Maybe it was strange to abruptly decide to move to San Francisco in a matter of hours. Last year around this time, however, I did just that.
Before you write me off as cavalier, what would you do if life presented you with a great roommate and an apartment with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge? Chances are you would do as I did and throw caution (and nearly all of your hard-earned cash) to the wind.
It was one of the few times in my life when I let “Why not?” propel me forward. Of all of the life changes I’ve endured over the past two years, moving from the ‘burbs to the bustling city was hardly the biggest or scariest. Yet, a year later, it is proving to be the most notable. In 365 days, a few things happened while living in my new city.
I got a new job.
Interesting roles have not escaped me, having formerly been a journalist and wine marketer. Call me an official San Francisco cliché because I now work for an app – one that’s about women’s fashion, to boot. How cool is that? Call it silly, but I daydream about reflecting on my life and telling my grandkids that I was a part of this moment in tech. I imagine they would roll their eyes at me, but that’s OK. They’re going to be adorable and I’ll likely forgive them and then say something wildly inappropriate because how else do you take advantage of being old?
Side note: If you’re not fantasizing about telling your future grandkids about your current life, you’re probably not living it right. Re-evaluate and see about fixing that right away. Each day I aspire to add another interesting entry in the compelling story that will be my life.
I bought a new car and spent over 700 hours in it.
Scoop the Coupe is my Mini Cooper. He earned his moniker because he reminds me of a vanilla ice cream scoop. He also has faux wood paneling and makes me want to sing Ice Cream Paint Job every time I hop in. He’s the cutest car in all the land and makes my insane commute palatable with tooshie toasters (seat warmers), sunroof, disco lights and fancy sound system. There’s a reason I’ve since perfected my car dancing. (If you care to follow along, follow @sparklemeetspop on Meerkat!)
I fell in love.
While much of my life is shared, I’m very private about this part and all my “feels” in general. (Am I the only one who finds emotional expression highly embarrassing? #theworst.) I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t document this fact. A simple swipe right on my iPhone screen turned into something much more than I anticipated. Given my aversion to the feels, I honestly didn’t know what falling in love meant until this year. This discovery was so surprising, in fact, that I didn’t fully realize it until it was gone.
I had my heart broken.
Fresh off feeling in love (very possibly for the first time), I subsequently discovered what it is to feel heartbroken. This is probably why I avoided those pesky feels. It sucks. It still sucks. It makes me want to take all the feels, stomp on them in my most spikey heels and drop kick them into the Bay. And then light the Bay on fire, were it possible. Yet, amidst the suckfest that is losing love, I regret nothing. I remain positive because I’m happy to have had a taste of love and am hopeful to find it again.
I tried all the food.
Bone marrow? Yes, please. Escargot? All the nomz. Oysters? Oh, did you want some because I just ate them all. I’m so spoiled that I don’t ever want to step foot inside a Cheesecake Factory again. Call me a brat. Fine. This tea leaf salad is so crunchy that I can hardly hear you.
I lost all sense of value for goods and services.
It’s true that everything in San Francisco is expensive. Store brand body wash is $10. Drip coffee is $5. I’ve somehow justified that a $7 UberPool to go a mile is no big deal. Did you know that you can even order booze on demand?
I felt lonely and am learning to be OK with that.
It’s far too easy to feel alone while being surrounded by thousands of people. When I’m tempted to be upset and indulge in FOMO and life comparisons, I do my best to fight against it. People see my digital life and think that I’ve magically escaped the hardships that come with the life changes I’ve made and that I’ve somehow found a fairytale life. I haven’t. It’s hard. I’m human.
I found my voice yet also lost it.
When I share my experiences with others in person, they say I should write about them. It is true that through these experiences I have given more attention to that still voice inside and it’s getting stronger. Yet, each time I sit at the computer to collect my thoughts, the words just don’t flow like they usually do. Considering that writing is how I make sense of the world, I’m having trouble processing this time in my life and my experiences.
So what does it all mean to have gone through these experiences? Great question. I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is this: I am where I am today because I finally found the courage to be brave and listen to that inner voice in a moment of crippling sadness. Each day I continue to crawl out of that hole and my voice grows stronger. It turns out that I’m much braver than I thought.
While I am mostly out of the darkness, I am not used to moving forward without a clear destination. As I try to figure out that part, I’m hoping the next year will also be an exercise in learning to embrace the unknown and continuing the interesting storyline of a well-lived life.