I can no longer deny that I'm actually going through with it.
This time next week, I'll be winging my way to family Christmas vibes in San Diego. Five weeks from now, I'll be opening up shop in the UK.
The bed and the sofa are sold, the packing is nowhere near done, the Berlin chapter—the birthplace of #entrylevelboss—is ending.
While I keep referring to this Berlin > UK transition as a "longterm tax paperwork shuffle" more than the start of the next chapter, I have to acknowledge that it's a pretty big deal.
So, I'm taking a minute to sit down in between the 'Keep' and the 'Donate' piles and do a little reflecting.
If you've been following me for a while, you know that Berlin kinda saved me.
I moved here in May 2014 without a job, without a visa, without a partner, without a plan. I'd never even visited.
The only two 'references' I knew that could even vouch for Berlin?
A SoundCloud employee I'd befriended on LinkedIn during a previous job search stint, and a brief romantic partner in SF who'd been recruited to the SoundCloud exec team at one point--the second of whom offered me some very clever, very un-American advice:
"Go for six weeks," he said. "See if you dig it."
Within five days, I'd gone cold turkey off my anti-depressants. Within a month, I was teaching the content marketing track at Startup Institute.
I'll save us all from an indulgent top ten recap of my favorite Berlin moments, of which there are many. I also just deleted a very ooey-gooey ode to this city's very specific Island-of-Misfit-Toys magic, of which there is plenty.
I will, however, quickly allow myself to quote Gilmore Girls. Because the way I feel about Berlin is perhaps best expressed by how Rory tells Dean what she plans to write about him in her book:
"That you were the greatest. That you were generous and protective and kind and strong.
"That as much as I wish we'd met when I was older and more mature, I know if I hadn't had you with me when I did then I wouldn't be the person I am today.
"That you taught me what safe feels like."
That's exactly what Berlin has been for me.
At the end of the day, here's what I know: It is very rare and very special to make a big life decision borne solely of ingenuity. A decision that you can't pin on somebody or something else. A decision that forces you into active control of your world.
Pulling myself out of a life-coma in San Francisco and getting on a plane to Berlin was one of those choices. And now, I've chosen again.
And while the small talk can get confusing (So, what brings you to London? / "Just kinda felt like it."), I have to be proud of myself for continuing to make decisions that get me that much closer aligned to the life I intend to live, both personally and professionally.
The packing may feel a little somber and reflective today, but I'm looking ahead to 2017 with a lot of hope and enthusiasm.
Almost exactly four years after leaving the UK, I am returning... and it feels a little bit like I'm about to see an old friend.
(You know what I mean. The conversation is a little awkward for the first 15 minutes, and then, instantly, it's as if no time has passed.)
As always... Stay tuned, my love.
I have so much planned for us next year. We're in this together now, and it's about to be ride-or-die all over the world.
Sending you a hug,
PS: Digging the #entrylevelboss life? The best way to care is to share, baby. Forward this email to a friend.
PPS: A big round of applause for everyone who joined in on Sunday's 'Getting Hired Over The Holidays' call! After a couple technical hiccups, we had 42 callers from 7 different countries, about 10 of which I got to chat with personally. COOL.