My cousin Nora and I are born 5 days apart. We grew up blocks away from each other, went to the same elementary school, high school and college and we celebrate our birthdays together every year. In short, she’s my best friend. She knows everything about me and we have continued to grow together throughout our separate journeys through life. When I graduated from USF, I couldn’t make it work in the city. I wanted to stay but the bills piled up and eventually I had to move back to Orange County. Nora made it work though. She busted her ass working multiple jobs because she knew San Francisco was where she wanted to be, where she belonged. Our two paths finally split away from each other after they had been parallel for years and it was hard for me to deal with. I missed her and our talks and it felt like she was light years away instead of only a couple hundred miles.
When I decided I was going to go on this trip, I knew I wanted to spend as much time with Nora as possible. Seeing her made me feel so happy and everything fell back exactly as it was. I ended up staying with her two nights and each one we stayed up well into the early morning. We talked about everything. We got through the last five years of our lives going through every detail: happy or sad; we laughed about dumb movies we’d seen and crazy music we were listening to and we laughed really hard and very often. She even brought out some old pictures that I hadn’t seen in a decade.
As I left for my trip, I felt down about my relationships with everyone in my life. I felt alone and forgotten. Through camping and meditating, I started to realize that I was trapping myself in my own mind rather than letting it run free. That kind of thinking was helpful but it wasn’t the only thing that got me out of my rut. Seeing Nora did more for me on that trip than anything else could have. It made me realize that I do in fact matter, that people do care about me and what happens in my life. Not to say that my parents didn’t show me that love but I was pushing them away and subconsciously isolating myself. That’s what I begun to realize hanging with Nora. We all need family to bring us back to our base form, the “Seanest Sean.” I told her about my new motto I wanted to follow: “just be you.” Together, we realized that it isn’t just about being your own specific archetype or model, it’s about being you in everything you do and not sacrificing your true self for anything. That means you can be pliable and change what you do and how you feel but you can’t lose sight of who you really are deep down. So Nora, thank you for allowing me to see that isolation and loneliness are a choice and that if I want to be the man I always knew I could be, all I have to do is dig deep and find that “Seanest Sean.” Just be you.
As stated above, Nora is a hustler. So during the day, she was working constantly, leaving me to my own devices. I was still determined to see as much as possible and for the first time, I felt like doing some tourist things in the city. I walked through Golden Gate Park towards the DeYoung Museum and The Academy of Sciences. Two places that I had been before, but I felt I never really appreciated them.
I ended up doing them in two days. I had forgotten the size of the DeYoung and quickly realized it was gonna take me all day if I really wanted to absorb the entirety of the place. Instead of describing all the paintings, sculptures and artifacts (I could do a whole blog on that alone) I dropped everything in this nice little slideshow for you…your welcome.
The museum is arranged in a way where each section has it’s own “vibe” and layout making it seem like you are walking through multiple museums. My favorite pieces had to be the paintings depicting scenery. I probably spent a full hour in there just staring at paintings of beaches and forests that were done in such excruciating detail, I couldn’t pull myself away. The DeYoung is both long as it is tall and on the top floor, you see this:
and if you keep walking around in a circle….
It’s truly a breathtaking view and I think one of the best in the city because it offers such a wide variety of viewpoints.
I left the museum with a huge smile on my face having felt accomplished for seeing the whole thing and happy that I got some souvenirs to make my own personal DeYoung when I got home.