Anywhere. Anytime. Anyone. Anyplace.
It's Valentine's day. But, instead of agonizing over who you love, or think you love, or who you think loves or doesn't love you, today's a great day to broaden your love circle and focus on the people that actually love and support you all the time, no matter what. We have relationships with so many people that get overlooked and it's a great day to tell your friends, family, co-workers, and, of course, lovers, that you love them. This really should be done always and often.
An equally important and usually ignored area of love is self love and love of place. So, go ahead and fall in love, again, with who you are and where you are, no matter where or what that is.
I was recently reading an article about consciousness and started thinking about how your physical environment affects how you think and who you are. I think about this a lot. I love travelling and I most love living in other places for extended periods of time, but I also love having strong social relationships and that takes time to create and nourish. Thus, having been in San Francisco for over three years has started to make me feel a little down and out, despite my amazing friendships and social support. I keep looking up flights and planning my escape. Yet, while I do think it is extremely important to change environments to induce creative and personal growth, and I do think consciousness is tied to physical being, I also believe perspective is a powerful tool.
Place is stationary and not something anyone can control. I can't change the location of certain things, and especially not people, but appreciating that I have those things to visit and people to reach out to (through maybe a dozen ways thanks to the internet) is important. Even if I had a private airplane and could fly wherever I want on a whim, I still would feel torn between those places. I think it is mostly because different places bring out different pieces of myself.
I know part of my idea of myself is tied to the place where I am and I started to feel like I am not here or there and all these pieces of me are strewn out and being forgotten. I am different when I am physically in a different place. But, there's no reason I cannot bring all those experiences into where I am now. I'm not saying to live in the past, we all know how annoying that person is who goes on and on about what they did here and there, but instead reflecting on how I felt and what kind of person I was creating in those moments, in those other places. Because the fact is, if you have ever travelled, and especially if you have lived more than one place, sometimes there is probably somewhere else you think you'd rather be. Maybe there are people there that you miss, maybe you have a routine you got used to, maybe things just seemed better. Of course you cannot be in two, three, or four places at once, but you can concoct a recipe for feeling the way you did when you were there and to allow yourself to bring that with you no matter where you are.
And so I recently fell back in love with San Francisco, where I currently live and work. I made a conscious effort to appreciate my surroundings and enjoy my neighborhood. Visiting new neighborhoods or meeting tourists or recent transplants is a great way to do this. In doing so I fell back in love with myself. Last weekend I took a long stroll down Valencia, a street I used to leisurely walk down quite often, but as of late haven't had time to really enjoy. I ran into an old friend from Spain at my favorite book store and we had a long coffee chat. I remembered that I am spontaneous and fun to be around. The weekend before that I spent a whole day in Chinatown and North Beach and went to my favorite pastry shop, café, book store, bar, and little Chinese shops. I enjoyed reading a book at the bar and remembered how much I love being alone, amongst strangers. The other day I stopped into a new bar on my street and chatted with the bartender, who actually is a good friend, and then made new friends. I remembered how much I love to meet new people. This weekend I'm planning a bar crawl (including pika pika and karaoke, naturally) in Japantown with some friends. I will probably drink too much, be too goofy, make lots of random connections and end up singing silly songs with my friends, but I know I will be being myself and loving everything about it.
Everyday I take a second to focus on the beauty of Bernal Heights from the foot of my office building and then I look at the sky. No matter where you are on Earth, there is a sky above you and it is usually indistinguishable. I honestly have no idea where I took this photo of clouds. It could of been in my parent's backyard, in one of the many places I have lived or visited, or here in San Francisco. You could be anywhere, but you are here now, and once you fall in love with wherever that is, again (because I know you moved there for a reason) you will love yourself more. No more wishing on a star; stars travel fast and so can you, to that person you love to be, to a person you may have almost forgotten.