Day 312 – People continuously ask me why I love San Francisco so much. Remember, I’m from South Carolina. People here aren’t familiar with the West Coast, much less the Bay Area. To compensate for their lack of exposure, many employ narrow-minded stereotypes of the region, and its people.
“That’s where those queers live,” they’ll say. Of course by “queer” they mean homosexual, an offensive term linked to intolerance. Ignoring its narrow-minded uses, let’s roll with the word queer for a minute.
I’ll admit San Francisco is queer. But, unlike those bound by the borders of the Mason-Dixon line, I can support my use of the word. I use queer to mean different and weird. San Francisco is an unorthodox place with a lot to offer. From what I’ve seen, it’s a place defined by much more than a particular demographic.
I love the city’s energy, creativity and drive. San Francisco radiates a queer kind of beauty. I love the restaurants, the bars and the street performers. Hell, I even love the public transportation.
Above all else, it’s the conversation I love most. San Francisco is a place full of innovators, thought leaders and personal friends. When you sit down and have drinks with these people, the discussion has a “let’s create ideas that change the world” feel.
Gossip is secondary to talk of real, meaningful ideas. Yeah, there might be an exchange or two about who’s screwing who or about our buddy who got the DUI last night, but the slam talk is kept to a minimum. Why? These people have better things to do with their time. They have bigger plans and bigger dreams—like changing the damn world.
And that’s exactly what they are doing. If you think one area hasn’t changed the face of our world in the past decade, you’ve obviously become a hermit. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a hermit. I’m sure it’s an extremely relaxing lifestyle. But it’s not what I’m after. I want to be part of all that energy, creativity and conversation. All I need to figure out is how. How do I target my passion and grow it? How do I, amidst all the work I’m already doing, figure out and execute a strategy for myself?
Over dinner tonight a female friend told me she’s going on a “focus journey.” At first I thought it sounded like some modern-aged hippy shit requiring LSD (or whatever the equivalent is these days). I had to ask what the hell she was talking about. She politely answered.
No, her focus journey doesn’t require a two-month trek into the wilderness or hypodermic needles. It’s more productive than that, and a lot simpler. She’s spending a couple weeks at home, brainstorming and figuring out her next move. Reflection, constructive self-criticism and positive introspection—these are just some of the stops on her focus journey. And it sounds like a good idea to me.
I think I’ll spend this week in San Francisco on a mini version of my friend’s focus journey. My team and I are been busier than ever. Whether we’re on opposite sides of the country or in the same office, we’re constantly pumping out amazing work. I literally go to bed at night and dream about the cool stuff we’re going to do tomorrow. But, after hearing of my friend’s focus journey, I’ve targeted our problem: we’re doing too much cool stuff.
I say it’s time to focus. It’s time to figure out what we’re really passionate about, what I’m really passionate about, line up the sights and absolutely kill it.
- Wesley Donehue
PS – Elizabeth says that our friend called this a “vision quest.” Vision quest, focus journey… same damn thing.