The Honor of a Lifetime
A magical experience offering the opening address at SXSW
Growing up, I never would have imagined that I would one day give the opening address at SXSW. In part, because I never heard of SXSW as a kid (ha!). But also because, back then, it was so hard for people like me to imagine belonging in spaces like this one.
To be invited on SXSW's biggest stage. To share my stories and learnings with thousands. And to receive so much love in return. It's all a dream come true. I'm so grateful for all of it. It's been such a magical week.
I shared stories of growing up in South Texas, the same area where we were all gathered. I shared the challenges and the difficulties, and as my parents taught me, I also focused on the positive and good. I shared that chardi kala (eternal optimism) is not about sugarcoating our hardships or ignoring our problems. It's about learning to see all the good that's around us too. It's an outlook that we can develop through a daily practice of noticing and gratitude.
Countless people have helped bring me to this moment, countless people continue to teach and shape me. I'm so grateful for all of the love and care and kindness you've brought into my life.
I have to give thanks to my incredible conversation partner, Laurie Santos, a professor at Yale University and host of an incredible podcast called The Happiness Lab. It’s been so great getting to know her, and I’m excited to share that I’ll have an interview coming out with her in the next couple of weeks.
I also had the gift of meeting some personal heroes of mine, people who are doing all in their power to bring light into this world. This includes Michele Norris, Chef Jose Andres, and Daniel Lubetzky. What a special weekend and what an honor. I’m so grateful for it all.