500 Days of Blogging

This will be my 500th post, my first post back from a second round of travels, and the first post after turning 24.  I have this weird meta-hobby that involves keeping or doing small things every day or from certain points in time (like blogging, photos, journaling, my ACA flyers, etc) that accumulate into this huge documentation of my life.  It’s intriguing to see how my life is stratified over the days and years, and I’m sure if I took the time to read back on all my posts I would see myself mature subtly.

Thinking about it, 500 days doesn’t seem like a long time at all, much shorter sounding than a year and a half (okay to be precise it is shorter than a year and a half), but reflecting back on what the fuck happened in my life is pretty astounding.

Since May 2010:

– Started this blog woo woo.

– I performed for the last time with ACA Hip Hop, after 5 years of a crazy era of growth and stress and memories and much more that can’t be contained in a blog post.

– I graduated!

– I started writing down some of my first notes for my business ideas (June 2010)

– Went on the car ride of a lifetime with Kat.  We were the late car in a UniCamp session social to SF, and that six hour conversation sparked a relationship that is still thriving now and will be long into our future.  Some highlights might be…

– Discovering the Santa Monica Library.  I think our staple go-to weekend is to post up at the library or Barnes to read.  Pretty awesome.
– Vegas post session
– Becoming Facebook official.  As lame as that sounds, she already started calling me her boyfriend, made the Facebook request, and basically took all the opportunities for me to be a guy in that situation.  BUT I whipped something together.
– Our first NYE kiss
– A pretty terrible Valentine’s Day.  I take full responsibility.
– Her getting hired and getting her scion
– Her surprise bday party in LA
– Pimping out the room for XMAS
– A big move in living situations
– Memorial Day weekend
– Dominating a half marathon w/ her and friends
– Getting through some of our first fights
– Celebrating our one year
– Her blindfolded adventures in SF for her bday
– My surprise birthday party last night

I think there’s something to be said about her (which you can read), but something even more subtle which I think we’ve only really hit the tip of the iceberg with is our dynamic.  How we are in the presence and combination of each other, how we deal with conflict, how we affirm and support each other, how we both have a long term expectation – a lot of invisible forces play into our relationship.  I spend a lot of time admiring her but I think I forget to appreciate how we mix and mingle.

– Did two UniCamp sessions (7 2010, 6 2011) and met some amazing people.

– Met a little heartbreaker named David through Mentorship.

– Going back and forth to the bay area for holidays, my sister’s bday, for Ed, and just to be with my family in general.

– Judged two seasons of ACA Auditions as an alumni.  As ‘irrational’ as it is, ACA is a BIG reason I am still hanging around in LA.

– Started and left a job as an iPhone app developer.  This had to be one of the most intense learning experiences I’ve ever had in my life, one of the most stressful towards the end, and something I started and finished that I should be way more proud of.  I don’t think I’ve ever sat down that long for 8+ hours at a time, armed with my mind and keyboard hammering away at problems I could only work around with my brain.  I aspired to work at a startup company where I could learn to hone my skills and bring my visions to life.  Angie hooked it up, but my interview there was terrible and basically an interrogation of how much I didn’t know, but I got the job.  My boss was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, and there really is no way to thank him for all the faith he invested in me to push me into harder and harder projects with responsibilities I thought I might never live up to.  But at the end of the day I couldn’t keep lying to myself because I knew that the industry I was using my creativity and brainpower for was a waste of time, and for 8+ hours of the day I literally felt dead.  For once in my life, I had to realize that my optimism was working against me.  I waddled around in stress for a month or two, and I seriously think I started developing minor anxiety and shortness of breath, triggered almost every time I drove to work.  Going against the advice of pretty much everyone I talked to, with half formed exit strategies, I left.  But in those two major decisions, I learned to trust in my heart and gut, and I feel powerful in trusting in my own wings and mind and taking leaps once in a while.

So I have no idea if you guys are reading, but thanks for teaching me more than I could’ve ever imagined about technology, business, and life.  I am sorry that I left at such an inopportune time when clients and NDAs and projects came swarming, but hopefully you understand.

– Started a crazy ass journey where I get to travel to some of the world’s poorest countries to help out and tell their stories.  It sucks because as someone who shares daily pictures and blogs, I can’t publicly convey one of the biggest experiences of my life.  I can’t even begin to imagine where this will take me in the world (because they don’t tell us shit until we need to know) and in my life.  I cried for someone I didn’t know for the first time in my life, pushed wheelbarrows, retrieved water from wells, taken showers from buckets, had diarrhea from running water and/or food, slept under mosquito bed nets, shit in wooden latrines without plumbing, and talked to some of the most resilient, ambitious, and inspiring people I’ve ever known.  There is so much to say about what I’ve learned, recovering from culture shock, the pioneers I’ve met, etc.  I can already say that I feel more confident, more of an urgent call to be an informed and impactful global citizen, more driven to make the most out of my days, more grateful even for the most BASIC of human experiences like hearing my own name, more uninhibited and outgoing, more opinionated and articulate, more passionate.  Hopefully through this whole journey I can reconcile the conflict I have of trying to be confident and humble at the same time.

There is something to be said about diving into another country where you struggle to communicate.  Any pretense I have in LA, any persona that I have to try to be for whatever reason fades away when I see people who are happy with literally nothing.  You don’t have Facebook updates and internet stories and Youtube videos to hide behind, much less electricity to keep you indoors.  I would say without a doubt that I see more community and humanity in slums and tent cities than on Wilshire Boulevard, if anything for the mere fact that you HAVE to be around other people.

What I will say is that I spent my birthday in India.  If you had asked me a year ago, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined celebrating comfortably and drunkenly with people I just met in a hotel in India.  With all of my goals and ambitions, I think this is beginning to teach me the beauty in surprises.  I’ve always and still have aspirations to be an entrepreneur, which kinda serves as a means to ends of inspiring others, traveling the world as a part of my job and lifestyle choice, significance, contributing in a large way, learning more about myself and the world, and etc.  I had always thought entrepreneurship was that vehicle, but I was pleasantly blindsided by this opportunity.  Life has its own weird way of surprising you.

To be frank, for awhile I was disappointed that I hadn’t launched a business in 2011, that I hadn’t earned $X.  I was so incredibly fixated on those two goals, maybe to an unhealthy degree.  I kinda expected to arrive at 24 with hints of disappointment with little maturity and achievement to reflect on, but the past 365 and 500 days have given me plenty to smile back on and to be proud of.

For what it’s worth, some goals for the next year:

– Truly understand the difference between confidence and humility.  To gain self-assurance but maintain my humility.
– To nosedive into the world and understand issues and form opinions and to become a global citizen.  To vote and exercise my voice in these next elections.
– To learn how to tell stories, to persuade positively, to negotiate, to articulate opinions on the fly.
– To once and for all, stop talking about starting a business and start some shit.
– To become closer to my family.
– To keep dancing and pursuing the arts and creativity.
– To be healthy for the sake of being mentally and physically healthy and not for an image.  To meditate, to exercise, to dive into yoga.

I am sure more goals will materialize in the next year, but these past few months have started teaching me that some things really aren’t in my control whether or not those curveballs are beneficial.

Hopefully this year is even crazier than the last.  For whatever reason I feel like this year, my dreams are at grasping distance.  As corny as it might sound, I think my life is about to monumentally change these next 12 months in ways I can’t even begin to imagine.  I can genuinely say I’ve never been more excited to live the next year of my life.

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