I'm on my annual summer vacation visiting family in New England. I moved here from Palo Alto in 1990, at the age of 10. Years later, divorce tore through our family; one consequence was that our New England family home was sold. Without the family home, we lost our default gathering place. This can make you feel a bit lost.
All of that changed 8 years ago when my mom bought a modest lake house with the vision of it becoming a summer gathering place for the family. Oh the wonders of motherly wisdom—this lake house has been the best gift ever. It isn't perfect, it doesn't erase the divorce from the story. But it's an extra special place that I come to every summer with my husband and children for an extended time away.
A different pace, different aromas, different activities. We play, rest, eat, bond. Yesterday my oldest son (11) wanted to try swimming across the lake, so I accompanied him on the paddleboard so boats would keep their distance, and just in case he lost steam. He made it the whole way. We celebrated, then swapped roles: he paddleboarded home next to me as I swam. These are memories that stick.
On vacation, I read more than usual. I've been studying Instagram and how to optimize this social medium. My textbook: "Instagram for Business for dummies." One tip I'm putting into action right away is creating a hashtag for everyone to use. The hashtag:
Add this hashtag to anything you post about life in Silicon Valley: something beautiful, something comical, a place to go, a day trip, date night, or vacation destination, a deal, a shortcut for life—anything. I have a friend about to travel to Cabo for the first time; she can use this hashtag when she posts vacation photos. Cabo is a 3-hour flight away and is a prime place to vacation (on less). I have another friend who just texted me a photo of lavender she bought for $3.99 at Trader Joe's. She could post her photo with the hashtag: the bouquet is beautiful, inexpensive, low maintenance, and makes your home smell like Provence.
Simply Silicon Valley exists to help people flourish in this expensive, fast-paced, technology frontier. It's easy to find things to complain about. What "The Real Residents of Silicon Valley" need is encouragement: reminders of what is great about living here, and ideas to help life run as smoothly (and inexpensively) as possible. Together, we can create a diverse collection of tips and inspiration.
As the Simply SV following grows, a community of like-minded people can connect through it. Let's be wind in one another's sails; the name of the boat: The Good Life, on less. Start using the hashtag and join me in being a force for flourishing in Silicon Valley.