“I don’t know what to expect out of this year. Ideally, I’d love to pick a place to stay more long term to live. I could also see myself loving the nomad life for another year. Who knows! I don’t and I’m not worried about figuring it out. More than anything, I want to keep accepting challenges and to continue to seek out pure fun. I want to become more “grey”. I want to learn that I can be a good person and still refuse to let myself be mistreated or taken advantage of. I want to leave myself open to impromptu adventures with random loved ones. I want to create my own adventures with the people I care about. I want to continue to give back to the communities that helped get me here. I want to continue to carve out my identity as an employee at Automattic. I want to meet and love new people. I want to expand my comfort zone tremendously. I want to understand myself more and to really get a good grasp on what it is that sets my heart on fire. I want to continue to write, read, and process everything that happens around me. I want to continue to create a healthier relationship with technology. I want to continue to invest deeply in those I love.” – Excerpt from last year’s post
Oh, 23. You silly number. What a damn year. I spent more time alone than I think I ever have in my entire life. Nomading and working remotely are the perfect storm for that. I say this not in a bad way – I feel like I know myself better than I ever have after this year and a huge part of that was spending a lot of time with myself. I highly recommend it actually. I loved it.
I barely remember writing the above but it’s eery to me how accurate my description of what I wanted to happen came true. I’ve both found a place to live more long term and have continued traveling the world – the best of both worlds in my humble opinion. I spent the last year traveling on a whim solo and with loved ones that I’d take bullets for. I have countless memories of last minute trips, late nights, long conversations, delicious meals, fantastic coffee etc. I left myself open despite wanting to close up and I’m very proud of that. I’ve met loads of new and amazing people whose stories I can’t wait to continue to be a part of.
There are things I’ve done this past year that in years past would have seemed unimaginable and unattainable. My comfort zone now seems to be mainly just based on my energy level + mental health and not on the fear of failure or embarrassment or some other ridiculous thing.
I feel like I have spent an equal amount of time exploring the world through nomading as I have exploring myself through meditation, therapy, writing, etc. Both of these took me being intentional and, for that, I am proud of myself.
I thought often during this past year about just getting through it. I leaned on folks hard during this time and am so thankful for that. Thank you thank you thank you.
I learned this year that the foundation of who I am is something I can fall back on. I found that I’m more adaptable than I give myself credit for. I learned that overvaluing romantic love is silly and that valuing all forms of love opens up countless opportunities to be loving every day. I learned that it’s okay to retreat and surrender – not everything needs to be a fight. I learned that I can and should protect myself. I learned that I need to be careful with who I give my energy, love, and time too. I learned how to restart. I learned there’s no normal when it comes to pain. I learned that it’s 100% okay and awesome to be my introverted, minimalist, optimistic self. I can live however the hell I choose to and I can choose to use my resources to better those around me. I learned how to let go (err still learning). I learned to appreciate and cultivate the grey areas of myself and to rest easy in those parts of myself. I learned I’d rather be alone than spend time with folks living inauthentically.
I spent today alone seemingly as an ode to 23. I drove to Joshua’s Tree last night from Venice Beach and spent the day exploring the national park before heading back to San Diego. My favorite part was coming down Ryan’s Mountain and choosing at a certain point to start running. My dad taught me the joy of trail running and it’s something I can’t help but do even when it’s likely not the smartest choice in the world. I ran and ran only stopping to pause to snap a picture or to get out of the way of other folks. I ran with abandon and a giant smile on my face.
With a firm sense of who I am, I want to spend this year refining the life I’m living. I want to figure out where I’m going to dive deep next and make an impact. Life has felt a bit scattered for lack of a better term over the last couple of years and I’m ready to use what I’ve learned to make this world a bit better in a bigger way. I don’t know what this looks like yet despite having some ideas. I want to continue to travel with loved ones as much as I want to continue to challenge myself to stay more in one spot to find that community I want to build. I want to push myself physically and intellectually. I’m hiking more, playing soccer more, boxing, etc. I want to keep finding those limits and pushing them. I want to take classes or start writing a book I’ve been meaning to start or join local politics.
I don’t know what it looks like yet but I’m ready to raise my game. 23 was a rebuilding year – 24 feels like a year I don’t want to waste a second of. It feels fresh, new, and hopeful. 23 felt scary, unpredictable, and unknown. By all means, 24 doesn’t feel safe, predictable, or known but facing what I faced during this past year have made those feelings fade. I’ve attained what felt unattainable and now I want to set my sights on what feels out of reach once more with renewed strength. I don’t want to stop – it feels like grind time. Like last year though, I have no expectations – just dreams.
Thinking more about it, 23 felt like climbing up the mountain I did today. It was exhausting yet rewarding with beautiful views and fantastic insights along the way. I wanted to give up at points – turn back, let up, stop. I dug deep though and pushed through knowing it was necessary pain that would be worth it and make me better. 24 feels like the same sensation I have right before I begin fully trail running down the mountain.
I can’t imagine a better way to start this year off too. This weekend I head to FL for my absolute best friend’s bachelorette weekend to celebrate. The weekend after that, I head to France to spend 2 full weeks off work exploring with another best friend of mine from high school. From there, I’m non stop traveling until May 15th. I’m living the minimalist life I’ve always wanted to. I’m living athletically and actually using my body as much as I can each week. I’m living openly and intentionally making decisions based on what I truly value.
Despite all of this, I’m so aware of how quickly everything can change in an instant. I’m not taking anything for granted and frankly speaking if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, I could look back on my life thus far and be really freaking happy with how I lived it. I’ve given all of myself authentically as much as I can bear every day I’m here. If I can continue to do that for each day I have ahead of me I’ll be thrilled. The fantastic thing is I see no reason why I can’t do just that. I learned years ago the first time I had a really true soul to soul conversation that once you taste authenticity it’s nearly impossible to go back to normal life. I’m so happy I know what that feels like even if it still can be so elusive and rare. I am patient and I will settle for nothing less when it comes to what and who I build my life around. I haven’t always been that way but I’m tired of wasting time. Here’s to continuing to find “the others” in this 24th year. I’m looking for you.
“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others.” – Timothy Leary