A moment to live for: it’s Christmas time in Detroit and I’m sitting in my best friends living room located in a 1920s apartment on Jefferson that her and her boyfriend rent together. He throws St. Paul and The Broken Bones on the record player and he, his two friends, Sarah, and myself all decide that “Call Me” is the song we need to hear right in this moment. In the moments that follow the bluesy tune dances on our ear drums while we pass a bowl full of weed around the room which I have Sarah light for me every time it lands on me and we sip Soft Parade out of bottles that are still wearing the winter chill they caught during the walk from the car to the building and I look out the window at the Detroit river and all that Windsor, Canada offers just on the other side and I remember all of the times Sarah and I crossed the border as teenagers to drink and dance in bars and have sing alongs with homeless men playing acoustic guitars on the street, a street we’d walk down hand in hand once the jäger hit us. And I realize that’s just one of many streets I’ve gone down with her by my side and it’s no different here on Jefferson, or on Broadway in Soho, or on a dirt road outside of a stilted mansion on the island of Kauai; Sarah always reminds me that I’m right where I need to be.
Four November’s ago I was riding around Detroit in a pink hummer limo celebrating my life. I thought that at 21 years old I had lived an entire life and I spent that birthday celebrating the Midwestern successes I was taught to be proud of: college graduation in the spring, maintaining friendships that started in adolescence, making my own car payment, etc. I thought I knew the world because I knew the ins and outs of the very small world I created for myself. Now, four years later, I look back and realize my life hadn’t even begun, that the world is infinitely larger than I could have imagined from the suburbia I grew up in. My life only began when I moved to New York. I was only beginning to test the waters of a very deep well; one full of opportunity, new friends, different cultures, delicious food, inspiration on every street corner, and for me, an endless supply of humility. New York has a way of reminding you that you aren’t shit, that your 21st birthday was merely the dusk before the dawn. There are millions of other people sharing this city with you and they’re all equally, if not more, talented than you. Likely, they worked just as hard, were just as brave and courageous, and left just as much behind in order to be here, in this city, living the life they dreamed about as children, the same way you did. So here’s to everyone who dreamed big, to myself for having 25 years worth of fight inside of me, and to all the lessons I’ve yet to learn.