"In my end is my beginning"

August 4, 2023

In many ways, I feel that returning to The Grand as a team member is coming home...

I first came to The Grand in September of 2020 (shoutout Wednesday Pod, forever 💗) while I was at business school. Many people go to business school to figure out their next career move and what they really want to do next, and I was no different. At the time, it was my second and last year of the program. I was still feeling pretty lost and confused on the micro-scale of my life, and the pandemic had just upended everything on the macro-scale of the world.

Meeting with my beloved Wednesday Podmates and coaches (Cristina and Rodrigo!) to figure it all out together, both micro and macro, helped me find the confidence and support I needed to keep moving. Though things didn't instantly and magically clear up for me with respect to where I wanted to go, the clouds did start parting, and I knew that I had a community of people who truly understood me to turn to as I continued on my journey—which has brought me back here, like kismet.

A little testimonial video I did from a year ago that's still true!

In college, I took an awesome course called "Literature for Young People," where we discussed a common narrative structure in children's stories. These stories typically start with the child's yearning desire to grow up and see the world, to leave the boring comforts of home, to have adventures "out there." When they are finally called to their adventures, they must confront several trials and tribulations before they can go home again. And when they do return home, they see the place anew—as a young adult, with gained wisdom and perspective.

Sometimes we have to leave somewhere familiar to return and understand it anew. Think of Disney stories.

These are ideas not limited to literature for young people—after all, nostos in a major theme of The Odyssey, and also some of T.S. Eliot's most famous lines in his epic poem, Four Quartets, go: "In my end is my beginning... / In my end is my beginning..." and "We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time." The structure is also known as the hero's journey (I feel compelled to interject here that this is not the only narrative structure, and there are many people other types of narrative structures to explore).

More "Four Quartets" quotes sighted on a visit to Fotografiska New York in January 2022!

Still, I often find children's literature the place where I somehow discover the most clarity about life's deepest questions. I'm currently re-reading His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman which has felt perfect again for this phase of my life, and A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin guided me through a difficult time with similar sentiments: "A man would know the end he goes to, but he cannot know it if he does not turn, and return to his beginning, and hold that beginning in his being."

In many ways, I feel that returning to The Grand as a team member is coming home, where I was meant to be all along, but I had to have a few other trials and tribulations along the way to get here. Those learnings are only serving me now for one of the grandest tasks of a lifetime!

Marketing sometimes gets a bad rep, but at the end of the day, what I believe is that marketing is storytelling. I'm excited to hold and tell and be a steward for our community's stories. I hope to do that here and everywhere else, and I hope you'll follow along and contribute your own.

On a somewhat less upbeat note, I came back from an amazing time working remotely in Hawaii to find that my beloved plants were wilting and looking a bit sad. Most devastatingly, I went up to my rooftop garden to find my jasmine bush knocked over, and the leaves all crispy. Before I'd left, I'd been checking on it every day, waiting for its cute little white buds to bloom into fragrant star shaped flowers. Some of them did bloom while I was gone, but they were looking sad and bruised from the tumble. I despaired and wondered if I would have to throw the plant out.

😱😱😱 How I felt upon seeing this.

However, the bruised flowers still smelled lovely and there were still some buds hanging on. I put the plant back upright and watered it generously. The leaves, while still droopy and a bit sad looking, are starting to feel soft again. I'm hopeful for a recovery.

It was a reminder to me of how much regular attention and maintenance life and growth requires—I should have asked my roommates to give it a little check and love before I left, but I just plain forgot and figured they could survive until I got back, even if a little unhappy.

But also—the plants are resilient, and they are bouncing back, and that's also a reminder to me that even when something looks like it's dying, to not immediately give up on it, to patiently pick things back up, and to give myself grace. Things are recoverable and forgivable, especially alive things. See how a little watering and pruning and love goes before you throw out the dead plant.

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