Waiheke, New Zealand

December 22, 2017

Shipwrecked

I've been thinking for months how to explain all of this to you.

My sudden disappearance, the lack of letters, the complete radio silence. How to put into words what's happened over the past year; how it all came to pass. And I think it's this:

I shipwrecked.

I landed in New Zealand just over a year ago, planning to bumble around, see all those Lord of the Rings landscapes, keep writing, and board a plane to Tunisia in March.

But then I met someone, fell in love, found myself not traveling, not moving, not writing, fixing up a broken house, and not doing really very much of what's deeply meaningful to me. 2017 has been for me what I've heard it be for a lot of people - a tough harvest - but worth it.

I'm writing to you today from a little cottage on a beach in Waiheke, a small island off the coast in Northern New Zealand. There are little waves lapping a dozen feet from my feet, rippled through the bay where last night I watched orcas breach and curl and arc.

Saturday was my wedding. I'm married now, after a lifetime of thinking that marriage wasn't really for me, and deeply glad and grateful. (Yes, there are pictures :) ) At the moment, my partner is off trail-running in the woods somewhere (as is pretty normal, to be honest), and I'm left with a few quiet moments to just say hi, connect, and wander around where we'll go from here.

2017 was a tough year not only because New Zealand and I don't get along on a lot of levels, but also because what has rooted me in life - doing meaningful work that contributes to the world - was hard to come by.

A month ago, I found myself looking at the page for my own life-planning course - its headline saying clearly “Live with Purpose” - and wondering how I'd strayed so far, and how I would get back on course.

2018 is my journey to try.

Here in New Zealand, I've again found myself befuddled by the number of hats I wear - the different me's I am to different people. To some, a writer. To some, an expert on artificial intelligence. To some, a global nomad. To some, a somewhat mysterious, introverted, and I-hope-it-goes-well partner to E, their dear friend.

This isn't a new struggle. But it is a new chapter in my life, figuring out new answers to how I take what I'm good at, combine it with what I care about, and turn them into days - each one full and worth living.

I know when you signed up for these letters, they were something much more clear - a weekly note from somewhere in the world. And today, I'm not sure I can honestly tell you what they will be. I'll still do some travel. Still write. Still wrestle with a meaningful life, global development, depression, art, technology, and who we are as a beautiful, flawed, growing ball of humanity.

But I do know that I'm grateful for your company on the journey, wherever it takes us.

I was buoyed and carried by so many notes people sent me this year - wondering if I was ok, if I'd stopped writing, and telling me how much they'd enjoyed having the letters as a part of their Sundays.

I didn't have enough me to write back and still handle all the other things that were on my plate, and I also didn't know, really, what to say - so I didn't.

But I was and am so grateful for your support, and for your friendship as we figure out what this life thing is about for each of us.

So, thank you. You, personally. You are part of what's kept me afloat this year, and I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us.

Let's go find out. :)

-Steven

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