I’ve been living in San Francisco for 2 months now. I moved in on the sixth year anniversary of the death of my late husband, July 25th. My address here includes the numbers of both of our birthdays. Is this a synchronicity? Maybe. The thing about life is we only have 20/20 vision in the rearview mirror. The windshield ahead can sometimes reflect stormy weather and the road can be obscured, but still we move forward with the belief that it will all work out somehow. Other times the sky is clear and the road ahead is easy to navigate.
Steve Jobs put it this way:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
– Stanford commencement speech 2005
I’ve made new friends in my building and have people to spend time with without having to actually go anywhere, and I am getting involved in the community in many ways. I will be volunteering at the de Young and the Legion of Honor in the near future and will post about the new programs they are offering to get more people involved in the art world. I’m especially looking forward to working on the annual display of artwork-inspired floral installations celebrating the summer season with fresh flowers that mirror works in the permanent collection. Now in its 39th year, Bouquets to Art offers new ways of engaging with the permanent collection.
I do love being back in the city even though it is riddled with problems that have a long and unsolved history. I am interested in working with a program called The Tipping Point that has invested nearly $350 million for housing, early childhood, education, and employment solutions in the Bay Area. Apart from donating my time I am interviewing for full time jobs as my company Ocean SF is on pause as the cost of both labor and materials have impacted my manufacturing and product development functions. However, I still have inventory and am taking orders on my website at oceansf.co and we will be at some key trunk shows in the next few months. My plan is to find a General Manager that is skilled in the textile and clothing industry to develop new products and market them. This is slated for the spring, so that we can continue our summer Internship Program to grow and develop young leaders and entrepreneurs. I spent months teaching young people the fundamentals of business, but the most important aspect of the program is the leadership development assessments I did and the coaching I offered to guide my interns as they choose careers and work environments that will best suit their natural talents. I feel the work I do with them will be impactful for years to come. This is something I will continue even as I relinquish most functions of the business to a General Manager and their team.
Other developments include a book that I will be included in about Inspiring Women. It’s hard to believe when we are in the trenches that we could possibly inspire anyone, but I think I was able to demonstrate that you can be strong and set your course and achieve a great many things. In the early days of this part of my journey I was interested in sailing, so the metaphors in my head that kept me on track were from my sailing certification training such as; setting my course, navigation is key, and the destination is not to be reached in a straight line, it’s a zig zag. For non-sailors you have to tack to get somewhere. My favorite was the idea that by sailing downwind at 135° off the wind, you can sail much faster than the wind. The velocity can be over twice as fast compared to sailing directly downwind, but you can feel like you are not moving all. And, so it is with life, there were many periods where I was working very hard, but getting nowhere it seamed. In the end I did get somewhere. I raised my daughters, started a successful business, kept many people employed during the pandemic, trained a dozen interns and have shepherded hundreds of people though leadership training at UC Berkeley, plus I taught a ton of kids to read!
This is not the way I thought my life would turn out, but I am following “the plan” or to be more exact I am “willing” to follow the plan. Since I don’t sail as much as I used to I think more of the trajectory of my life now like a computer program or a flow chart. I take one thing at a time in a logical flow. For those of you who have not worked in programing the decision box is in the shape of a diamond. At these junctures in the flow chart a decision must be made based on logic. I make these decisions as they arise in the program and then move on to the next box in the flow. I know that I’ve not quite landed exactly where I need to be yet, but like Steve Jobs I have faith that it will all come together and all of the dots with connect in the future.
Now, I sit in my quiet living room on a Sunday afternoon listening to music and writing. I spent the morning walking through the Museum of Modern Art on 3rd and Howard Street. I have time now to read articles about Globalization. I can even consider taking the time to read the ambitious book, The End of the World Is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization by Peter Zeihan. Reading such a book for fun was an impossibility in the past. Today, at the museum the words of Diego Rivera so ahead of his time with an intricate understanding of politics, people and government mirrored what Zeihans research reveals and what we are seeing today in the US and Mexico. For the first time in a very long time I have the luxury of an afternoon to simply think about what I have learned and to explore the many things that I am curious about. This to me is true luxury.
My life is far from perfect but to borrow from the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche I am embracing my fate and making the most of the opportunities and the time I have here. It is why I prescribe to the idea of amor fati (translated as love your fate) a Stoic mindset that uses obstacles and adversity to create a fire that fuels our own potential. It is the belief that you make the best out of what happens treating even the most difficult moments as something to be embraced, not avoided and to love it and be better for it.
The great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche would describe his formula for human greatness as amor fati—a love of fate. “That one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backwards, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it….but love it.”
As I move through this period of my life I am embracing my fate and I only seek to be useful and to use my skills, and experience in a way that will do the most good. As I seek out new opportunities to learn and grow and share my wisdom I am also observing this beautiful city and the many layers and textures that make it such a wonderful place to call home, because I really do feel at home here.
Love and blessings.