It’s that time of year again — September 29 — the official birthday of Pop Break.
I’ve written this column 13 times and to be square with you, I never know what to say — which is ironic coming from a guy who does 15 podcasts.
I never know what to say because it’s still a wild notion to me that this endeavor, which I started merely as a creative outlet for myself and my best friend Brent Johnson, has not just survived but thrived for nearly 35% of my life.
This site has been with me before I was engaged, before I was married, before I became a dad, before I lost my dad, and back when I was way less gray (but way less handsome). Pop Break has been such an intrinsic part of my life, that’s weird to think of time pre-Pop Break, and also hard to think of my life without this site in my life.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Pop Break has been and still remains a lot of work. People do not understand how I get all the work on the site done, nor why I keep doing it. Shouldn’t I just hang it up and use my free time … to actually be free? Wouldn’t it be easier for my 41-going on 42 year old mental and physical state to have less on my plate?
The answer is, well of course it would.
But like I said, this has been an intrinsic part of my life for over 1/3 of the time I’ve been on this earth. Pop Break isn’t merely a place where I can write about stuff I love. It’s been such an education for me as a writer, editor, photographer, podcaster, and human being. I’ve learned so much about my craft from the day-in and day-out of Pop Break — more than I’ve learned at any other job I’ve held in my life. I’ve surrounded myself with incredibly talent, honest and good people that have helped me grow (whether they know it or not) as a human being. I am not the same man I was in 2009 in large part due to my experience here at Pop Break, and I believe I am a much better off for it.
I want to circle back to something I just mentioned — the people of Pop Break. Hundreds of writers, photographers and podcasters have come through the virtual door of Pop Break. Each and every one of them is the reason Pop Break has existed for the past 14 years and not just because they’re contributed something to the site. Each piece of content published remains an inspiration to me as I know every negative that comes with being a “boss” is worth it once a piece of editorial content goes live.
For many of us, Pop Break hasn’t just been a place to hone our skills and have amazing editorial expeditions (we’ve had many of them, trust me) but it’s also a place we’ve found friendship. We’ve been there for so many engagements, weddings (I’ve officiated two of them!) and “Pop Break babies” and we’ve been there for each other in times unemployment, of personal loss, and of death. We’ve been hung out en masse at Christmas shows, music festivals, movies, and even just for dinner at a local pub.
This is why Pop Break has not only survived, but thrived over the past 14 years — the people. We’re a big family of creatives from literally all over the United States who come together everyday to share our passion for pop culture. And this is what makes all the work, all the grinding, all the headaches associated with Pop Break worth it. I love what this site has become. We’re not merely a magazine, we’re a collective. We work to make each other better, we’re there in times of need, and we celebrate everyone’s successes.
And that’s why we’re still here, and it’s why I’ll never leave. This is one of the things I am most proud of from my professional career, and even if this site ever ceases to exists, it will remain one of the greatest things I’ve ever done in my life (besides being a dad and a husband).
Thank you everyone who’s made the past 14 years possible.