Thursday, January 23, 2014

Life in Tahoe

Like a fine wine life in Tahoe is sweet, well balanced, smooth with enough nuance to tease you to take a deep breath and let it wash over you before you have another sip. It is to be savored, not rushed.

We built then demolished a big Seahawk.
Despite the terrifyingly low snow total so far, I get to snowboard about 3 days a week. Whenever we get that iconic Tahoe storm I'm ready shred. In the meantime, I live/work in a very beautiful place. 

I've made friends here in town- people that make me want to be better, more interesting. Even so there are times that I feel a little lonely or far from home but then I think of you and the crazy things you were once willing to do for me. Maybe someday our paths will cross and we'll have another one of our moments. 

It's not always easy embracing new- there's tension and struggle in growth. Part of what happened this summer was an honest confrontation with the questions who am I and who do I want to me. Once you take the time to think on the differences in your answers to each, you can slowly bridge the gap between the two. 

I'm not sure when I'll be writing again in this blog- I have several other creative outlets that need more attention. 
I love to write but I hate letting people read what I've written. To anyone who has ever told me that they liked something on here: thank you. I needed that encouragement. Two stand out:
Where I play

-A friend of a friend read my marathon post and then mentioned it in passing. If you're reading this and thinking "wait was that me?" I never told you how much I admire your taste in music. Keep playing your jams so people like me can jot them down and try to impress people with your taste in tunes. 
-A girl who I briefly dated asked about a line I had written a year earlier. It wasn't creepy that you read all my old posts- it made me feel closer to you. 

Some closing thoughts: 
-Someday soonish I want to buy a house somewhere on the border of ghetto and chic.
-People seem to assume that friendships just "happen" but romantic relationships need a lot of work. The truth for both seems to be somewhere in the middle. Tell more people you care about them. 
-The gap between the haves and have nots is growing very quickly. Don't take for granted how much you have. 
New Year's Eve at Snowglobe
-Sometimes you love people before you've ever met them, sometimes you have to build something with a person to be able to see yourself through his/her eyes. Both have value.

Hopefully the next piece of writing that you read of mine is my book.
Until then- be in touch,

Monday, October 28, 2013

Final Post From The Summer 2013 Road Trip

My car is covered in snow, it's safe to say that the summer is over.
In a very poetic turn of events: Monsieur Bianco was both the first person I saw when I left Boston AND the last person I saw before I started my new job 4 months and thousands of miles later.

Before the remaining "things I asked my hosts" questions- I want to express how grateful I am for everyone that helped make my summer adventure happen the way that it did. Thank you/gracias/merci beaucoup. This summer wouldn't have been the same without (If I leave anyone out I'm sorry) in chronological order:
My parents, Mediastruction, Chris B, Jana, Dan W, SJB-Fartky, Erica Schneider, Erin Sullivan, Ian Az, The Airborne Toxic Event, Lisa Lerner and her lovely roommates, Maya,
Tyler, My Uncle Moose, Daniel Sanderson and his posse in Arizona, two plus two, ASPRING (also Lauren Fitz, Alex and Joey), Jason and Katie McCoy, Alisha/Chrisa/Nick, Mike Cohen and Ashley soon-to-be-Cohen as well as their whole UVM squad, Jenny Simler (Thug-las-Doug-las, Nancy), My Uncle Art, Max, Matt and everyone who gave me encouraging phone calls at some point. I owe all of you and hope you'll come to Tahoe and let me tour guide/host/snowboard lesson for you.
EDIT: Super big thanks to Jenna and Janice!

Questions from road #3-4: biggest regrets and happiest moments.
Most people see regret as "now that I know how_____ went, I wish I had done something differently." That isn't regret, it's learning. Regret is born in a moment of "I know I should do X but it scares me so I'm going to do Y." Those are the decisions you have to have to what-if at some point later.

