The Digital Declutter

This week I published a video on my YouTube channel discussing ‘The Digital Declutter.’
This phrase was coined by Cal Newport in his book, Digital Minimalism, in 2017.

To be sure, the idea of ‘stepping away’ from digital engagement is part of it, but the other side is a lot more work. Mentally and emotionally thinking through, “What matters most to me?” and “Is this the best way to accomplish the goals I have in front of me?”

You can watch the video on YouTube here:

social media: the silent killer

Like most humans out there, I have a complicated relationship with social media.
One might make the case that every job I’ve ever had is a direct result of a social media interaction at one point or another.

For the first 14 years of my life we had a family computer in a room in the house with a floppy disc and then a cd rom with dial-up internet, but at one point I was able to put a desktop computer in my bedroom with an ethernet connection to the world wide web. WOAH. There was plenty that could go wrong with giving my teenage self that kind of power. I got into plenty of garbage that I wish I could turn back time and un-experience. But that just comes with the territory.

There was also plenty of good that came of it. I started a xanga blog (remember that?) and later a myspace page. At the time I was getting more into playing music. But music was just a vehicle I used to meet people all across the country. I think I was more of a social media influencer with a guitar than I was a musician. But I thoroughly enjoyed the environment that music put people in. This incubator of kindness and togetherness that you’d feel in a house show in nowhere illlinois or a coffeeshop in kansas. And if you attended shows in the early to mid 2000s you know the exact vibe that came with these experiences.

Since the demise of myspace, more people gravitated to facebook and started posting their status updates. I remember the format for a status update was ‘your name IS.’ So you had to frame everything in that ‘is’ sentence structure. Bizarre I know. But that was the purpose of social media: to truly keep ‘up’ with your buds in this news feed.

In July 2008, Apple launched the App Store. This was the first time people were able to ‘download’ the Facebook app, their favorite news apps and others to their phone. Isn’t that crazy recent?

A lot has changed since then. Social Media and the consumption of content has turned up to 11. News sites use headlines to get clicks and advertisement revenue. Our attention is the thing everyone wants. Even this blog post. I’m writing it for me, but deep down I hope others will see it and ‘like me.’

I recently listened to the Rich Roll podcast episode from 2019 that featured Cal Newport (author of Digital Minimalism and Deep Work) where he re-inspired something in me. The exodus away from social media.

Recently I did a dumb phone challenge and spoke about it on my youtube channel. It culminated in the purchase of The Light Phone II. This is a device that gives just the basic functionality on your smart phone: calls, texts, music, podcasts, directions and a calculator app. No access to a web browsers, e-mail or third-party applications. It has been a breath of fresh air. But as Cal mentioned on the podcast, you can’t just deprive yourself of using a cell phone and do nothing else. You have to do something else otherwise it’s just a crash diet. You have to invest your time and mental space INTO something.

This is where I’m at. I’m going to use my website and YouTube channel to put content and things I want to share out into the world. Otherwise, I’m truly done with social media. I’m going to do a little more thinking and processing on it and then I’m going to completely delete my accounts. I’m typing this as an accountability. (hold me to this.)
If you’d like keep in touch, join the mailing list. I’m going to start curating a monthly blast of things I think might be valuable to other humans. And I’ll share things that I find valuable right here on this blog. Sound good?

This is more for me than it is for you. This is for my sanity.

New YouTube Channel – Laughing Dad

This is unrelated to Owen Pye music other than that I’m Owen Pye and it’s something I’m working on. A new YouTube channel dedicated to improving productivity, living simply and a comedic laugh along the way because I don’t know how not to make light of everything in life when it’s merited.

If this is something you’d be interested in, check it out! If it’s not, stay far far away…

Laughing Dad YouTube Channel

Fun Around Town (STL)

I was given a copy of this year’s Experience Booklet and though I haven’t gotten the full mileage out of it yet, I’ve certainly dabbled.

Here are some spots I visited the last couple weeks that peaked my interest.

1 Free Small Plant with Any Cafe Purchase at MayPop

My kid admiring the beautiful display at MayPop in STL

I enjoyed a delightful espresso and one of the kiddos picked out one of the many plants to choose from. What a beautiful place. I’d love to go back for a photo shoot or film something there.

Free Small Shake With Entree Purchase at Grace Meat + Three

This was our first experience here and it was fantastic. The staff were friendly and didn’t make our Pye Couple + Four kids feel weird.

Some other deals in the book that we can’t wait to try:

– Knead: Free beverage w/ purchase of sourdough pastry

– Narwhal’s Crafted: Free 12oz Frozen Hibiscus Gin + Tonic or Strawberry Basil Lemonade

– Strange: Free Creation Done

– Taco Circus: Free Chips + Queso w/ Any Purchase

You can pickup your own Experience Book and learn more here: https://experiencebooklet.com/

Denison Witmer Cover “Grandma Mary” – Live at The Duck Room

“Grandma Mary” cover by Denison Witmer – Performed live May 14th, 2021 by Owen Pye at The Duck Room in St. Louis, Missouri

This was such a wonderful evening. If you were there, thank you.
I was able to capture some not great footage of the evening. Here’s a cover by Denison Witmer. If you don’t know or follow Denison, you’re about 20+ years behind, but if you’re breathing there’s still time to go buy every record he’s ever put out: https://asthmatickitty.com/artists/denison-witmer/

Thanks again for a wonderful evening. I might post some other footage from the show if you’d like that.

