Essays

Happy anniversary (to me)!

One year. One whole revolution around the sun. A whole year.

This last Friday, I was on a train back from NYC. I had left the District on the 5:30 out, took a meeting in the city, ate Korean and drank soju with my coworker for lunch, and then we hopped back on the 1:09, 2 hours earlier than expected.

No matter how many times you’ve done it, waking up at 4 and catching a pre-dawn train means that you are not fully awake yet. The brain just isn’t ready. On the way up, I chatted with my coworker and we had our grande-sized caffeinated drinks to stay awake, and when we arrived, we got straight to work. There was no time or energy available for anything else. No time to think or consider, just to execute.

But, we had a long train ride home, right?

Above-ground trains are good places for introspection. Unlike subways or metros, where you are in a deep, dark hole, a train that is taking you overland allows for deep contemplation. You look outside so as to peer inwards. This time, it occurred to me that while I had done this route from NYC to the District many times before – even before last year – the sensation it had always left me with was that things were passing me by.

For the first time, I was struck by a new sensation: was passing things by.

I know this seems like a subtle frame shift, but stay with me on this for a minute. All of the other times, I was stuck in place. Things were happening around me and they were happening to me. Well, the truth is, I had perceived them as such, and perception is reality. I read somewhere once that nothing happens in isolation: you are always you, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. You take you everywhere you go. Therefore, that mindset wasn’t just a thing for when I was on a train.

It was how I lived my life.

So, this new sensation, this shift of me moving and me passing things by, really was an acknowledgement that was making things happen. I was in control. And that also meant that all of the changes that happened in my life this past year… made them happen.

A year ago, I started a job that was unlike any job I had taken before. I had no clear idea what I would be doing and what would happen next. There was no clear path! Taking that job required me to violate all of the “rules” that I had associated with my career; it was a risk, a leap, and that action spread out and touched every bit of my life.

Today, I’m not always sure what I need to do at work. It’s a startup: it changes on a daily basis. I spend a fair amount of time on trains, planes, and in automobiles: but I choose to do it for work, family, and fun! I work out and swim regularly, I hike, I cook for myself and others, and I never lack for company to see a movie or watch a show, to share a meal or have a drink.

It is a good and simple life, easy and breezy, and it didn’t just happen to me, I made it happen. I made this life. It’s mine!

Happy anniversary to me!

(I am so grateful, every single day)

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