Answers included:
-Letting an opportunity slip away
-Not saving more money
-None (x2, x3,x4, x5 ("I learn from the bad" was enthusiastically spoken from the fifth person))
-Not listening to myself enough, not trusting my instincts
-Getting "carried away"
-Not embracing my full self earlier
-Not moving in with my sister
-Not staying in touch with old friends
-Not following an athletic dream (x2)
-Cheating on someone

From that it seems like if we do what feels right and take chances there won't be any new regrets. You'll have nothing but moments of full hearted happiness such as:

-In 2006 spending time with a girl I thought I'd marry
-Traveling (taking a big chance.) Family time
-Summer between junior/senior year of college (a girl was involved)
-Back in college town, not worrying about what comes next
-The feeling of independence I had on my flight to Hungary
-It keeps getting better: my happiest moment is in the future (x2)
-Helping people
-Physical bliss
-Getting lost in music (x2)
-Fam vacations, road tripping
-Traveling. Moments that validate my past choices
-An after party. Everyone had left except my best friends and we stayed up talking for hours
-A specific round of mini golf

So that's it for being on the road. What have I learned? Take chances and try not to get in your own way. Love without fear. Talk to strangers and try to learn as much as you can from them- especially older people. Different is beautiful. Wanting to be multiple places at once is a good problem. Going back to Boston with FCGS will always feel right. Life is created by who you are- what you give out is what you get back. Social media is great for staying connected but never gets you closer than arms length. Not taking risks is itself a massive risk. Home is a feeling, not a place.

For the forseeable future I'm employed at Heavenly, living in Zephyr Cove NV, doing my snow dance (and reading, Keep Tahoe Blue!), teaching my body to run at altitude, working on my book. Speaking of which- this winter I'm looking for people to help me cover more ground on editing. I'd like a few people hold be accountable, perhaps implement some kind of embarrassing punishment or charity donation for falling behind and not sending monthly chapters along for review. Shoot me an email if interested.

Keep Tahoe in mind if you're planning a ski/spring/summer. It's a special place.


Monday, October 14, 2013

So this is what it feels like to get exactly what you want

J Simler recently asked what makes me mad. Best answer I could think of was apathy
A human life has too much potential to be wasted on things we have to/don’t want to/hate doing so we can have "enough" stuff and experience the occasional distraction. Don't be like that. 
I hope anyone who feels lost or scared or confused can look for and find:
-the open-mindedness try many new things until you find a few that make you very happy. 
-the courage and boldness to take any risks and go after what you want (even if no around you is doing the same.)
-the patience to realize it doesn't happen immediately.
-the resolve to keep trying until your life is full of everything that you love and very little else. 

Oh, hey there soon to be new hometown. Fancy seeing you here.
For those who didn’t receive any anxiety filled “please keep my mind occupied” phone calls: the past few weeks I’ve been interviewing for a Marketing Coordinator position at Heavenly in Tahoe. In my months of wandering, this is the only job I’ve wanted. I was offered it and accepted this AM. 
I’m flying back to Boston tonight to hang with family and friends and get my snowboarding gear. I want to see everyone so if you’re around, holler! 
Come to Yarden's party at Back Bay Social on Friday. I'll be brunching (typical Jesse move) on Saturday, place TBD.
If you're not around during the weekend, let me know and we'll figure something else out. 

Excited/embarrassed/tired looks like this
The job is right in my wheelhouse: social media/website stats/ad coordination and event (cough, x games qualifiers and winter olympic parties, cough) logistics.
The pro’s of working in Tahoe are silly good: I’ll get to snowboard the best mountains in the West Coast (and golf all summer) there’s a poker room near the office, yoga studios, the best running trails in the country, a creatively stimulating environment to work on my book. 
Anyone who wants to come visit is encouraged. Not sure my housing situation yet, but there will be room for an airbed/futon.

South Lake Tahoe is much smaller than New York or Boston or San Francisco but winter+summer tourism drive the local economy so the town is full of big city perks: various ethnic restaurants, art galleries, theaters and casinos. Also- it's stunningly beautiful

I look back and am humbled by the circumstances that led to this: interning at NBC, working at Mediastruction, volunteering at Operation Snowsports, leaving Boston to travel, having my uncle’s crash pad in San Francisco, having some unwavering support and the financial flexibility to take a pay cut. 

