Haven’t really blogged in a while (words, not reblogs, and a month, it’s all relative :)).
(listen to this song)
It starts with a few simple notes from a xylophone and quickly blossoms into a full-on whirlwind of music. I just got back from New York today and am heading up to San Francisco in a few days! I really need to record how these days have been because I feel that they are very important for me. The last couple years have been full of large, static steps - routines becoming routine, sameness in all the same. The last month since I’ve quit my job - haha! - has very much evoked the same sense that I had during my semester off from Penn. That semester was very important for me; another way that I often look at it is that many wonderful life experiences that I previously would have thought completely not even within reach (Dropbox! Glamour! Love and friendships and peace!) I feel derived from that little semester off.
It wasn’t an easy semester off, either. It was quite lonely. If I ever feel that Silicon Valley-ers are too career-driven on one singular uninspired path (well, maybe there are two archtypical paths that have emerged: that of the “founder” and “intense employee”), Penn was way worse - speaking of, if Penn is ranked the #1 college in the nation, that speaks volumes of the state of higher education in America. All of my friends were gearing up for OCR and starting to attend class everyday wearing suits - I was walking around Astor Place in flip flops, headed to my (awesome) internship at foursquare and running around doing random photo projects.
I guess I just knew that no matter what, I would never feel or see leaving as a mistake. I may have wished for more security and peace, but I knew I couldn’t find it where I was coming from, despite it being on paper a seemingly fantastic place for a 19-year-old to find herself. And me, now? Where does this 22-year-old go? The easy way out is at a nice, comfortable job. But is that really for me? Is that really the sort of life I want to lead - a respectable one, no doubt, but one that doesn’t call my name?
I find a lot of guidance and peace in the words of Maya Angelou. She had an extraordinary life, not because of her accomplishments, though they were due and deserved, but because of the intense richness with which she lived. She was a cook, musician, major organizer in the civil rights movement, writer, poet, journalist based in Ghana - mother at 17, wife twice, and all-around loving lover.
I think that kind of richness is how I aspire to live, and what I’ve arranged my life around for a while (ever since “gaining consciousness,” which I think really happens in high school for most people, hah). A lot of things make me happy. When I was in high school I was dead set on being a writer and journalist. Then I went to college and loved learning about building businesses and human behavior. And then I very intensely jumped into photography and design. Now, I’m just exploring many things, at my own pace.
In any case, I think a lot also has to be said about the timing afforded by the universe. I can think of no better time to start living life like this. I would argue that the jump from stability —> uncertainty is almost scarier and harder than the day-to-day trip that uncertainty brings. We as humans are very relative creatives and unfortunately we tend to be very heavily anchored to the default - in routine, with pricing, it all. I feel like the time is apt for another big jump.
Maybe I should consider taking a “semester off” every three years. :) Because the semester off ends up bleeding into the next few years, until it all just lumps into taking jump after jump. Till later..!