Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Local or Global: Where's your comfort zone?

As I was reading this blog post from Derek Sivers, I realized two things: I'm not as alone as I sometimes think I should be, and I've been missing blog posts.

Oops on the was a big issue day on Monday over at The Man Sphere with preparing and editing for the "New You Issue," so I've been preoccupied with getting all of that together.

Now, on the matter of the first, I should explain. Derek is a hero of mine for a number of reasons, not least of which is his business acumen. But beyond the fact that he built and sold a multi-million dollar business (he was the founder of CDBaby), he also has a philosophy of living that's quite liberating and worth reading in detail.

Derek vagabonds. He lives a life with very minimal possession in order to allow himself the liberty of just up and moving to another place. And in his blog post, he points out the conflicts he sometimes feels about that. But he narrows it down to the basic conclusion: he lives a life, that is more global than local. He feels an affinity to locales as distant as Tokyo and Woodstock, New York, yet his personal and professional network is spread across the globe.

That doesn't work for everyone. Some people build deep roots in one community, carving out their own particular place in the universe where they feel "at home" and surrounded by those they care most deeply about.

His point? Do whichever works best for you. It's a comfort zone model. Never assume that because you're not a world traveler you must necessarily be disappointed with the accomplishments of your life. Likewise, don't assume that because you haven't settled down in one place to start a family or build a brick-and-mortar business you're necessarily doing something wrong. Business and lifestyle writers are constantly pitting one of these options against the other, and ultimately neither is right. Take personal pleasure in whichever mode of operation works best for you, not what someone else tells you you must do in order to be happy.

Derek solicited comments for the blog post from his readers, but by the time I got there there were already hundreds. So I emailed this observation to him directly instead:
Derek, this is fantastic. I sometimes feel like I'm on the cusp of those two lives website has a huge reach, and I have friends in Toronto, Atlanta, Sweden, Australia...but don't really have what you'd call an "active" social life where I live. I would almost feel bad about it, but I've come to realize that my vagabonding is more cerebral. Finding like-minded individuals in the little town of 17,000 where I live is pretty unlikely, but there's one in every other town out there. So online is where we connect. 
Does this absolve me of the necessary travel that I should plan on eventually? Of course not. But it does make me feel like less of a recluse when I realize that I'm not secluded at all. I'm merely separated by distance. Yes, I would like more of a local social life, and will be working more diligently on that (after all, it's hard to really date over the internet), but I'm certainly not as lonely as I once thought I should be.


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