Last Friday brought me mixed emotions. Last week was, you see, my last week working with both Do713 and Culture Pilot, the two employers who’ve captured my heart and taught me so much over the past few months. This sadness, though, is tempered by a lot of excitement for the places I’m going next.
In August, I’m headed off to Chicago to upgrade my grey matter at Shimer College. This decision came only after much deliberation, (this can be confirmed by Geoff Smith, who was the victim of many rambling, wishy-washy monologues of mine) as I’ve created a life for myself here in Houston that is – putting it mildly – absolutely lovely. I’ve spent the past year being surrounded by wonderful people, and have gotten to learn so much from them. I worked very hard and played even harder, and got to discover many new things about myself and about this great city.
Leaving this life seems, at times, completely silly and ungrateful. Why leave your friends, family, and two great jobs for a far-away school where you’ll read ancient Greek philosophy and spend many late nights studying? Why leave everything that you’ve amassed over the past year?
The truth? I’m not sure yet. I don’t know how I’ll like school, or if the Chicago winter will be too much for me, or if I’ll make friends or feel fulfilled or learn the things I want to learn. The one thing I do know, though, is that I have so much freedom and opportunity laid out before me at the moment that I should be thanking my lucky stars at every step I take. That being said, the truly ungrateful thing to do would be to not take that leap of faith and throw myself into the bigger, scarier, and more thrilling adventure known as college.
As I embrace this next challenge, I’ve got to look back and thank some of the people and places who’ve made this past year so special to me:
The Culture Pilot team, whom I’ve mentioned before, are some of the most genuinely kind people I’ve met. Although I wasn’t able to work with them for very long, I instantly felt like a part of the family – and let me tell you, it’s not a family I will be forgetting any time soon. Thank you all – Tim, Javier, and Kara – so much for giving me the chance to work with you.
Jeremy Hart and Space City Rock – this man is a living wonder. He upkeeps the entire site on his spare time – a thankless task, if there ever was one – and writes some of the most honest and personable music criticism I’ve read, all with a family and a 9-5. I’ve had the honor of writing for Space City Rock for the past – what is it now, two and a half years? – and it’s been easily the most satisfying writing I’ve ever done. While I can’t claim to be a decent music critic yet, I’ve been thrilled with the opportunity to learn, and to listen to and review music that I otherwise would probably never have heard of. Thanks for taking me on and providing me with an incredible opportunity, Jeremy. Space City Rock has truly been a great outlet for me, and now I actually have some kind of a body of work to reference in the future. That, sir, is an asset.
Matthew Wettergreen and Do713. Matthew has been mentor, employer, and friend to me – a combination that doesn’t occur in the world nearly enough. His success and his incredible ability have been motivators to me all year, and I’m very excited to see what he does from here. Knowing that he’s just as interested in my future is one more motivation to do the best I can do. He gave me the job that introduced me to the rest of the greatness that ensued for me this year. Working with Do713 has been a catalyst for my realization of just how much Houston has to offer, and has given me at least a small glimpse of the inner workings of a starting up website – like, it really is just a couple dudes in far-flung places, working frantically after they get home from their day jobs. There’s no secretary with a Bluetooth and there’s no Flavia machine. Shit’s rough, man.
The place where all the Do713-ing went down, and probably more of a home to me than my home is, is Caroline Collective. Co-owned by Matthew Wettergreen and Ned Dodington and maintained by the ever dapper Geoff Smith, this coworking space is one of the lesser known resources of the Houston startup and arts communities. Populated by brilliant and hard-working people, this place is frequently filled with the ringing laughter of Fresh Arts Coalition‘s Candace Kizer, a one-woman driving force with a smile that outshines puppies. She is a part of my Caroline Collective family, along with Wes Gamble, Karen Aptekar, Nancy Wozny, Jeff Reichman, and a host of others who come and go with food and drink and stories. Some of my fondest memories of this year are from Caroline Collective, and they are ones that I will cherish for a long time to come.
Another re-thanking goes to Norma and Tim Thomson of Hot Pixel Action. Norma has proven to be both an ally and a friend, always lending me a hand in business and in personal matters. Her advice and her care have been absolutely invaluable to me these past few months.
Lastly, I want to thank Jenn Garcia and Joe Wozny. These two have been my dearest friends for the last few months, and I’ve had countless adventures with them in that time. We’ve made fort videos, we’ve gone to New Orleans together, and they’ve expanded my cultural horizons via Hulu Plus. Parting ways with them is going to be very hard. My hope is that whatever paths each of us ends up taking, we can all meet in a few years time and go right back to the conversation we left off on.
Once I get back from my present vacation (Atlanta, followed by D.C.), there will be lots of goodbyes to say and lots of packing to do. It will be difficult. I’d like to point out, though, to some of the great friends I’ve made this year: there is this awesome thing called the Internet, and it allows people who live far away from each other to communicate. And I, for one, intend to do that.
While I might be physically removed, I assure you that my heart will always remain right here in Texas with all of you. ❤