peace, love & español
The loss of someone is both a blessing and a curse. A curse because it one of the most raw and painful feelings and it changes you forever, and a blessing because it is one of the most raw and painful feelings and changes you forever.
Losing someone made death very real and very present, but it also made life and its potential just as real.
A few years ago, one of my best friends died. One of those amazing humans who you always talked about to your friends, who had that extra charisma and made you feel like the most important person in the world. He was one of those humans who called to let you know that he was thinking of you. A philosopher with the spirit and shiny eyed wonder of a kid, he constantly looked at the world in a refreshing way. A hint of wonder, a hint of sadness, and a lot of adventure and openness.
He was a scientist, a dreamer, an explorer, a thinker, a brother, and an inspiration.
After his death, his best friends from college created a community service organization in his name, CommuniTyler. With a motto of "Make a difference and a friend", for the past six years the organization has brought people together in cities all over the country to do some good, meet some people, and drink some beer.
We are inspired by Tyler Lorenzi (May 31, 1987 − May 13, 2011) who thought the world was a great place to meet someone
Every year the community grows, and a group pops up in another city. Gradually more and more people who participate didn't even know Ty while he was alive, but felt inspired and decided to give some of their time to someone - something else.
A year later another group of his friends from college were inspired to make a full length documentary (Ty's List), exploring what it meant to "live life to the fullest". Originally inspired by a list he wrote to help a friend, the documentary narrative took a different turn to explore the relationship of three strangers, and how this death influenced them and the way they live their lives. All throughout asking each other the hard questions about life, and its meaning.
Tyler died at 23 years old. I remember at his service his dad said that it was almost as if he (Tyler) knew that his time with us was shorter than the average person - because he packed in everything he wanted to do in 23 years.
We often get lost in the day-to-day things in life. We get up, shower, commute to work, work, come home. Eat. Repeat. Many people don't think "their time" starts until they get home from work; sometimes "their time" doesn't exist until they take a vacation.
There was a time where my goal was to tell my best friend one great story - every day. If I didn't have a good story by the end of the day, I was doing something wrong. I was living wrong, or not living how I wanted to live. I lost touch of that mentality for much of last year, but I can feel it finding its way back to my present.
I don't want to "look forward to the weekend" because I never want to be in the situation where I'm trying to pass the time with anticipation for a break - just to return back to the previous state. I don't want to have the attitude that I want to get things over with, getting ready to do something else.
Instead I want to look forward to now, to today. Remember that I want to take advantage of life in the present, and everything it has to give.
It's not how you live. It's how well you live... The truth I found about life was this. We will all die. Our lives and our loved ones lives are brief. And yea, that's terrifying but that's not a reason to give up. In fact, that is actually the reason to step out the door. - Douglas H.
His mom told me one of my favorite Tyler stories, which I remind myself of often. When he was a sophomore in high school, this popular girl invited him to the Senior Prom. Not planning on initially going, he decided that he would go with her. On the night of the prom, she stood him up and he was left at his house all dressed in a suit. His mom thought that he would be crushed, but was surprised to see that her 16 year old son decided that he would go to the Senior Prom anyway without his date. He ended up having a great time, and never looked back.
So when you wake up every day and go through life, interacting with strangers, or interacting with friends - think about what motivates you. What inspires you. WHY do you do what you do. How you want to be remembered.
What story do you want to leave behind.
Full documentary of Ty's List and the actual "list" below.
If you get a chance and have some time to burn Mill Valley, Mt. Tamalpais and Muir woods are gorgeous and there is phenomenal hiking in the area. I'm not going to be there but that's where I grew up. If you have a friend who has a car and make it to Marin (the only other way is from San Francisco either by bike (which give you terrible and totally false maps, bus or ferry) some fantastic eateries:
San Jose Taqueria - hand's down the best burrito I have ever had. Go for the super wet burrito if you're hungry, and the chips are all you can eat by the way...server yourself. Its located literally underneath the 101 Freeway in San Rafael [from San Fran head 101 North. Take the San Rafael exit. Turn left on 4th street and immediately park. Its across the street from the Bikes for Kids].
Mike's Sourdough - one of the best deli sandwiches anywhere. Plus San Francisco's phenomenal bread. I can't give you directions because I forgot.
In 'n Out. Its a classic. There are a bunch.
The Dipsea - Its in Mill Valley but is my absolutely favorite brunch stop. Competes with Walker Bros....you get the picture.
If you want a long ass hike, the Dipsea is a famous 7.1 mile (or 6.8 depending on who you ask) trail that leaves from the Depot in downtown Mill Valley, climbs up Mt. Tamalpais and then winds down to Stinson Beach. Every year in June people run this race which happens to be the 2nd oldest foot race in the United States behind the Boston Marathon. You can take a bus back over the hill from the beach to Mill Valley (I think its called the Stage...but people are friendly). Oh, and you can get your bit of the Pacific Ocean at Stinson Beach, ride some waves too if you're up for it.
If you'll be in Berkeley I can give you some contacts to talk to about where to go and what to do. There are a bunch of great restauraunts in the area, especially this great chinese place which is dirt cheap on the second floor of a strip mall but I forget the name of it.
Otherwise San Francisco is a blast and a half and there's a lot to see. For more specific details hit up Goose (Elizabeth technically) email@example.com or Frank Bauch firstname.lastname@example.org for more San Fran advice. They both live there now and are Pwild alumni. They're awesome and I love them both.
For a fun day trip you can go to Alcatraz and do the tour (I think its actually kinda interesting, but is shorter than you would expect). If you do this you should watch either The Rock with Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage or The Birdman of Alcatraz a fantastic classic film.
If you're in the mood for a theme park there are 3 large ones in the area: Six Flags Great America is the California version of Six Flags with all the roller coasters, etc.
Sea World (not the awesome one in San Diego, but still pretty legit) has a ton of water animals and roller coasters. This is where I went on my first scary roller coaster--I was in High school.
Water World (fantastic water park. totally legit. but its in Concord which is the kind of a trek).
Other memorable things I'd recommend:
In Sausalito - go to the candy store. The owner let's you try as much as you want before you buy and they have a fantastic selection of salt water taffy.
Golden Gate Bridge - its pretty legit. And only 3 people died while it was under construction-or maybe none, i forget. If you walk across the bridge, stand with your back against the suspension towers and look up, if there are clouds it might feel like you're falling. Random fact: for the bridge's 75th anniversary they closed it off for pedestrians and it actually drooped in the middle because there were so many people.
Sunset - go up Mt. Tam. Basically drive through Mill valley up the mountain and when you get to the sign for Pantoll, turn right and keep driving up. At some point there will be a left hand street. Drive out for a while. Its a beautiful view.
At night - drive up the headlands for a beautiful view of the city. From SF on 101 North (aka the Golden Gate Bridge) once you get off the bridge take the first exit toward Sausalito. Once you're on the offramp, stay left through the stop sign. You'll drive under the freeway past a stop sign and then take your first right and drive up the hill. You will see gravel parking a ways up, there are old barracks you can walk out on and look at the glorious bay.
The Exploratorium - this is a hand's on science museum located in the Presidio of San Francisco. I used to work there. You can dissect cow's eyes, get yourself inside a bubble. Take shadow pictures, even go inside a tactile dome (its pitch black so you feel like you're blind and have to find your way around by feel....although this costs extra). Its awesome, and all the exhibits are interactive and a combination of art and science.
Wow...hope that's a start. Let me know if you need anything, and probably more importantly if you'll have access to a car. Are you visiting someone?
Peace, love and español