Enough bragging. Three more goals/unrelated thoughts:

I want to ask for advice from more elderly people. They've been around and seen/done/thought more than I have. 
The things we care about are going to change constantly so I need to quit chastising people for caring about different things than I do.
Yesterday was a damn good day for Boston sports. I'm excited to get to catch a sox/pats game with papa Jon and FC Greenstorm. 

Cue the "congrats Jesse" that this post is fishing for. I hope I get to congratulate you on getting exactly what you want sometime soon. 

Much love,

Friday, September 27, 2013

Places You Can Live (Also, Assorted Thoughts)

Hi People,
I realize, only now that summer is turning to fall and my bags will be packed again soon, how comfortable I've gotten in a relatively short time in San Francisco. For now I'll savor this wonderful feeling of home, then I'll be crossing my fingers that whatever works out next is even better.

In the second installment of questions asked to hosts we have "What is your favorite thing about where you live?"
Generally, East Coast answers seemed to be about the people and West Coast answers often described things you can do outside.
I'm surprised that general city perks- restaurants, museums, jobs, were never mentioned. Answers in red were genuine to the respondent but could have been from anywhere. Any guesses as to what comment goes with what place/person are welcome. From East to West we had:
-Easy place to be proud of being from. People are become somebody here, we're a city based on excellence. 
-"Absolutely nothing" muttered a drunk girl at a roulette table. We (E Sullivan and I) prodded her further, "the sports teams I guess." Spoiler alert: This one was Cleveland.
-(The city as a whole has) The coolest people
-Comfortable, easy going
-Tons of outdoor public space
-Unique heritage of larger than life characters
-Antelope Canyon
-Sunsets and sunrises
-Close to traveling outdoors
-The sun
- Enjoying life outside, being active. The social lifestyle. 
-The beach!
-The big town with small town closeness
-The difference between day and night
-The wide spectrum of people: weird/f'd up to caring/loving

A big part of picking a place to live comes from noticing who is around. If not who then take a look at how strangers act towards each other.  How does the average person carry himself How noisy is it?
Everyone in San Diego seems really healthy and fit- which makes you want to run and stretch and floss and eat more vegetables. San Fran people make it easier to pick up a book in public, not shave for a day week month, meditate in a park. The New York I remember is full of people so focused you want to heroically climb up the ladder and be rich and famous and have a table reserved at all the trendiest restaurants.

Thinking about the identity of where you live makes it easier to try to find a meaningful answer to the big q: who are you? 
When you strip away your job and your house and your stuff and your friends and how many push ups you can do and your favorite restaurant and the books you've read and the secrets you've kept, who are you?

-In trying to answer this question, I accidently started to take responsibility for my own happiness.

-There are a bunch of things that make us who we are: the things we love (and hate), the choices we make that no one else will ever realize we made, the things we laugh at when no one is listening.

-I keep finding mini meanings but not yet that big one that doesn't take any external motivation.

-When you listen to your gut and it leads you to a weird place that's not a failure- that's practice. My life has been very strange lately and I wouldn't change a thing about it- those tough days are just practice too.

-When words won't suffice a strong enough tool to communicate, we use feelings and beauty to describe the world. When I tell you I miss you- do you know what I mean?

-There will be lots of balls that someday we wish we had started rolling earlier. What can you get started on today that you'll thank yourself later? Investing towards retirement? Working out? Learning a new language?

-If I keep typing it will be about Breaking Bad, I'll save that for next time. 

Have a good weekend. Snapchat me a picture of some leaves changing colors or something.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Got Bored In Oakland, Wrote This (Poem?)

The street bucks black and bustles. Men brush “dirt off their shoulders” and I wonder why they don’t choose clean shirts. People don’t write poetry any more so don’t dare call this a poem. Maybe I’m a creation or a distraction- a love note or a fraction of a way to get off computers and phones- the old city groans. 

What if we've been alive forever and we lost track of the time?
I saw a future where I'm 30 and I turn to you and say "Let’s run out of here and go everywhere." You laugh, but I’m all serious when I promise to go with you. There’s mischief in the moon tonight; I ache to learn what makes you nervous.
I’ve pondered and wandered, yonder and farther in June’s hot NY breezes and July’s trees and teases. August was a wheel around, now it’s September and how can I write right and make the wind blow you to my side tonight? 
The country I love is one where our work works and we sing long songs around a bonfire that burns off love and never needs sleep or food. Been out over-thinking that I’m over out-thinking how it’s taken a long time of riding the wrong line to find the light wine that makes my rhymes fine.

