Monday, August 12, 2013


Today, I spent eight hours walking the streets of a strange (not strange, strange, just unfamiliar) neighborhood with a nine-year old. It was clearly home to many of the people who passed us by--children on scooters, parents with strollers, runners, and bikers, and funeral-goers. And in the midst of it all, we were oddly anonymous. We retraced various paths multiple times, so it is possible that certain people took notice of this pair of strangers, but, as far as we were concerned, we were a twosome on our own set of missions, anonymous and loving it.

As nice as it may be to be anonymous while on an expedition with a nine-year old, we look for anything but anonymity in our professional lives. How many times, even when I had a full-time gig, did I wish I were being sought after by someone else, known all over for my professional talents? Yet, neither then, nor during the time that followed that gig, did I gain that kind of non-anonymity. The truth is, as I learned today, it is incredibly easy to stay a stranger in a strange land, to remain anonymous. The challenge is enjoying anonymity when you want it, but pursuing non-anonymity with a vengeance when you don't. That, and finding where your skill set meshes with that of the world where you'd like to be more than a stranger. People tend to see only what relates to them, so to be seen, to stand out, the key is meeting people on their terms.

Had we been scooter-riding and chatty, we might have been anything but anonymous today, which would have been wrong for our day. But come tomorrow, or the next day, whenever it matters, perhaps I'll be that person who is anything but anonymous. And perhaps not being anonymous will be just right for that day.

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