I used to write every day in my teens and twenties. Those records helped me work through the type of person I wanted to be. My thirties were in large part the result of what I worked through in words.
I haven’t written for a decade. Stuff happened. I chased a girl to California, hustled my way into a tech career, moved back to New York for a once-in-a-lifetime job, got married to the girl, moved back to California, bought a house, became a dad, started a company, shut down a company, and grew up.
Lost in the busy-ness is a clear sense of myself.
Here’s the rough outline of who I am. I’m an outsider. I was born in a Third World country, fled that country when I was four, and became a refugee when I was five. I have ghostly memories of that other life. I am nostalgic by nature. I grew up poor. I grew up wanting lots of things and feeling inadequate about most things. I went to Jesus camp most summers. I played in a church band. My family never took vacations. My dad collected garbage when he first came over. He was in the C-suite before. My mom left to work in another state to make ends meet while I was in high school. I was a good student, but never as great as my older brother. I studied philosophy at an Ivy League college, only to switch to finance. I became an investment banker, then through many years of searching, settled on a career in startups.
I’ve become someone my teenage self probably wouldn’t think very much of. The interesting thing is I still think very highly of that teenager. The idealistic one, the sensitive one, the creative one.
To be honest, it’s a lot easier to comment on a photo, jot down 140 characters and reblog. Writing these brittle words is a bit like making a house out of toothpicks, without glue. But I’m thinking it’ll get better. I’m curious to find out who this person is going to be on the other side.