10 Years

June 1st, 2005 – June 1st 2015

10 Years. Hell of a run.

When I started, my beard resembled a mess of pubes glued to my face; now white hairs spike out from it (the beard, not my pubes). If you need a less hirsute way to appreciate the time span, think about this:

The best selling album of 2005 was by Mariah Carey.
The show Supernatural aired its 1st episode the same year.
David Letterman was still on television! (Crazy, I know.)
No one had even heard of an iPhone when 10 Cities / 10 Years began.

It’s, quite literally, a different world than it was in 2005.

I’ve been doing this a long time, long enough to feel simultaneously old yet fresh to the world. I’m relearning how to think about life in terms longer than year blocks, but I have no idea what sits ahead of me even a few months from now. I remain, to my core, a stranger.

Currently, I bartend, and I find myself listening with quiet bemusement as people rant confidently, definitively about this nation from the singular, narrow perspective of their hometown. As if the whole world could be seen from one window.

People ask me where I’m from, and I say Kansas, because, yes, technically that’s true. But when it’s said back to me – “Oh, he’s from Kansas!” I hear whenever someone mentions the Midwest – it rings false. “Kansas” (or any small state) is essentially code for “Inexperienced rube.” To city-dwellers it’s quaint; to hippies it’s idyllic. In reality, it was neither.

I grew up in Kansas, sure, but in a more accurate sense, I grew up in the United States. I discovered how to be on my own in Philadelphia. I learned how to survive famine in San Francisco. I found out how to recover from heartbreak in Nashville and then thrive on isolation in Boston. My perspective is not born of one town, one city, one state, but one country.

In that way, it’s still limited. The map is vast and I’ve only explored one corner of it.

Most people define themselves by where they’re from.

For a decade, I’ve defined myself by where I’ve yet to go.

I’m not done yet. My year in Brooklyn officially wraps at the end of August, meaning that there is still 3 more months until this project ends. And even then…

I’m not done yet.

I’m not done yet.

I’m not done…

Alex and I