… a moment to say thank you to the people who’ve been most important in my life.


I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to the people who’ve been most important and influential in my life, especially over the past few years. I tend to see my closest friends the least often these days, but each time we’re reunited it feels as if we’ve been there all along.


i see myself in his eyes.

I met Scott in high school… and depending on whom you ask, it was either big trouble or a meeting of the minds. In any case, we spent hours philosophizing and trying to figure out the universe, and just as many hours getting into trouble, and annoying our teachers & classmates with a litany of terrible puns.

Our friendship is now in its 17th year, and last summer he invited me to photograph his wedding – an awesome and highly stressful experience – but well worth it to see him so happy! (After all, he and I advised each other – whether that was a good idea or not – on just about every romantic situation we encountered).


These photos came from Scott’s wedding, but were lost until now..

Kyrie & I met for the first time in our freshman year of college. She’s featured quite prominently in the last year of my life, so I don’t need to go into too much detail… but when her creative sparks let loose and she shares her joy of living, life is an amusement park with many amazing things to do and see…

She was my partner-in-crime last year while we dated; taking pictures at Scott’s wedding; the reason I was at Grant Park when Obama was elected; together we travelled to both coasts, our college reunion, canoed in Wisconsin… she’s both a friend and a muse.


Chris posing for his re-election poster in Augusta, Maine

Chris introduced himself to me 3 times before I finally recognized him. Twice after classes at Harvard and once when we were both working the same shift at the Ritz-Carlton Boston. Within months, we ruled the overnight shift at the Ritz.

Chris’ travel stories and other experiences charmed every woman (including my telephone operator) into adoration – but he’s the humble sort. After I left the Ritz to move to Maui, Chris created for me an heroic reputation of mythic proportions among our coworkers… I’m still living that down…

He and I raced to Augusta, Maine from Boston the day before we left for a trip to Bermuda… I needed a copy of my birth certificate to leave the country.

Much to the dismay of his admirers, Chris married a high school sweetheart soon after they reunited… and now the man who called everyone “Papa” is a Papa.


Yes, jlongtine is blushing. And yes, gwenbell is the reason.

Gwen and I actually met online while I was working at Zaadz. An entrepreneur all the way, she’d moved to Japan and started a yoga studio (that she still partially owns even after moving back to the states…). Despite the crazy time difference and distance between us, we became fast friends, conversing about life, Buddhism, and a plethora of other subjects over videochat.

It’s been a whirlwind friendship – spanning two continents, at least three countries, and never a dull moment. :)


I can haz hair dis colour? Plz?

I met Ingrid through Gwen soon after I moved to Boulder, as I helped them scheme through an idea for a top-secret new venture (or perhaps adventure). She’s an incredibly talented developer. Like the rest of the Boulder tech community – I have a lot of respect for her abilities as a developer and a manager.

But she’s also been a good friend to me, heard more than one love story, and always maintained a level, even perspective on life, even when I couldn’t.


Erika and I have met in person maybe four times. She’s an amazing writer whose poems possess an intimate yet mysterious quality that always had me looking for myself in them. We met virtually on Zaadz, and for real when I was on a short business trip to LA a few years ago, and traded barbs over a few contentious games of pool. Then she moved east to New York, I moved west to Colorado.

Erika’s openness and honesty refresh me; talking with her is always helpful, enjoyable and very easy.


This was a mediocre photo in color; for me, switching it to sepia tones really brought out the vastness of that ocean.

I dated Jess for four years after we crossed paths on Craigslist – she responded to my housemate wanted ad at the same time I replied to something she’d posted. We started as fast friends, and in a crazy burst of inspiration moved together from just north of Boston to the jungle side of Maui, where we lived, studied ashtanga, split up, got back together and lived some more for almost two years.

I wouldn’t have taken the leap of faith of moving to Maui if she hadn’t suggested it then. But that experience changed my life in fundamental ways, so I owe her much gratitude for urging me to come along for the ride.

There are several more people important to me, especially those who have recently come back into my life. To each of them, I want to express my appreciation too, because they helped me become who I am now.

So to all of you.. from the bottom of my heart – thank you for sharing parts of yourselves, parts of your life, parts of your world with me; thank you for teaching me, reaching out to me, encouraging me, standing by me, and even kicking me in the ass sometimes.

Your words, your actions, your love and your support have given me so much. I truly hope that I can more than repay your kindness!

Mila (Jacob Stetser)

Mila is a writer, photographer, poet & technologist.

He shares here his thoughts on Buddhism, living compassionately, social media, building community,
& anything else that interests him.

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