.Growing Mad: The (Mis)adventures of a Marin Zillennial

I am what they call a zillennial (aka a millennial born in 1995). So, though I remember dial-up internet and rewinding VHS rentals before returning them to Blockbuster, I’m somehow still clinging to the tail end of my 20s like Alice refusing to leave Wonderland.

But see, we zillennials don’t need to follow a white rabbit stressing out about being late to fall down a deep dark hole—we do that pretty well all by ourselves.

Such was the case when, exactly two years ago, I crawled out of my Covid quarantine and kaleidoscoped into what I can only describe as an epic and insane sort of coming-of-age fantasy, fairytale or even fever dream. And it all began when I set foot, or rather fell, into Marin to live with my mother and my grandmother in a trigenerational exercise in patience.

I set out to explore the Wonderland of Marin, technically, for the second time. But I don’t quite remember being born at Marin General, nor living next to George Lucas until I was two. And all I knew of Marin was from the [redacted] stories of my mother and father, locals from the ’80s and ’90s and both way cooler people than I.

In fact, all of the “adults” of the North Bay are decidedly more hip and with it than me, and certainly better at letting go and going with the flow.

I’ve learned a lot from these past two years interviewing the North Bay’s most accomplished minds. These uniquely brilliant Mad Hatters of Marin imparted countless reality-shattering life lessons over teacups filled with Napa red. At this ever-expanding metaphorical tea party table of my interview-ees sits a dizzying array of Buddhist monks and musicians, visual artists, beer brewers, beekeepers, astrologers, somatic nerve healers, bestselling pop sex psychologists, etc.…each offering to share tidbits of wisdom and/or insanity and even, occasionally, adventures.

One such adventure saw me army crawling through mud with a mycologist like two hungry hungry caterpillars. Along the way, I trampled a few smaller mushrooms by accident. Everyone in Wonderland is mad, I thought, and now they’ll be mad at me.

“You really need to learn to let go,” said the mycologist, suddenly smoking hookah on a giant amanita.

“That’s funny,” I replied. “The monks and astrologer who lives with a coyote named Bodhisattva said the same thing.”

I return to the tea party with my mushrooms and a certain sense of childlike wonder restored to me just as I hurtle toward 30. My teacup already overflows with cabernet sauvignon, much like my current company overflows with these life lessons of letting go and going forward.

Suddenly, a hat appears upon my head, and I realize I’ve become my own Mad Hatter. And you can’t be late to your own tea party.

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