First steps: On fostering family and community

I’m finally ready! Ready to start and try something new.

This may sound like the ramblings of an idealistic millennial, but bear with me — in an age when artificial intelligence is taking over human jobs, we need to think seriously about the ideal way to live and work.

Having a year off to witness my son Soma’s important milestones made me realize just how important it is to be actively involved in his development. I want to witness his first steps and first words, but equally importantly, I want to work with him to overcome the challenges of growing up, and equip him with a solid foundation to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world. A rigid office job will likely prevent me from fulfilling these very basic desires, hence my decision to join and shape a community of like-minded professionals. We call ourselves Straylight.

After much thought about my ideal life/work environment, my aspirations came down to the following components:

Having balance and flexibility

Straylight strives to promote sustainable, balanced, adventurous lifestyles, made possible by sharing resources to minimize financial burdens, and enabling us to to be more comfortable, active, and balanced in our work, social, family, and personal lives. I believe this is deeply connected to the concept of social capital, where trust is the currency for transactions between individuals. For me personally, this means working with empathetic community members who share their time, the most valuable resource of all, and knowing that they are there to care for and guide me and my family.

Working with people I love and admire

Unsurprisingly, the people who inspire me are also my close friends and family. Plenty of research suggests that working with friends and family is a bad idea; however, when life and work are so intricately connected that work becomes a lifestyle, it means co-workers must be friends and family. It’s easier to walk away from a failed business if the people involved are not important, but like the best relationships, businesses require time, commitment, patience, and a mutual desire to want to make it work — so I am conscientiously choosing to work with the people whom I love and trust the most.

Learning new skills

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Straylight encourages its members to contribute to a shared library, and to engage in the personal development of others through mentorship. This cycle of give and take should not be limited to universities, and will be replicated and improved upon within our community. This way, continued learning is not a lonely undertaking, but a dynamic, social adventure.

Together, these elements make up the culture that I want to live, work, and raise my child in.

Each generation has worked hard to make life better for the next, and I believe that my contribution to Soma’s life is to construct a new way to live and work. There will be plenty of critics, roadblocks, and internal dilemmas ahead, but the journey and potential outcome surpasses all of of that. I am rising to this challenge, and hope that you will follow and cheer me on.

Straylight is in its infancy, and will evolve with our members and the projects that we undertake. If you’re interested, follow us here:

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