Bear with me because this is a picture of some killer sushi but I’m about to go a little off topic.
There was a time in my former life when the incredible Nobu Downtown in NYC was my stomping grounds. When I was killing it as a (miserable and) successful Wall Street attorney, I probably ate more meals there than anywhere else. It was a time in my life when, however unfulfilled, I mastered my territory. I knew my stuff. I was significant. I had expertise. And if there’s anything at all that I miss about that life – other than the endorphin high of closing a deal – it’s that.
Because, if you’ve followed my story at all, you know that a few years ago I made a conscious choice to leave the path of least resistance and that superficially perfect resume and life to start rewriting things from scratch. And no matter how many pretty pictures I post on Instagram or amazing meals I review here, it’s hard. The day to day reality is hard. And the mental process of it all is hard.
This week, toward that end, I was at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. I felt like the greenest girl in the room. And the other night, I had the amazing dinner in this picture at Nobu San Diego with an awesome group of people. The menu was familiar. The feel of the place was familiar. But my place at the table was a world away from Nobu New York, where I could comfortably lead any conversation. Instead I sat quietly. And listened. And realized yet again just how much I don’t know about this new world I’m tiptoeing into.
It was tough. And humbling. And the kind of thing that sets you into a brief spiral of insecurity that reminds you just how human you are. And because I’ve committed to being honest with each of you in this journey, I’m sharing it with you here.
It’s hard to start over. No matter how objectively smart you are. No matter how much you love learning new things. No matter (or especially?) how respected you were or how much expertise you had in the world that you left behind.
But then I woke up the next morning to a set of beautiful emails and DMs from people who have been touched in one way or another by this path I’m on and the fact that I’m sharing it. And I realized that the details will come. How much I’ve learned. That none of the tech stuff matters a lick so long as I continue to connect with each of you.
I tell you this because I want you all to know that it’s hard for me too. But I tell it to you under a picture of a fancy plate of sushi because I also want you all to remember just how much might be going on under the surface every time one of us posts a pretty picture that makes a given moment look more perfect than whatever your reality is. We are all human. We are all flawed. We all have more to learn. And that is the place that I will always choose to connect with each of you.
Still – I excuse each of us for usually sharing only the high notes of our lives. In a world before social media, we took our pictures of the vacations and the birthday parties and the happy moments. We staged family pictures where we all dressed up and gathered and smiled at the camera. We made conversation with all but our most trusted friends about the good stuff. The light stuff. We were not typically taking pictures by death beds or videoing arguments or writing post cards about laundry and grocery lists. To expect any of us to switch to regularly sharing the dull or imperfect moments or the emotional challenges or the secrets now that the potential audience is anyone on the planet is too much to ask of us.
So let’s forgive each other. Let’s stop complaining about the “fake lives” that we share on social media. Let’s just appreciate the beautiful moments that each of us takes the time to share – and embrace and encourage the rare moments when we have the courage to expose the raw stuff.
And let’s remember that when someone shares a toast with a lovely drink in hand, they might be celebrating a victory that you had no idea they were fighting for.
Cheers. And thank you.