Powell Street is jam packed with tourists getting their first glimpse of San Francisco's cable cars and behemoth retail stores on their way to Union Square. I'm stepping out of the office because I need a break, or better yet, a change in perspective.
I've lived here three years and see the tourists' sights as part of my daily commute. When I witness SLRs snapping family vacation photos with the backdrop of Abercrombie's double doors, judgment creeps in.
But, I didn't take this walk to judge tourists. Instead I attempt to cast myself into their mindset: to have come a long way to arrive in a place that is new and novel, to have arrived somewhere with the intention of marveling at marvels (commonplace now to me).
I imagine that I too am a tourist, and delude myself into thinking I've been traveling for hours and I close then open my eyes, and I as a tourist I think: "I've finally arrived, I'm here! There's so much to see, this amazing city, and it's mine to explore, etc."
"I've finally arrived, I'm here!"
There's instantly a rush of adventure, and wonder again as I gawk at the bustlings and buildings of Market Street.
It's possible to take this a step further.
It's more abstract, but I next imagine myself as a tourist though time AND space, one who has been traveling not for hours, but for years and years. And what a long, strange road it's been to this very precise moment, where I've finally arrived. So much time and effort, but now I can say, "I'm here."
This isn't merely a mental stress ball technique, it's a frame of mind I try to keep and access anywhere, anytime (not easy).
Perspective shifted, earnestness in hand, ready to encounter the next destination on my weird lifelong tour, I will walk around a bit more then return to cranking out code.