“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” -Mary Oliver
It’s been an amazing almost-nine years. I’ll spare you the litany of ways we’ve improved life for the average American in this text, but you can read about all the ass Team Obama has collectively kicked here. And now the time has come to pivot my personal life and eject from politics for a bit. This is both necessary and vital to me as a time of regeneration and contemplation on what comes next.
First thing’s first: context switch.
I’m leaving behind the government devices and badge, getting on a plane, and going somewhere I don’t know anybody other than my travel buddy, Heath. I’m unplugging from the incessant noise of technology and decompressing for awhile. I’m actually going to attempt to practice some self-care for a good 45 days or so and maybe even focus on right-brain activities as a refreshing change!
Second thing: gratitude.
Thank you for supporting me through all of this. Thank you for being patient with me as I balanced a unique opportunity of public service against personal connection. Thank you for allowing me to miss your parties or happy hours or let a text go unanswered. Or more embarrassingly, not seeing you for years or knowing what city you live in now or the name of your second child! Working in DC is quite masochistic even at the best of times. It’s damn near impossible to cultivate close friendships or serious relationships in This Town due to the transient nature of the city and the frenetic pace of work at the White House and the State Department. For as much as I recommend unplugging from or limiting social media time, sometimes it’s unfortunately the only way I have a clue what’s going on in your equally precious lives. I’d love to replace that Like with a conversation over dinner instead.
Which leads me to the third thing: quality time.
If you’ll have me, I’m invoking the permanent Team Obama couch-surfing and supporter housing rule! On my way back from India in late February I’m terminating in Seattle and I haven’t booked a return flight yet. I’ll be happily unemployed and a free agent in terms of travel and time. So I’d love to come see you, spend some quality time together, and make a few memories. Let’s crack open a bottle of red and talk about your adventures or whatever is on your mind these days. Or maybe we can watch a sunset somewhere without having to say a word at all. You tell me what’s special about where you are and let’s experience it together!
And keep in mind that while I’m trying on new cities for size and thinking about a new mission to apply my energy to, that none of this life is anything without the people supporting and holding each other up. To those of you who fought beside me in the trenches, given me a safe space to rant or be still, bought me a drink when I needed it — or especially when I didn’t! — and to those rare few who honorably and humbly led the way for all of us: you made it worth so much more. I’m thankful for you all and to be counted as one of you. Across our good days and bad, I’ve seen your heart, your courage, your brilliance, your vulnerability, and your grace under pressure. But now, I’d like to explore those beautiful qualities together without the anxiety of a looming election, a project milestone, the end of a fiscal year, a budget crisis, or some other hard-stop date that made us all crazy people.
So, I have a loose plan, some savings and some airline points squirreled away to support this nomadic life for a time. Where are we meeting and what kind of good trouble can we get into together? And I’m certain that along the way we’ll discover where best to put our talents and energy back to work for the things we believe in. Let’s go!
“Here’s where I’ll be living ’til my time’s up.” -OneRepublic’s Born