#selfcarediaries2017 Day 294/October 20: I’m working security for Formula 1 this weekend. I’m exhausted, but this badass badge makes up for it. …Right? All joking aside, it’s not even just about extra money. I want to know more about this world, especially the big players in the game. I’d never otherwise get into these VIP spaces on my own current merit without some mild dealing with the devil. People-watching is pretty fascinating… at least on Day 1 of 3. ;) Shout-out to @katalinatx for the gig hook-up, and also to @brandbesties for how well they train and develop their brand ambassadors. Seriously so impressed with the backend communication they give each of their reps to enable them to bring their A-game for each customer with whom they interact. I worked side-by-side all day with a Brand Bestie for whom my best adjective for “attitude” would be “exemplary.”

#selfcarediaries2017 Day 290/October 16: “What purpose should a job serve in life?” A friend posed this question right before last weekend hit, and I’ve been pondering it ever since. Of course I’ve thought of this question a million times; I’m not sure I’ve ever spent a day in an office without it crossing my mind even a single time. 🤔 But this time around, my take on a response feels different. My “go big or go home” mentality definitely comes out in my career choices. Much as I love to travel, a certain part of me loved the masochism of never taking time off, of working 9-13 hours a day, of pushing through and Getting Shit Done. All that busyness made me feel like I was doing something meaningful – and sometimes it was. The only consistent guarantee I had, though, was that I was doing something Busy. Meaningful came from within; it grew out of the full attention, presence, and determination I put into my work. I spent a lot of time doing that Insta-lust thang – a popular pastime everywhere, but especially in NYC in winter. Beach scenes in Cinque Terre. Moroccan marketplaces. Anywhere But Here. Anything But This. I was and am an amazing daydreamer. I didn’t realize that, subconsciously, I was training myself to believe in the near future. The “photoshopped life” version of me I would be, where I’d indefinitely be in vacation mode. I quit corporate cold-turkey two years ago. Since then, I’ve picked up gigs. Flirted with going back. Applied, but could not stop thinking about the freedom I’d once again be trading for a paycheck. But at the root of it all, the allure of a job lay in not having to really answer the question, “What did you do with your day?”, especially to myself. It turns out the pressure to produce Meaning is even more intense when you strip away your most believable excuse. I was and am equally unmotivated to work on my own Passion Projects; but instead of being able to claim “I’m too busy,” I’m forced to be brutally honest: “I’m not making the time for this.” Maybe I fear failure; maybe I just don’t want to put in the work. So what role does a job play in a fulfilling life? Trick question: good or bad, it’s mostly irrelevant.

#selfcarediaries2017 Day 287/October 13: I’m starting to like my own company a lot. I’ve always had an unusual amount of alone time for an extrovert; on top of being homeschooled, I used to take an inter-city bus alone 90 minutes one-way to Taipei for violin lessons every two weeks, starting when I was 12. My alone time always happened around a crowd of strangers, however, and that’s my favorite way of being alone, perhaps a compromise between circumstances and personality: surrounded by strangers in some busy, bustling environment. I have a particular affinity for hotel lobbies (especially if I’m not staying there, tee hee hee). In New York, I loved working out of the Ace Hotel and occasionally, the Archer Hotel; in Austin, I favored Hotel Van Zandt. Lately, it’s been Upstairs at Caroline all the way – the new rooftop patio lounge on the second floor of the Aloft hotel downtown. While I feel a level of distaste for giant Jenga that doesn’t bode well for my sanity in this city of overgrown manchildren, I love most other things about it: the work-friendly tables, the drink aptly known as Bad Life Choices, the vibe. On Friday, I feel like I got a lot of life done. I used to get a lot of my personal administrative work done at work while on lunch break or whatnot, since I already was at my desk: I would answer emails, pay bills, generally knock out the chores that make American life function. Now that I [blissfully] spend much less time deskbound, I’ve discovered that I’m not the kind of person who actually makes a laptop eponymously functional; I’m far more effective if my computer is on a flat surface and I am facing it with my elbows supported. Something about that format tells my brain, “OK. We’re actually a little bit serious about this work session.” I like writing out my thought processes. It feels soothing and secure, like backing my brain drive in the cloud. Because if my thoughts are on metaphorical paper, they’re somewhere safe; I don’t have to carry them with me all the time, weighing on my mind. Writing makes me feel free. On Friday,

#selfcarediaries2017 Day 286/October 12: There’s something about this photo that I really love. In a way completely inexplicable to anyone but myself, it makes me think of Austin the way I saw it the first time I moved here in 2004. I was exhausted, bewildered, homesick, and jet-lagged. A very nice friend who also happened to be my landlord had picked up me and my two suitcases that held everything I was bringing into my new life on a continent far away from everyone I knew. I was so tired, I fell asleep on the relatively short drive from the airport to the apartment in West Campus, startling myself into wakefulness when we hit the stretch of Guadalupe that everyone calls The Drag. I sat up, looked out the window, and saw — not this exact scene, but something very similar – distinctly Austin: bright lights, jazz music, smelled coffee. Obviously, the streets weren’t nearly this busy back then, but for little country-mouse me, it looked and felt exactly like what I inadvertently captured in this picture. I’ve only felt deja vu this strongly one other time: last December, on a flying road trip passing through New Orleans for the first time. I was only there for a single night, but the nightlife on a Tuesday reminded me of Dirty 6th circa 2005. It felt like heaven, home, an opportunity for second chances. I love this image because it reminds me of how much I’ve grown in this city. I’ve been disillusioned and out of love with Austin for several years now, for intangible reasons that most likely are not its fault. But for all my discontent, I also know that this town is my home more than any other place I have ever called home in my life. Without it being exactly how it is, when it was, I would not be where I am today. I grew and matured alongside of Austin’s city limits, stretching my metaphorical limbs alongside its borders and pushing my comfort zones the way East Austin construction takes liberties with building codes. I’m such a different person these days, yet the emotions this image evoked brought me right back to that June night in 2004. So scared, so small, so clueless – yet so hopeful for new beginnings and the chance to finally be myself.