Best,
OP

Real Friends

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Let me tell you about my friend, Bobby Wintle.
Everyone who has met Bobby knows he is a stick of dynamite that explodes into a hug or a high five, or both! He is hands down one of the most positive humans I’ve ever known.

Bobby and I go way back to the myspace days, where we’d trade shows in our towns. Along with the show usually came a floor to crash on. That evolved into a friendship where we discovered we both had a passion for music and people, and we both laugh at everything.

I’m terrible with timelines and dates. But sometime in the last decade Bob and is wife Crystal, started something truly special in Stillwater, Oklahoma. They put their blood, sweat and piggy banks into District Bicycles. Then came Land Run 100. (A cycling event that grew from its start in 2013 to roughly 2000 participants.)

I messaged Bobby no less than 3 days ago because I wanted to ask him about what bikes I should look into. I should preface this with saying I know nothing about cycling, just that I think one day I’d like to own a legitimate bike. I message him a question or two, telling him my intentions and needs in a bike. Not an hour had gone by and Bobby was calling me. “Dude. I’ve got the perfect bike for you. I’m coming through St. Louis on Thursday. I’m gonna get it ordered, built and I will drop it off on Thursday…” “…just pay me whenever you’re able.”

Is this real?

Sure enough. I wrapped up a meeting at work and got a text that my old pal was here. Bob & I shared some BBQ and crammed as much story time as we could into my hour lunch break. One thing that stuck out to me is when Bobby talked about the people that come from all over to participate in their incredible event. At some point during our meal Bobby says to me, “I just want people to know that they matter.”

I’m stealing that. I think we all need to steal that.

Thankful for friends like Bobby and Crystal.

The point of this post is two fold. One to say how thankful I am for people like Bobby and Crystal who are a huge inspiration to me to pursue what you are passionate about no matter what. Secondly– to extend that piece of truth to you today… that you matter.

Bonus: If you need anything in the cycling world (I mean anything.) Give District a call.

 

So…I moved to Florida

tampa

Wow. Let me blow the dust off this site real quick.
Ahh…That’s better.

Since I’ve last updated this thing a lot has changed for me. I’ll try and keep this short and sweet. Almost as long as I’ve been playing music as a serious profession, I’ve also been involved with experiential marketing, aka my “real” job. The word “real” only signifies the financial part of the job, as playing music has been the most difficult occupation to date. I digress.

This time last year I managed an event at the Florida State Fair for a company based in the Southeast. Over the course of a three-week contract and being far away from my wife and kids I was able to grab dinner with my friend I’ve made in this industry and his beautiful wife, Ashley. Adam and she have become some of our greatest friends:

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It wasn’t long after seeing them again that I get this text from Adam asking me to pray and consider re-locating and accept a full-time position at his company, Thuzi.

Jillian and I  began thinking and praying through this, asking God to give us peace and discernment. We spent weeks and months coming up with the right decision. This was not easy for us to make. I was leading worship on-staff at a church we had watched grow from joining the plant just 5 months in to it’s existence. We lived 20 minutes from both sets of grandparents. Some of our greatest friends were just a stone’s throw away. Our roots were deeply set in the St. Louis Metro East.

I asked God if we were making the wrong decision for Him to make it clear to me. Or for there to be some push-back in our conversation with family, loved ones and people we looked to for advice and council. I found nothing but affirmation from the people we spoke with, and even further confirmation we were doing what we felt God wanted us to do.

I sat down with the elders at my church and told them everything. My friends and pastors, looked at me and replied, “We’ve been praying for this opportunity to come for you for years…we just hoped it would be here in St. Louis.” They prayed for me and once again and I was on my way. All of this confirming even further our decision.

Fast forward to…now.

opye

Jillian and I are learning how to do normal ‘life stuff.’ We are tapping into that seemingly elementary skill of making new friends, which has proved much more difficult than I ever thought…(guys… I’m not cool anymore.) We are still “searching” for a church, though I think we’ve found where we are supposed to be. We’re learning where to buy groceries, where people bring their kids when they don’t have extra money, but still want their kids to have fun (the beach is free!)

I haven’t played music or led worship since moving here, which has left a bit of  a hole for me. I am looking forward to flying to Illinois this weekend to lead worship for some students. What a treat that will be to serve in this way. I’m hoping by God’s grace, for more opportunities to rear their head in this way.

My ultimate prayer is for my wife and kids to find their place here, for me to be a good husband and dad and lead them well. They are the world to me.

I think a tour is long overdue. Along with new music. Along with…

To God be the glory!

 

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