“Like a death of the heart
Jesus, where do I start?
But you’re still the one pool where I’d happily drown.”
-LCD Soundsystem (suggested soundtrack)
The time has come, friends, for me to move on. It’s hard to put into words what the last couple of years have meant to me, both in returning to the home I’d once abandoned and in being able to share my thoughts on that home with all of you. As I’ve told every one of you who has reached out to share a beer or a few words throughout the run of “Born Here,” hearing from you, meeting with you, and finding out that there are those who not only grokked my words, but looked forward to them every two weeks, has been the most rewarding experience of my young life. But like all such experiences, it’s now time to pack it into a cherished memory and move on to what’s next.
You'll be glad to know that, while I'm once again leaving our enigmatic little city in the sky, unlike last time, I'm not doing it with any bitterness or resentment in my heart. I've always thought of Santa Fe as that old couch in your parents' living room. It's comfortable, it's familiar. It's yours in a way, but you didn't really pay for it. I have spent large chunks of my life just sitting on that couch (both literally and metaphorically), smoking joints, playing video games and waiting to grow up. But eventually, you have to get off the couch, go into the world and do things. And as I prepare to begin this next chapter of my life, I figured I'd leave you with a few personal wisdoms I've gleaned from the last.
The most important thing I learned from the last five years is the title of this column. In our society, where "anyone can grow up to be whatever they want," nobody would ever try to give that advice as a form of encouragement, but that's exactly how I mean it. It took me 28 years to realize that just because you "want" to be something doesn't mean you're qualified or, more importantly, that you'd even enjoy it. I always wanted to be a rock star. But I'm neither skilled enough nor committed to all the bullshit outside playing music with your friends that goes into making a rock star. Of course, this didn't stop me from half-heartedly following arbitrary steps that felt like they might lead me to that goal, for the better part of a decade.
My point is that, instead of having some grandiose vision of who or what you're "supposed to be," try just doing things for a while. My mantra over the last few months has been, "Do the thing." Don't think about the outcome or reward, don't hope you do a good job, just do the thing. Did you enjoy doing the thing? Shut up and do it again. Because if you do something that you love the act of doing, the results stop mattering. And suddenly, you're free.
The other thing I learned is to remove the word "forever" from my vocabulary. Of all the things you promised you'd never do in life, there is not one you won't try immediately, the moment you realize it might make you happy. So while I'm leaving, and I plan to do a lot of things before I return, don't think for a second I won't be back one day. That's how Santa Fe works. Eventually, we all come home.
Until then, thank you for this, my Dudes. And abide.