It’s March and this is the month I turn a year older. This year I turn thirty-five. With that, comes a certain perspective—a softening of opinion and a clarity of thought.
I went bouldering over the weekend with Josh Brewer and a mutual friend, Ian Kesterson. We were at a public preview for a new bouldering gym opening up here in San Francisco. We were early, but as more and more people piled in as the hour went on, there was a trend of sorts happening.
Josh said it perfectly to Ian, “I think we’re five tattoos short to fit in here.”
It made me laugh. Here I was, bare-chested, with a full tattooed sleeve on my arm, with a haircut that could decidedly be described as manly-heritage-50s-hipster and I realized that despite our age bracket’s crotchety ramblings about all those hipsters on our lawns, we were them. Or at least, I had a similarity to everyone else in the room. And despite our own internal individualities, it dawned on me that for a change, I did belong. These—everyone—were my people.
Later in the week I was at SightGlass Coffee here in San Francisco. It’s a veritable mecca of coffee, in a clean, warm interior with lots of steel, reclaimed and exposed wood and concrete with lots of natural light. Everyone in the room, especially the men, had uniforms on.
I don’t mean that they had some special SightGlass uniform, but that all the men, including myself had some familiar variant of dark denim and a plaid or chambray shirt on. It is our generation’s daily uniform. In the past, there were suits and ties and tucked-in formalities and politeness. Today, our suit is more colourful and comfortable. We can be who we are.
Sometimes that means we’re more alike than we think or know.
But perhaps it just means that the barriers are down, that we’re seeking a family or a tribe. That we are becoming one and the same, barriers and cultures blending healthily.
It means that we can belong.