There’s a spot under your glass of MaCallan where the table’s empty and no less places to be than ideas of how to get you there. Your wit is cunning and you style so stunning. Your banter has a way of turning sexual and I selfishly hope every word is wearing a disguise to hide that it’s actually all about me.

As these warm summer days set slowly orange we’ll pat each other on the back and say “good game” as we promise the next time we’ll meet very differently. 
Then the sky is still again. Won’t you stay here my friend? You took a hard left and bamboo shoots fell from your hair. Carried by the wind they splintered across the road, lost as we were half-nude and drenched in firelight. 
What looks like a freak out might just be shedding (which I’m happier with than treading.) 
Everyone who went to NYU is a little bit hipster.

Blog Savers: 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

PFR #7: Fears/Potentials

Hi from San Francisco,
As anyone at all involved in fantasy sports knows, it's the first week of football season. Yesterday, before the next few bunch season's worth of Sundays are spent on couches and in sports bars, we had a SundayFunday skateboarding and playing disc golf, watching Breaking Bad and getting heated over Settlers (of Catan) too many dumplings and just the right amount of everything else.

For anyone looking to start their (Jewish) New Year with some good Karma, I have three friends doing awesome fundraisers:
-Sam Reed is raising $ for her students- and they are in the hood so they can use every penny. She's a sweetheart and I'm sure a great teacher.
-Kev Aries is doing the Jimmy Fund walk and his muscles are so big and beautiful I can't say no to anything he asks.
-Paul Penczner  is doing the New York Marathon in support of the Innocence Project. So proud of you Paul!
If you've got a few dollars around, click a name and pat yourself on the back. Anyhoo...

All summer I've been asking my hosts a series of questions including "What is Your Greatest Fear?" Before they answer, people usually ask why or what's yours. I'll get both out of the way before I start word dumping.
Why-  As interesting as I find the literal question, I was asking  friends to reveal themselves, to answer a subquestion of "who are you?" without letting them identify this idea of self with a job or an address or a car. Silly people give silly answers, over-thinkers give a whole pile of answers and follow up answers. However a person answers, it would help me adjust my ensuing questions on the questionnaire. Originally I was hoping there would be common fears that my friends-regardless of location- share and others that were West coast fears or male fears or other specific types of fear. In college I studied research psychology and creative writing so asking these questions might be a thing I trained myself to do.
Confronting fear and embracing uncertainty are part of an ever-evolving person. How each person deals with their fears and insecurities is part of being an adult or whatever you want to call it.
Some people don't do anything that they fear and that's a huge bummer. I believe that we choose our own attitude about confronting our fears (but I might have just stolen that idea from reading Victor Frankel) and that in moments of fear- when our guard and ideas of who we "should" be fall down- we reveal who we are.

What's Mine? Greatest fears are asterisked. Thing's I'm afraid of include:
-It will turn out I'm entitled and never really earned/amounted to anything by myself. 
-Good things changing so fast I don't have a chance to realize it's time to hang on tight. 
-People thinking I'm boring/annoying.
*Snapping out of my life like it was a dream or a drug trip and now I'm someone else in a new reality.  Google metaphysics, I'm afraid of any example you find there. 
*Losing my parents.
-Being that guy when I'm 40 (You know: the one who is hitting on young girls in dive bars, renting a shitty apt,  telling himself how cool he is while wondering what the meaning of his life will be.) 

What have other people said?
Please note that most of my friends are white, college educated, employed in a office environment, living in a city, so generalizations aren't meant to be representing all or even most people.

