I'm sitting on the wood steps of my new house. It's been almost a week now since I've come home. Yes I can talk about it and I can tell stories but as I discussed with Josh last night nothing in my mind is settled. I hope it's still processing there in my subconscious behind the scenes cause when I had that FaceTime call with Tammy all I could do was stare at the ceiling and I couldn't say anything, I could hardly even say the words "I Don't Know."
(What can you say after an experience like that?)
I came, I saw, I conquered, I freaked out, I conquered again.
I came home.
The reason I'm out here is because the more I tried to put my stuff away in my room, the more I wanted to take a flamethrower to all of it. Who I am now is not who I was in April when I packed up all that stuff. Yes this is my town but I would rather have gone on far far away with a brand new place and brand new things so I could keep moving forward, cause today when I sat in the computer lab the dusty electric scent of the air and the familiar dimmed quality of light felt like whiplash, like I had gone back in time. Not that there was anything wrong with who I was before but you can't have traveled and lived and worked like that and not have become a different person afterwards, and I want to go forward.
This summer everything I owned fit in one and a half suitcases and I liked living like that quite a bit. When I carried a shameful amount of stuff out of my storage unit yesterday I vowed to get rid of a third of it. There is no reason one person essentially without a fixed abode should have that much stuff. But as I stand in my whirlwind disaster of a room, throwing clothes and books and paper into the sacrificial pile—should I be getting rid of all that? should I be getting rid of more? Like I said I want to take a flamethrower to everything I own but I know it's no good to burn who you used to be in pursuit of who you're trying to be. Every time I've tried to be something I am not, I learned that I can only be who I am.
So what do I throw out? And what do I keep?
When I came home the colors were more vibrant than I ever remember seeing. Today I went up to the mountains and everything smelled like sunlight and dust.
Yes Germany was beautiful but I was raised on this stuff.
I woke up this morning from dreams of Europe just like every other day. I can't believe I've been gone for a week now but things always change so fast. I'm amazed at how quickly the mind can adjust to something, how after only a day or a week or a month a place can seem so known and familiar, or so far away.
This isn't what you were expecting from my Post-IDEO Retrospective. Yeah come talk to me if you want to hear the stories, you know I like to tell them well enough. But this is what's happening now, sitting on the wood porch smelling like summer in the air thinking about who I was and who I am and who I'm going to be.
Like most of us I'm often a nostalgic but I tell you there was a moment at the end of this summer where I stood alone in the white light of my room and saw my life for what it was, a series of overlapping experiences that come and go and are allowed to end. Of course like everyone else I cling to the beautiful things that are gone but for those few hours I was able to let go and see everything fit in its perfect frame of What Is, not What Could Have Been or What Could Be.
This summer I found an artist named David Shrigley on the walls of the modern art museum in München. On that evening standing in the white light his piece came into my mind again, because I think that I get it now—