Notable from 2020:
- Pandemic and quarantine beginning in March
- Treehouse trip in May
- California road trip in August
- Transition to Engineering Manager at Alo Moves in August
It’s been a long year and I’ve spent more time in my room, or at least my house, than ever before. Somehow it’s felt like there has been nothing to do and yet too much to do, and I earnestly hope with a cautious optimism that the next year will have a bit more ease.
Now, I’ve been slacking as it relates to these annual letters to myself. I still have yet to complete 31 and never started 32. Turning 30 had so much momentum behind it, not to mention space to focus on it, and I was proud of what I wrote. But that turned into a self-imposed pressure to write something for subsequent years that was just as good, so then perfection became the enemy of good enough.
I’ve since reframed or simplified the purpose of these letters of annual reflection. They will serve as bookends for chapters in my life—summaries of what’s been flowing through my head and heart throughout the year without any particular purpose. Maybe one day many years from now I’ll look back on this and smile at my feeble attempts to document and control everything, but be grateful that I made an effort to at least write something down and grow from it.
I find the word and concept of growth fascinating. It’s something capitalism loves, it can imply improvement, or it can simply be understood as an inevitable force of nature coexisting with its counterpart: destruction.
You can’t really force growth, but you can encourage it. I’ve been grateful for the opportunities to grow over the past couple of years, largely as it relates to being in relationship but also my job. I’ve been with my partner for over a year and a half now and we’ve both learned so much about ourselves and each other along the way with all of its ups and downs.
Before we were together, I had a habit of self deprecation and doubt. I doubted my ability to love and would often think of myself as lazy, boring, and apathetic. But having someone so close to you who not only sees who you really are, but tells you what they see and admire and love over and over and over—because it takes hearing it many times—eventually breaks through the walls you’ve built and you are faced with the decision of letting yourself be loved or not. I can assure you the former is much better, albeit sometimes difficult and uncomfortable.
Matching my self-awareness with a sense of self-compassion has allowed me to further accept my slower pace of life and care of work, my ability to love and be loved, and ultimately dreading existence less frequently and less intensely. It is good to grow.
You don’t have to be anything else. — Mar 30
To be sent away, to momentarily not exist. That boy still resides there. — May 30
The word “alone” came up a lot, though that’s not unique to just this past year. Often, it’s an expression of escape. To not bother and not be bothered—it’s a desire of reprieve, calm, and safety. But this coin of solitude has two sides. One side has been influenced by past traumas, while the other is trying to reframe that narrative and simply seek a sense of restoration. One wants to disappear, the other wants to recharge.
Distinguishing between these two is something I am still working on. There was a time when perhaps I had too much time alone, but these days I often feel I don’t have enough. I’d like to create some structure for this on a regular basis and do a better job of attuning to moments when I just need to be in my own world for a short while.
In a struggle, I managed to say the words “It felt like we were kids.” And it hit us both like a chord struck in such a way that the vibrations of sound penetrate through to something deep within, like tapping into a well of tears long forgotten. — May 30
I still often feel a sense of disconnect with my family, and relationships in general, but it no longer feels daunting or hopeless, despite there being lots of work still to do. The theory of relationship is easy to talk about, but when you’re in the thick of it, when you can feel your prefrontal cortex trying to shut down during a moment of conflict, things are difficult. But what makes that rupture worth it is the repair the follows.
But what if you never experienced much repair? What if you were unknowingly taught to suppress and ignore? Unfortunately, that doesn’t really work and time does not heal all wounds, though it can help numb them. Not only am I still figuring out how to best navigate those situations of rupture when they occur, but also how to approach deeply rooted wounds. It won’t be easy, but again, it is good to grow.
Leaving the store, I said to myself “I feel like going home.” But I don’t know where home is. — Jul 27
Homesick isn’t something I think I’ve felt until moving to Seattle. Historically I’ve been fairly close to where I grew up, but now I am many miles away. Beyond leaving what is familiar, which greatly adds to a feeling of comfort and belonging, Tulsa has a much slower pace which I find myself longing for again.
It’s odd to feel displaced, whether relative to a group of people or the city you live in, and usually not in a pleasant way. I don’t feel as though Seattle is home, and yet I also feel I’ve moved on from my original home of Tulsa. So where does this put me? I am still searching for a decision, but do have a desire to be less transient and more invested in a quieter place, ideally close to mountains.
On a board is one of the handful of places I feel most at home with myself. — May 30
I’ve struggled with overthinking for much of my adult life. Not only that, but also a desire for a sense of control over both of my external environment and internal world. I’ve since come to accept that this is not inherently a bad thing, but rather what I’ve been calling my superpower. There are many good things that come from this tendency such as awareness, attention to detail, and a general sense of care. But taken too far, the indecision becomes frustrating and debilitating. This is one of the reasons I enjoy the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) so much.
Now, most of my themes from the past four years have been active in nature (focus, groove, engage). As I considered what my theme for 2021 would be coming out of 2020, I realized how much I was craving a sense of repair and rest, regarding both relationships and work. I want to give myself time to recharge through intentional solitude, and during that time I want to let go of this internal pressure to always do more. I want to release, even if for a moment, the thoughts and ideas that never let me rest so that I can come back to them later with presence and power.