Be Where You Are

Derek Sivers has moved to New Zealand’s South Island.

He had been living, I don’t know for how long, in Singapore. A close friend of his died in a crash involving a car and a bicycle on December 8. Then, by December 20, Derek writes that he’s moved to New Zealand, “To work. To focus. To write. To code. To launch.” That’s what he says.

Somehow, moving to New Zealand made sense to Derek. Given the massive disruption caused by the death of his friend, a major change of scenery is understandable. Natural, even. It’s a good story he tells: he couldn’t focus in Singapore. New Zealand is probably quieter.

I’ve thought now and then that it would be nice to visit New Zealand, maybe to live there for a while and see what it’s like. I have no idea if I would like it. I think I might. It looks beautiful in pictures. Maybe I could focus there, too.

Unlike Sivers, though, I’m not free to just up and move to New Zealand on a week’s notice. I suspect most people aren’t. Otherwise, there would be a lot more people in New Zealand. I have to find my focus here, where I am, in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York. Fortunately, it’s beautiful here, and quiet.

I suppose someone might say that I could move to New Zealand if I really wanted to. They’re right, of course. I could. I could pack up my family, insist that my wife quit her job, and my son leave behind a school and friends he loves, and cart us all around the globe. It would be the adventure of a lifetime. I’m not going to do that. Not now. Maybe someday I’ll visit there. I’d still like to see it for myself.

A friend once gave me a little card with a quote from the Buddha. “Be where you are. Otherwise you will miss your life.” I’ve since lost the card. (Impermanence!) But the words have stuck with me.

Derek asks, “Why am I here?” My answer. “Because this is where I am.” No need to travel half way around the world. I can work, focus, write, code and launch from wherever I am.

I hope Derek is happy in New Zealand. I really do. I’m sorry for his loss of a close friend. I wish him peace. In New Zealand, or wherever.

Wherever you are. Be there. Be at peace.

That’s my wish for you. And for me. And Derek.