Looking back, moving forward

A photo of my Harley and I taken by my friend Katie.
I've been back in the bay for over a year now. Almost a year and a half if you're rounding up. When I think back to where I was a few summers ago it seems like a damn different lifetime.

Since moving back to California last year I've been working as a designer for Nextdoor. Having only really worked for bigger companies as a part of very large teams, it was exciting to join a company of only about a hundred people. My co-workers at Nextdoor are as talented as they are passionate and I've learned an incredible amount working with the design team there. Nextdoor's mission is something I can line up behind and is something that I know that people I work with value as much as I do.

When I first left Alden, NY to attend the University of Washington in Seattle as an undergraduate, I didn't have a fucking clue what I was getting myself into. I graduated from high school with a class of around 100 students and grew up in a town with a residency of around 10,000. UW on it's own has an undergraduate population of almost 45,000. In the snap of a damn finger I moved across the country without knowing a single person to attend a school I knew very little about that had more than four times the number of students than my hometown had residents.

Looking back, I still think that was the single best decision I have ever made. I absolutely loved UW, and I still do. I loved the things that I learned, the people I met, and the person I grew into. One of the main reasons I became an RA at UW was because I wanted to do as much as I could to ensure other students had as great of an experience as I did when I first started there. I loved UW enough that I returned years later to pursue a master's degree.

I met the greatest friends that I will ever know for the rest of my life there. Friends who I could call on today and who would do whatever I asked of them if they knew I really needed help. Friends who I would bend the fuck over backwards for if they ever needed me.

I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am right now. My job is great and I learn something new there every day. My parents have always been and will always be my wisest counsel and greatest champions. The man my little brother has grown into and the mark he is leaving on the world as a teacher fills me with the greatest fucking pride.

My co-workers are passionate and smart and talented and I feel privileged to not only work alongside them but to also call them my friends. Oakland, the place I've called home for the past year, has also been a great surprise. I never imagined when I was cheering for the Oakland Raiders as a kid with my Dad that this might be a city where I would someday live. My very first and best dog was a black lab, Raider, who was named after the football team. Maybe that was a sign (if you believe in that sort of shit) that this was always meant to be a place where I ended up for a while.

The past year has had a lot of ups, but it's also had its downs. My grandfather passed away in July after living all the way to 100. He lived through two world wars and the great depression and god damn if that doesn't put things into perspective. He also raised 8 children, the youngest of which is my father. I miss him and my Grandpa DelVecchio a lot, but I never for a second take for granted the things that they taught me or the time I was able to spend with them both.

I don't know what the next year will bring, fucking nobody does. I do know however that despite the choices I've made and all the fuck ups I've caused, that in the end shit always turns out OK. Sometimes it's hard to find the good that's buried in the bad, but even if you can't always see it in the moment it's still there somewhere waiting for you to discover it. I always try hard to send the good out. Even though it doesn't always get sent back, it still feels good at the end of the day knowing that I fucking tried. In the end, the love you take is equal to the fucking love you make.

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A photo of my Harley and I taken by my friend Katie.