familiar places, fresh spaces.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I'm a firm believer that one of the inevitable things you will experience in your twenties is the process of moving. Usually this comes in the form of literally moving, out of your hometown, back to where you went to college, in with a significant other -- your twenties will most likely be marked by stacks of cardboard boxes and hard decisions about which bits and pieces of your life to keep, and which to toss away.

And when you move, you are often faced with a lot of unfamiliarity. You have to begin the long transition towards acclimating to your new environment, your new community, your new "home." Sometimes this process is exciting, fresh, and well-needed. Other times it is difficult, draining, and depressing. I'm not exactly sure what causes which, and I would guess it's usually a mixture of both of these extremes. And hopefully over time, your new home becomes your "home" home, at least until you are faced with a new place to move to.

I have utilized this blog many times to process through the practice of making the unfamiliar, familiar. It's been something I noticed I struggled with early on, even from the experience of starting college in an unfamiliar environment, without a preset community. It followed me as I traveled abroad, as I moved to LA for graduate school, and towards Northern California for a new full-time job.

And now, I find myself in the unusual predicament, where the place I have moved to isn't unfamiliar. In fact, it's one of the most familiar places in my life. It's my home.

Coming back to the Central Valley felt bittersweet, in every sense of the word.

I was going through with something I had despised for a long time. I had sworn to myself that when I left Dinuba, that I wouldn't find myself back in five years. In fact, I had assumed that my time in the Central Valley was over. It was a great place to grow up, but I'm glad I'm not living there anymore, I would tell my friends. I felt a growing bitterness with the inevitable fact that I had to come home -- where else was I going to go? And then came the sweetness of coming back to someplace familiar...somewhere with streets I recognized and stores I memorized. Someplace where I saw faces I knew, and sights I remembered from growing up. The taste of fresh summer fruit, the sounds of the Farmer's Market downtown, everything felt familiar and oddly sweet.

For the first time in my life, I'm not faced with the task of making the unfamiliar familiar. In place of this practice I've known so well, I'm now looking at familiar places with a fresh outlook. Taking something I know like the back of my hand, and breathing fresh air upon it as a new season continues to unfold.

Recently, my coworkers and I moved into our new office space in Downtown Fresno.

We've been working out of a small office unit in Bitwise South Stadium, on the outskirts of downtown. As our team grew, we also quickly outgrew the space, and spent a particularly warm Friday last week moving all of our gear, office furniture, and odds & ends over to the TW Patterson Building, right off of Fulton Street.

Even throughout the long day of hauling around boxes, loading cars, and driving back and forth from the old office to the new one, there was a unique energy among the team. It felt like although our work wasn't changing and our day-to-day tasks were staying the same, we were getting a breath of fresh air that would energize and rejuvenate us.

Walking into the completed "den," as we refer to it, on Monday morning felt like I was coming home. It felt like nothing at all had changed, and yet something new and fresh was among us as well. It was an awesome experience to be a part of, and I feel grateful each and everyday for this opportunity to work alongside such incredible people and in such a wonderful organization. They have made this transition back into a familiar place so energizing, as they have provided a fresh space for me to learn and grow.

It's looking like my stay in the valley is going to be for the foreseeable future.

If you would have told me that fact a few months ago, I would have probably groaned and complained in response. It would have caused me anxiety, fear, and restlessness over the fact that I'm back here again. But now, as this familiar landscape has been flooded with fresh spaces among the recognizable landmarks and street signs, I breathe a sigh of relief. I am thankful for the opportunity to come home, and embrace the freshness that it is offering to me. The same way a change of scenery in your office at work can energize you to complete a project, these fresh spaces have given me a new outlook on returning to a familiar place.

In my heart, this feels like the fresh beginning of a unique season of my life.

Where the breath of fresh air fills the spaces between familiarity and comfort, where things past are things past and the things ahead are unknown and filled with possibility. A season where the harvest has come, as the drought is over, where the autumn leaves fall to the ground only to recognize and respect the coming seasons and what it will bring – what it provides to this earth and it's people.

It is a season to give thanks, and turn my gaze towards what is ahead.

And good God...there are big things ahead.

Respectfully submitted,

PS: If you want to watch a vlog that goes along with this post and highlights some of the move to our new den downtown, click here!