When the dust settles
A few different things I've been thinking about coming into 2022.
Hey friends: this will be a little heavier than other things I write. If you’re interested in something that's a little more inspiring or casual, feel free to catch me in 2022 :)
When the dust settles
When I was younger my mom would show me a family video of myself and the neighborhood girl chasing ducks around a park. A cute & hilarious tape. It always made me laugh because obviously I have zero recollection of that memory. Had it not been for that tape, I would have never been able to recapture that moment.
I love photography and writing for that reason. They give me the comforting illusion of permanence. This is something I have struggled with because quite frankly, change is hard for me. And so like a squirrel, I love to tuck away little memories through photographs and writing like a hoard of acorns for the winter. These memories are fun, albeit sometimes painful, to revisit because they’re an omnipresent reminder to live and relish in the now. That specific moment was so important and precious that I couldn’t afford to lose it through the winter.
I share all of these thoughts in real-time as I look back on the last year and everything I had recorded throughout. I find myself wondering what moments I took for granted, which ones were my favorite, others I had completely forgotten about. This year wasn’t devoid of challenges like I might have hoped. My anxiety and depression is still as relevant as it ever has been. I've been struggling with emotions through another breakup, experienced loss in the family, walked away from a profitable agency I had built, moved, started a new job, had another rough birthday, the list goes on.
The thing about writing is that it allows you to put on whatever face you’re comfortable with sharing. When I was younger I wrote fantasy as an escape from a turbulent upbringing. As I grew older, I wrote about professional development while I was fumbling to find my career footing, and now, I’d say I write more or less about what is top of mind in aspiration to stay present.
I’ve had a tough time writing lately partly because I’ve never been one to play the victim. In most cases, I put on a brave face and keep pushing on. My best coping mechanism has been continuously making little promises to myself: “when I just get through this, I will be better” or “when I make enough money, I’ll be able to see my family more.”
The consensus from those closest to me over the last 4-5 months: of course you are struggling, your foundation has been rocked.
Or to put it in terms of advice, try and find some level of normality.
I can’t! I have so much I want to do. I want to build my own successful business, I want to travel extensively overseas, I want to see my nieces and nephews grow up, I want to find a way to do more for my community. At any given point I feel like I’m staring down a multi-faceted and delicate scale that carries its weight in opportunity cost. Normalcy feels a little bit impossible right now but I now think that is okay.
Something I’m always thinking a lot about: becoming comfortable with transitions. I’ve accepted that I have a lot I want to accomplish and a finite amount of time to do it. That was really the first step. The second step has been figuring out how to navigate that without feeling like I’m losing my footing all the time. As my highlight shares below: the best I can really do is stop resisting and instead, embrace the low points.
Life is in the transitions. His point is even more true today: We can’t ignore these central times of our life; we can’t wish or will them away. We have to accept them, name them, mark them, share them, and eventually convert them into a new and vital fuel for remaking our life stories.
– Life Is In The Transitions (Bruce Feiler)
Transitions in life feel particularly heavy. And if you find a transition particularly turbulent, remind yourself like I remind myself: the dust will eventually settle, and when it does, you can and will rise from the ashes like a phoenix. I'm reminded of a time when I was getting surfing lessons with a few friends and just one of them had given up, our instructor yelled: “surfers never paddle back in!”
Learn to ride the wave and don’t give up.
An important reminder a friend once told me: It’s easy for the dark to overshadow the good, but you can’t let it. Appreciate what was beautiful; remember both when you laughed and when you cried as one holistic picture. Keep taking photos of your favorite moments, keep jotting down your thoughts in your notebook, tuck away your favorite memories underneath the bed.
As I look back over the last year and think about the next, I’m actually hopeful.
Recognizing these are all transitions has strengthened me. All things considered, I’m happy about everything I did and accomplished in the last year. I’m not without my lowest moments, but also not without my best: I spent hundreds of hours with people I care about deeply, learned a lot about myself, built an incredible business with incredible people, and found ample time to have fun & explore.
My optimism could just be another little promise to myself but I don’t think so.
Wishing you and yours the best,
This is dedicated to my dear Aunt Joan who passed earlier this year and to my best friend’s father, Terry, who passed away earlier this month. I’m thinking about you both.
A few shares
I shared this last year and probably will the next, this essay from Simon Sarris on Familiarity and Belonging. It’s one of my favorites of all time.
This essay – knowing myself – from Ava (Bookbear Express). Or really any of her writing, such as: seeing people and run your own race.
Bird by Bird from Anne Lamott (a book on writing & life)
Choose Yourself from James Altucher (a book on life & entrepreneurship)
Joining Hypergrowth Startups from Andreas Klinger (I recommend and reference this often for working professionals)
The Top of My Todo List from Paul Graham
Radical Candor from Kim Scott (greatly improved how I communicate)
My favorite moments
What’s a year in review without just a few of my favorite moments?