Auckland, New Zealand

October 7, 2018

Not knowing is sometimes the deal.

It's me again. :)

Over the past month, I've started so many letters to you, then abandoned them before sending because either I thought I'd already said the same thing before and better, or because I was pretty sure what I was writing was bullshit.

So I thought that today, I'd just write a letter that says I don't know.

Life is funny. I'm now back in New Zealand, with my resident visa finally sorted out. And if I'd met my partner five years earlier, this would be my idea of heaven.

A gorgeous country, small and far enough that you can kind of do whatever you want, and the ability to make and build the sort of life that was exactly what I wanted - a nice home, good eats, a wood shop, nice friends I enjoyed hanging out with, and real interactions with art. It would have been perfect.

But I didn't meet my partner way back then. I met her after years spent living in country after country, learning from each language and culture, writing, and sharing it.

A life that was packed full of a curiosity, learning, empathy, and challenges that kept me growing.

A life in which I became the version of myself I'd always known was in there, waiting for the chance to shine. The real deal.

For almost two years now, I've struggled to try and recapture that life, while stationary. There have been bold new art projects, series of public speaking, new books in the works on how to travel when you're not traveling –

but they haven't worked. All of them have fizzled, because not one has been able to recapture the me that existed before I first arrived in New Zealand.

And to be honest, here on this quiet Sunday afternoon, I'm not sure what to do about it.

I think this kind of loss is a part of the human experience. I remember Elizabeth Gilbert's (of Eat, Pray, Love) great TED talk on how she coped with the fact that she was barely 40 years old, and knew that she'd likely written her best work.

The same is true for folks who experience a loss of capability - movement, a sense - which is all of us, given enough time.

And in a way, that's an encouraging thought - that I'm not alone in feeling, wrestling, going through this.

But this afternoon, I'm not quite to acceptance. I still want to figure out how to get back to being that person - and be in a relationship.

So there's nothing in it but to get up, and keep trying.

Thanks so much for your company on this journey. It means the world.

Have a great week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw this week was New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern's, speech to the UN. It left me deeply hopeful for the world.

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