There are three things about the book, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, that I absolutely adore: (1) all of the travel, which was a feast for the part of me that consumes adventure like it is truly my last great meal, (2) the notion of “il dolce far niente” which are the perfect words (in Italian – no less) for one of my favorite things in life. The literal translation is something along the lines of “the sweetness of doing nothing”. As much as I love to be active and doing things, I absolutely revel in the times when I am doing nothing. I can talk in poetic verse about spending hours, NO, whole days migrating from my bed to sofa and back again, but that’s not what I’m writing about today. Finally, (3) the notion that every person has an individual word that describes fundamentally who they are and every city has a word as well that basically does the same thing. An individual will only truly be happy in a place if their word complements the word of the city. (Does that make sense?)
So in a recent conversation with RA, my good friend and new agey guru as well as my partner in the greasy goodness that was Baconfest, she asked me about the word on the street in the Bay Area. I truly hadn’t thought about it. Not because it wasn’t important to me, but because I have been busy creating my life and slipping into the ways of the Bay, like one puts on a comfortable pair of shoes. I really needed to give this some thought, did I finally find the city with the right word..?
My first thought was that the Bay area doesn’t just have a word, but more like a phrase, which makes sense since there are so many different sides to the Bay. Most places are just one thing, because most places are just one city, but the Bay area is a conglomeration of cooperating cities that come together to create a whole that is unique and most definitely more than the sum of it’s parts. It is the hip and the hop, the yin and the yang, the intellectual and the artist. So my initial thought was that the Bay area has a phrase and it goes something like:
‘Choose the Life You Live, Don’t Let it Choose You’
Which when I thought about what that really means I did come back with one word:
It is the one place where I have lived where everyone is as free as they want to be and can be exactly who they are. Here you can live out loud and no one is angry at the volume of your life. Be exactly who you are, everything is tolerated here and most things are welcomed with open arm. It is exactly what I have been searching for and amazingly it led me back home.
So my own word, (no surprise) is Sojourner, which literally means is “a person who resides temporarily in a place”, I take that one step farther and add that a sojourner is not willing to settle, but searching for rightness. So I have spent the better part of a decade living temporarily as I have sought. And I have finally found what I have been looking for and I am free. I am in the right place and more importantly at the right time for me. I am co-creating my life and love that my options are endless. I am free.
I wonder if now that I have found my city, if my word will change…I am thinking that it isn’t likely, because though I am home and done searching for my city, I am not done searching for adventure and fully exploring my freedom. There is still something to be found and the beauty of this place is that there is adventure around every corner.