I've had this thing for voicemails, lately. They feel sincere, spontaneous, old-fashioned -- like a personal message in a bottle of sorts. To me, they're like the original gangsta of Snapchat or the progressive form of a postcard. Both comparisons that are probably quite wrong, but feel so right to me.
So this is me, leaving you a voicemail. Just to, you know, say hi.
It's September. One year since I (officially) moved back to San Francisco. September, which marks summer's close and always feels strangely like the start of a new year. We're only nine months late...casual.
The world is a topsy turvy place these days. And I've woken up eight out of seven days this week, trying to understand the long & short of it. Ya feel me?
In actuality, I figured out none of it. Ate a biscuit sandwich the size of my face. And decided to spend Sunday writing. So then, here we are.
Yesterday, someone asked me about the best things I've learned in the past year of life. I considered telling them how to find the best taco place in San Francisco (Tacorgasmico). Or how to cure the hiccups (no joke!). Or how to ask someone on a date via napkin (real story).
Instead, I simply said that the most important thing I've learned in the past year has been the golden rule all along --- You do you.
Truth is, I think we only know a few things to be true and many more to be false. That's a nice way of saying that we know, well...jack shit!
But we find an occasional bit of verity when reading between the lines of fact & fiction.
I feel crazy writing this, but hear me out. I've had this funny thought at top of the brain lately--this thought that all we are is who we've always been.
Simply put, what we do changes throughout life. When, where, and how we do it changes. But who we are never actually changes. And really, we've known that all along.
Think about it. You are the same person today that you were when you were a kid. Maybe now, you know more things about things. . . You've read. Changed your hair once, twice, thrice.
Found a vibe; found a tribe. Listened to a song a thousand times, then forgotten about it. Only to revel in its rediscovery. You've had experiences. Fallen in love with someone or something. And then fallen out of it.
But whether 18 or 80, you will always be you. The same quirks. Same dimpled smile. Same head & heart. The same person. We don't really think about this; we just do it.
So me? In the last year, I've learned I'm a maker and an old soul. Bold, ballsy, & gutsy to fault. I like boots made for walking and dresses made for doing. Preferably altogether. I like people who dream BIG and dance like they mean it. Because otherwise, why bother (really!)
I know I'm forever hungry and forever foolish, trying to find the intersection of passion x purpose. Somewhere between food, urban innovation, health, and technology. Whatever it is, I care deeply that it matters in the world. And that it's all about the people.
This all sounds like common sense, until you realize that distilling "what makes you, you" into a few sentences is a lot easier from an outsider's perspective. It's funny, of course, that our friends/family probably guessed who we are. Even before we guessed it ourselves.
They've guessed what you like, what you don't like. They've known that you prefer cheese to pepperoni or pepperoni to cheese. That you're an extrovert or introvert or something like that. That you're a hugger or not a hugger or somewhere in between.
It's taken time to begin understanding that we are who we are. That this is me. That for better or for worse, this is who we've been all along.
Turns out though, vulnerability is no joke. For me, it's taken one year of audacious highlights and unwieldy lowlights and 27 revisions of writing to tell you all of this. Sloooooow and steady wins the dang race, don't we know it.
Who you are is a whole different shabang than who I am. Because that's life in its curious mix of science and inscrutable magic.
Whatever this year has been to you though, I hope you did it big. That you celebrated the small victories; faced the failures with grace; and shared a bigass pan of brownies with friends to weather both.
I hope you took a trip somewhere that knocked your socks off and that you listened to some of what your parents said...but maybe not all of it. And I hope you spent it with people who are the best of the best.
But whether you did all of it or none of it, I hope there was only one golden rule:
You do you.