In his 2005 commencement address to Stanford University, he said “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
To live a life of your choosing, to live a life no one thinks is the “right” life, to live a life NOT listening to other peoples “noise” is more important today than it was yesterday. Now, more than ever, we need free thinkers, we need creators, we need leaders. Real leaders, not managers. We have plenty of followers and the folks behind Occupy Wall Street are doing a fine job of picketing the managers and the followers. They are leading a different revolution. And God bless ‘em for doing it.
Think for yourself and be yourself. Become your own personal revolution. You may end up rolling snake eyes at every turn, or you may not. It’s more important to try, fail, try again, rinse and repeat as necessary. But when your time comes, and rest assured it will, are you going to be able to say to yourself, “I’ve lived a full life, the way I wanted to”?
Recently I moved in with my new girlfriend. We’ve only known each other a short time, but for us, it doesn’t seem that way. I can say that I am in love with her and it feels different. It is that indescribable feeling where things just fit and feel natural. Like I’m home, I mean really home. That’s not to say there haven’t been, and won’t be, dust ups, there have been and there will be. We’re pretty similar people with a propensity for misinterpretation and misunderstanding, but for the first time in a very long time, I don’t think dust ups will be a deal breaker.
Do you know that feeling that you get when you find your favorite t-shirt or pair of jeans and they fit perfectly just feel comfortable and right? It’s a lot like that.
Some will ask “Well, how did you meet her?” My answer to that is…we met the old fashioned way. I saw her across a crowded subway car and followed her as she exited at her stop. Coincidently, it was mine too. As we walked up out of the subway station, I introduced myself. She looked at me and dropped her purse and everything fell out. Naturally, I helped her pick it up and walked her to her office. We parted ways and in my infinite wisdom, I forgot to ask for a card or give her one of mine.
Two weeks later, by sheer luck, we found ourselves at the same subway stop waiting for a train. This time she came up to me and…Oh come on people! That is sheer bullshit! It’s 2011. We met online. Under the guidance of my trusted west coast buddy who guided me through the tricky world of setting up an online profile. Now look, neither one of us are particularly keen to brag about meeting online. We both weren’t trolling to get laid, we simply knew if we didn’t do the online thing, the likelihood of us dating anyone, let alone each other, was slim. It was only out of sheer laziness, not out of some sort of loneliness or desperation. Luckily for me, she was the second girl I went out with (the first one was nice, but no real spark…probably doesn’t help we met at a whiskey bar and I tend to drink a little when nervous…anyway…) because I don’t think I woulda lasted doing that online thing.
But before we actually met in person, we traded some emails. And the fact that she wanted to communicate through the regular email and not the online dating site was a good sign. It was not a good sign when she addressed an email to me as “Kevin”. The fact that she wanted to kick it old school and talk to me on the phone before she met me was a good sign. It was not a good sign that in the middle of that conversation she began addressing me as her high school teacher Keith. It was a good sign when she agreed to go out with me. It was not a good sign when she cancelled because her father came to take her out to Fire Island. So, you can see at this point, I had NO CHOICE at all. I had to meet this broad. And in all truthfulness, neither did she. After all that, she HAD to meet me. We had to see what this was all about.
She and I joke about it now, but when we first met, we both had absolutely NO pretense whatsoever. Her attitude was “Fuck it, I’m done, I am just gonna be me.” My attitude was “Fuck it, I gotta see what this woman is like. If she doesn’t dig me, so be it.” We met for lunch and had a couple drinks and chatted with no real agenda. It’s not like I was gonna get her drunk and take her home, I had to go back to work. She had to get home. I think I can speak for both of us when I say; we simply had nothing to hide when we met. As a result, the conversation was very fluid and easy and lacked any deceit. We were who we are and who we continue to be.
From there it moved fast and furious to this moment where I sit in my new home, looking at the Williamsburg Bridge, writing. Oh sure, there are those people out there who will say “But you guys barely know each other” or “Keith, are you sure this is such a good idea?” or something to that effect. Look, I dunno what the future holds for us, but I know a few things. I know that there can be no reward without risk. I know that I have built my life around marching to the beat of my drummer (if Keith Moon on LSD were my drummer). I know that I finally feel home. I know I am following my heart and my intuition. I know I have found a friend. I know I have found a partner. I know I am living my life. I know what I want. I know who I want. I know that I am happy. I know that I am in love.
Paul Westerberg sang “Hold my life, until I’m ready to use it.”
I’m finally ready to use it.