have to do for work, personal projects and relationships.

Waking up to coffee and a little bit of research into my passions, allows me to be at ease in the morning. Instead of scrambling to do my homework, which would be due in a couple of hours, I do what I believe is needed to ensure a successful day.

I am more efficient with my time.

I still go on about my day and roll into bed everyday exhausted and burnt out, but I get more of what I want to do, done. The issue is there’s still another third of my daily goals being pushed off till the next day. Not only that, but there is very little free time to unwind and let my brain rest and rebuild some connections. I go about my day exhausted and stressed over the missed work.

Putting me in a perpetual game of catch up, but hey, at least now I’m actually playing.

October 11th, Tuesday.

It’s been a full week since I dropped out.

Well, there is more to it than that. A slight financial slip up with my tuition payments, coupled with a lack of interest in my current school and an uncompromising drive to pursue my passions, developed into a leave of absence.

I can’t say they are happy about it. They’ve always wanted the best for me and they’re old school. Go to school, do well, get a job, make money and for the most part this wasn’t a terrible idea. I mean it worked well for my sister, but they made one fatal flaw.

They showed me I could do anything I wanted with enough determination. I was maybe eight assisting my Dad, with the plethora of startup ideas, mainly ‘Pocket Wars.’ An iOS application that we had contracted out a designer from New Zealand and a team of coders from India, but I was eight, how much help could I have been?

It was learning experience. The most impactful learning experience I could have ever had.

This is where they deviated from the ‘golden plan.’ It wasn’t intentional; however it incited something of disease inside of me. At times it would get so bad that I would stay home from school to work on my side projects. I felt that creating iOS applications offered a learning experience far more valuable than anything high-school was providing.

Three applications, two websites, two homegrown businesses, a new found passion in music and a subtle drive for story telling later, I’m now in my second year of college at Pace University. I have all of the best of intentions. I went above and beyond my previous year studying statistics, calculus and testing out of all my core requirements, all while living in New York City for free. I was on top of things and wanted to continue this path, yet when I went to create my schedule for my sophomore year, my advisor informed me, ‘You need to slow down, we (Pace) can not accommodate you and the classes you want to take. Why not just take electives next semester?’

This lady was fucking joking, right?

I mean I’m not one to pass on an opportunity to coast in school, but things felt different now. I wanted to actually give school a try. But as luck would have it, here I am stuck behind my peers waiting a year to be able to advance my education. This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind; however no matter how much I pleaded with the school I was told I needed to do this to become a more well rounded student.

Well, now here I am. Two weeks into my second year of college.

Taking an Introduction to Music Theory, Music Entertainment Business, a computer systems course and a class in developing my artistic portfolio. I dig all of these classes, but they aren’t what I want to be studying or necessarily doing with my time.

They gave me the option to take the year off.

This wasn’t before I had been pestering my parents with the idea of taking the next semester off from school, to pursue my passions, or before I was disenrolled for a weekend due to a financial slip up or before my Mom’s sister died.

Things have been tense for her and if it is tense for her, it is stressful for my dad. They chose the path of least resistance, they needed a break.

The weekend I was disenrolled, I freaked out. I had been working roughly thirty-five hours a week at work, while managing the rest of my time working on personal projects and going to the first few weeks of school. I was tired and stressed, so the second I found I was unenrolled I was a mess.

My education could have been saved. We had the money, or at least could've figured it out. I didn’t really want to. I hadn’t wanted to for a while and although I had turned over a new leaf, I was exhausted and like my family I needed a break.

They sat me down and made me deal.

They propositioned, ‘take the next two semesters off and pursue your passions, but you return to school next fall whether its Pace or NYU you are going back to school next fall.’ I could tell they were unsure of their decision to let me do this and it was met with an equal amount of discomfort from Nycol. Sure, I wasn’t the best student, but my work ethic is comparable to that of a crack habit and to my girlfriend, I am one of her biggest motivations. What now? What would happen? Who would be affected?

I hadn’t realized that attending school had an impact on more people other than myself. It felt weird to that someone looked up to me as a source of inspiration. To think that I might let them down by leaving school. But of course, I took it.

Now I have nine months to do something…. cool. To do something I’m proud of. To prove to my parents and myself that I can make it happen. I have all of these plans and projects that I’ve been talking a big game about, ‘all I need is time.’

Well, the time has come and it’s pretty fucking scary, but I like to be challenged and will document this battle all over the internet for future reflection. I’ll keep you posted.

-Ez. & Ethan