Where did the last 5 years go?
This is a question we’ve probably all asked ourselves, and I’m no exception. It’s not like life is an endless blur of uneventful days (at least not for any of the people I know)…in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Sometimes it seems like we do so many things and achieve so many goals that there’s no time left to savor the uneventful but sublime: a beautiful clash of textures on the street, a warm night in the city, Sunday with the New York Times crossword puzzle.
In the past 5 years I: went to art school for my second Bachelor’s degree (in graphic design) and graduated with high honors, opened and closed a business with two of my best friends, wrote two books with them, got married, finished an insane thesis project, started working part time with a graphic design studio while I was still in school, and lived in Oaxaca for a month while participating in an experimental art studio…all while maintaining my relationship and friendships. I list these things not as a resume, but more as a way of illustrating: I am burned out, people.
I’ve been living life fast; I am happy that I’ve not missed any opportunities these past few years, but now I wonder if that’s really true. I’ve envied friends who live life at a slower pace…sometimes it seems like they can get deeper, follow a train of thought right down to the last stop, and see all the stations and forks in the road on the way there. And to be clear, I don’t mean to misrepresent—Jeremy and I live a great life in San Francisco, full of challenges, richness, laughter, and beauty. It’s just that I wonder, and quite frankly, I worry, what if we never slow down? What kind of person, or parent, or wife, or friend would I be? I know how to get things done; I need to learn how to NOT get things done.
There are plenty of reasons why we shouldn’t leave our lives for a year. What about my career? What about starting a family? What about our family or friends? I can’t say that these are not concerns of mine, in fact, they’ve been on my mind quite a bit these past few days. I guess the answer is that I wouldn’t, or couldn’t, do this trip unless I really believed it would help me be a better designer, (eventual) parent, friend, sister, daughter, person.
So there it is. That’s why I travel…to find the time to pull out my camera when I see that beautiful clash of textures on the street, to read that book that’s been on my shelf collecting dust for the past 5 years, and to follow that train of thought down to the last stop…to be the caboose rather than the engineer.