I had the pleasure of spending the last six weeks listening to up to ten incredible speakers a day share the trajectory of their careers; their failures, and their successes. And now, on a rainy twenty-sixth of July, everything has come to an anti-climactic halt, like a car that has run out of gas on a trip with no destination. My insides match the weather - stormy, crying, purple, warm - but the flashes of lightning are reminders that there runs a current that cannot be dulled, dimmed, contained.
I am not yet ready to leave New York, but need to be with my family desperately. What I hope to bring back home to them is the spirit of ability and possibility - something I have been surrounded by in my time here.
Some things I have learned:
- It is possible to be extremely rich and overflowing with peace and happiness. The nice suit and car look incredible with a happy family to match.
- Continue to fall in love with what you love, even if it is many things and people say you are unfocused. Make it work.
- We are all storytellers.
- Sometimes in life we have to use the first person in recounting experiences, but in truth, nothing we do is accomplished alone.
- Hire your boss.
- Follow your curiosity.
- Advance cultural conversation.
- Show, don’t tell.
- It is ever so important to write handwritten thank you notes.
- You need to know why it matters, why it is you do what you do.
- If you’re offered “a great something”, say yes - figure out the rest later.
- If it’s not from inside you, it will not be alive. Don’t do it.
Thank you to everyone that helped me find my way here. For those that don’t know the story, I made my way into graduate school without having been an undergrad - and am told it is the first time this has been done in the program’s Columbia University history.
I would not be here had I not been loved thoroughly, and though in our lives it sometimes takes piecing types of attention together to feel complete - a lover, a mentor, a student, a best friend, a parent, a coach, sibling, stranger, admirer - I am overflowing with gratitude that somehow I have been able to hoist upwards on all of your shoulders to reach my best me, today.
To the people I have spent my Summer with, I wish you all Kristin Kliemann buckets of success. From twinkling eyes and heart-swelling laughter, mind-blowing lunch conversations and irreverent side comments, picklebacks and toddler-sized pizza slices, to the strange unifying feeling of being both completely in and out of control of our lives all at the same time - I pray you all recognize and constantly remember your value, and set the world on fire with it.
And maybe that way, years from now, we’ll be as happy and fulfilled as Christopher Cerf, as well-dressed as Chris Mitchell, and have a better grasp of what, indeed, Gottlieb would do.
It’s been a blast.
On to the real World Room.