The most common fear I've heard is "not living up to my potential" in which potential usually refers to a job: how high up the corporate ladder I can climb or never starting my own company or not making enough money. About half the people I've asked said they fear not being as successful as they perceive their potential allows. Interestingly, people have a hard time drawing a line and saying "$X salary would be enough" or "_____ is what success looks like for me."
I worry that this vague idea of success is a moving line and every time we get a raise or get promoted or accomplish something we raise our idea for what is enough success. If we keep advancing the line of where our potential could lead is, we will never actually meet that goal and we will realize our own greatest fear. Write your goals down- they can't run ahead taunting you if they are fixed to a piece of paper.

Related to that is the many people who said "letting down my friends/family" where in addition to the professional implications there are fears of losing touch or not being there when somebody needs you.

Others have been all over the place:
Dying Alone, Losing My Father, Leaving Behind a Mangled Body, Parallasis, Pregnancy (that was a guy), Rats, Scary Dogs, Getting Murdered, Abandonment, Feeling Trapped, Giving in to Outside Pressure, Kidnapping, Humiliation, Heights, Losing Someone I care about, Poison, Loneliness, Having My Past Catch Up To Me.

What are your fears?

This pic has nothing to do with fear, it's just my favorite from San Diego last week. 
Two years ago I wrote a post struggling to identify myself between ideas of "artist" and "businessman" because I'm not either. I realized- in a daydream- if I had to drop in a category like these:  I'm an existential romantic. I like the bright side and expect big things out of my friends. I want to travel and write and push people to be happier and live more authentic lives.
For a while there, I had gotten out of touch with my reckless abandon. In certain ways I think I've intentionally numbed myself down into a more expected, uninteresting version of myself. This summer has taught me how important it is to do more of the things that you love and less of everything else. I'm afraid of forgetting that.

Friday, August 23, 2013

PFR#6: Repeat As Desired

Happy Friday (or whatever day you're reading this),
I've been in California for a month? That happened quickly. For those looking at a map, I'm in San Diego- back up to San Fran next week through mid September. Cali life is good; full of making new friends, bonfires, reading, learning to longboard, yoga, coffee shops.
Alisha, Yoshi, and I took a trip to Tahoe last week. Before that Derek and I took a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, through Big Sur, camping along the coast.

I lucked my way into a Sublime (with Rome) concert. People in Cali sure like Sublime. People on the East Coast do but not in the same prideful way. As good as the show was, the new kid is not Bradley. Those are massive shoes to fill and there's nothing he could do differently but there was an elephant in the crowd. Sublime was going to be the next big thing and it isn't quite the same anymore. This happens (David Foster Wallace) and is happening (Glee) over and over with genius entertainers. Too often the genius to create art comes at the cost of being able to live a normal life.
Speaking of music (Brag Alert) I'm heading to my second Airborne Toxic Event concert of the summer tonight in the OC then camping by the ocean.

Random Things Not Quite Worthy of a Blog:

-"The morning after the night before."
-It makes me really happy when things effortlessly come together.
-It feels different to learn something new (instead of more of the same) because it lets us evolve as people instead of specialists.
-Maybe your 20s are about creating self instead of finding self. What is it we would find anyway, and how would we know when we'd found it? Things you create (or at least personally experience) resonate on a more genuine wavelength than things you learn 3rd hand. I enjoy conversations about things that people have done/felt/realized more than when a person regurgitates something that sounded "right" when they heard it on TV.
-My friend Bob once gave me credit (probably too much) for the effort I put in to keeping relationships alive. Those efforts have paid off big time: a few weeks ago I had a Sangria showdown against one of my closest friends from middle school and the judges included my old next door neighbor and my roommate from Israel. 

-Something interesting I heard in a Freakanomics podcast. People are quick to use absolutes as labels. If someone is honest every day for 30 years and tells one lie, they are now a liar and there is nothing they can do to go back. Despite its linguistic correctness liar isn't a fair assessment of that person's moral compass. In a more morbid sense: Life has to win everyday, death only has to win once.
-You have a vivid dream and wake up. What if when we die, it's like waking up from a dream and there's a new reality, and after that another one, and another one? If this- that you would get to do it all again- was the case, how would you live differently?

There's one month left in summer, stop reading and go do the thing you've wanted to do all summer. 
-Cue the haters: I bought a longboard which I can't wait to unleash on Golden Gate Park with Mr. Mike Cohen. Wow has skateboarding come a long way: