Bill and I have written plenty of posts using the experiences of authors, artists, and business people as illustrative examples. We’ve also written plenty of posts about current events and memorable, not so recent events. These posts generally follow a format – after providing context, we dispense hopefully clever observations from our outsider’s vantage point.

But there is another theme in our posts that we have written about again and again observing from an insider’s vantage point. We write about our time away, Bill’s time in Japan and my time in San Francisco, and dispense reflections that demonstrate, hopefully, personal growth and evolution. The frequency with which we revisit these experiences is a testament to their significance.

Figuring out fulfillment is as much about fine tuning our perspectives as it is figuring out how we want to spend our time. Moving to San Francisco was my effort at doing both.

Living in a place with a different culture from where we come from gives us the freedom to recreate ourselves, to keep what we want from our past and incorporate the new. We learn different ways of doing things. We challenge the way we think. We get the opportunity to evolve faster and to create new norms for ourselves.

Living in a place different from where we came frees us from the boundaries of our past. There is no substitute for immersion but perhaps there are ways to achieve the experience in increments if we actively challenge our assumptions about how the world works and what our place is in it.

Figuring out fulfillment will almost certainly demand we evolve from our past. Our assumptions are only a starting point, not what we should aim to work towards.