After moving everything into my Brooklyn apartment, I’m still between settling in and feeling like I’m only visiting. Some new routines have formed, others are developing; I’ve found an instant comfort — in the voices of strangers on the street, in the barren trees, in the sound of the train going by. Parts of me are fully here and present, others are still elsewhere, presumably making their way up the east coast.
Now that I’m here, I feel like I’m re-orienting — not to my surroundings, which are somehow familiar, but to myself, which is somehow foreign. Now that I’m in a place that feels so right, who am I as a person? I think my sense of self — who I am and where I’m going — has been the biggest casualty of the last 9 years.
I keep coming back to one theme: acting outside my “normal”; doing things I’ve been uncomfortable doing — things I often avoid because of that fact. I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time over the last few years, without a clear direction or personal purpose I could really put my finger on. Much of life has felt like merely staying the course, even as the will to “suck all the marrow out of life” remained tucked away in a dusty old box in my mind’s basement.
I’m unpacking that box now. I pull out an old notebook — words from when I was 17 years old, learning and striving for something self-evident, without all the pressures of a modern life, cut off from your history and community, expected to make it in the world all on your own.
Our world can be a lonely place, from the car-dominated suburbs where I grew up, to my adult home in the deep South, where neighbors are afraid of speaking truthfully for fear of their gun-toting neighbors.
The city, finally, isn’t lonely. There is energy and humanity all around, often willing to engage if you’re ready to. I’ve never lived somewhere I felt I could be a human until I got here, and I don’t plan to waste the chance.
One thing that’s caught me by surprise over the years has been how my business, started for enjoyment and continued for freedom, eventually turned into staying the course. Eventually duties come with any serious enough activity, and so they’ve arrived with this endeavor. I’m not averse to duty, but I always need to understand how it squares with a duty to myself — the contents of those old boxes in my mental basement, that I carry around no matter where I go.
I recently watched a video about not making New Year’s resolutions, but thinking in terms of a theme, and seasons of life. My current season is one of wanting to stretch myself creatively and socially, and I’m finally in the physical place to do that. But I still need to get there mentally — and that partly means rethinking, or redoing, how I do business. Or rather this venture.
In my mental office, hauled around for 7 years of building this product, I have boxes filled with every request ever asked for me. Every bit of information on how this thing could be useful to someone, and every time I’ve said “yes.”
I need to start chucking those boxes.
Ultimately, I need to start delegating, and giving these ideas away so that someone else might run with them, and the world can still benefit. I have no need to hoard them. They stack toward my ceiling. Their weight is too much to carry on my own; they take up too much space for a single moving truck.
In the future I see now, I’ve abandoned my old ideas of “growing a business.” At this point, I don’t want to utter the word “business” when I wake up. I’m eschewing my personal label as an “entrepreneur” — that’s not what I want to be. I want to liberate myself from this dull pursuit of more money. I have my basic needs met, and it’s enough. Any growth that comes will be nothing but a bonus — but I’m no longer focused on it as my main pursuit.
With this thought, answers come effortlessly. A focus. An idea of what’s actually important, for myself and this venture. I’m ready for it, and open to whatever discoveries might come from a mental downsizing to match the physical one I made when moving here.
I can’t put it all into words yet, but I know it’ll bring together these parts of me longing for life, for freedom, for connection — without effort or force. That’s what feels right.