Kake Udon, Chai Latte

These days I find myself drawn more and more to Medium. I wake up, inevitably stumble across something like this, start reflecting on my life during the last several years, and end up asking myself if the company I’ve kept, the time I’ve spent on Things, and the pursuits and professional relationships I’ve followed have had consistent value and quality. Sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes it’s no, depending on which side of the bed I’ve woken.

Time is a funny little thing. It’s the most precious gift we have as humans and yet we so often squander it for foolish reasons. We spend it trying to impress others, we waste it fretting over past actions and future uncertainties, and we let it deceive us into thinking that we will always have it. It is the single most important thing that exists in our lives and yet we take it for granted until it’s too late.

I have friends who have been waiting to leave their jobs for the last five years or leave town and go somewhere else for the last ten, and I want so very badly for them to pull the trigger and become the change they want to see in their lives. Perfect timing is a myth, especially when it comes to the big stuff. Like coming out, or breaking up with someone you love, or telling your boss you no longer believe in his team, or asking for something when it scares you so very much to ask for it. There’s never a good time for any of it. It’s all hard and inconvenient.

The last several months I have felt an incredible sense of urgency towards stillness; to find a seat and sit in it. What I mean is that I’ve regained a deeper appreciation for how little time we have before we die, and adjusted my priorities accordingly. Family matters. Being in love matters. Waking up and working on something that I believe in matters. Resolving interpersonal issues swiftly and judiciously matters. Sleeping matters.

Status, reputation, being liked by influential people, material wealth, being feared or revered, new clothing, big housing, shiny toys, envy. None of these things matter, at all, and they’re terrible time investments.

Find out what you’re most scared about regretting later on and do that Thing now. We haven’t got a moment to spare.

Bánh Canh Thập Cẩm

Life in Hanoi has resumed and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve settled back into an apartment in Ba Đình, gotten back into the swing of things with the Hanoi WordPress Meetup Group, begun work in earnest with my newly formed LLC, started contributing to the documentation efforts for .org, and had time for friends, food, and sleep. I haven’t felt this energized about my career and overall professional outlook in more than two years, and day by day I continue to feel like my decision to shake things up recently was the right thing to do. It truly is incredible how taking the blinders off and stepping outside of the bubble puts everything into fine perspective.

After taking out all of the meat from this bowl it was more than fifty percent depleted; thankfully Mai handled my unwanted food like a champ and even had room for ice cream afterward.

Miến Gà and Change

So much in life changes so quickly. Twelve days ago I said goodbye to SF and put in notice that I’d be moving on from my old job; 12 days later in Texas I’m a week away from returning home to Vietnam, a managing member of a newly formed LLC (with business cards and bank accounts and all that Jazz), and filled with incredible amounts of peace and tranquility for the long, newly challenging road ahead.

Change is inevitable. It keeps us fresh; it keeps us alive. Whether we fully choose it or not is not as important as how we respond to it and if we allow ourselves to be humbled by it. I’m sure it’ll take me a while to both appreciate and take full perspective on the last several years, but for now this change, this decision to move on, feels as right as it can possibly get.

A Goodbye Dinner

My last few days in San Francisco have been weird. I wasn’t even supposed to be here right now (South Carolina for work, instead) but after injuring myself moving several days ago and needing a doc I was forced to prolong my goodbye with the city for four extra days.

In the weirdest of ways it’s been the best possible outcome, all things considered. I’ve had more time to say my goodbyes to a few amazing individuals who made my short move to this city meaningful, and I’ve also had some time away from it all to breathe, think, get healthier (or try to), plan, and project for what’s next. Turning knee problems into lemonade, in other words.

Tonight Momma B and I had a final dinner together until I see her again most likely in Denver later this year. She’s been a bedrock in this city and I thank the heavens every day for having the opportunity to have lived with her when I first came to San Francisco looking for housing. We’re an Airbnb success story; I rented a room in her house for one month and many months later she’s one of the closest friends I have.

I’m thankful for the time I had in the city; it was an incredible learning experience that both opened up new relationships to me and also solidified my belief that Vietnam is where I belong, at least as far as building a family and future go. SF will always hold a special place in my heart, though. I don’t think I’ve ever breathed anywhere else in the world like I’ve breathed in this city.