So I put off writing an entry explaining my whole San Francisco living situation for some time now. I don’t even like discussing it in person; it’s almost like trying to explain to people why I had to let go of the “potential love of my life.” Broken up before anything even got started!
It lasted less than a month, but it was a month packed with the excitement of exploring a new city. A potential new home. Evenings were fun because I could meet up with friends in the City for dinner to try out some new restaurants or explore a different district. Weekends were devoted solely to discovering hidden pockets of the City; sometimes with visiting friends, other times alone.
Then there was the commute. Waking up at 6:30am to catch the Caltrain, relaxing on board for about an hour as the Baby Bullet jetted across the Peninsula, then taking the Dash shuttle to work. Total time was a grand two hours – each way. It sounds awful, but was actually a highlight of my day. I loved being able to spend mornings and early evenings reclined with a book in my seat, blasting the iPod, and not being in traffic. My commute is what finally forced me to have that peaceful moment alone – to get away from the noise and stress of my daily life.
Of course, I couldn’t whisk away to San Francisco and pretend I didn’t leave a life behind. I had abruptly taken a middle of the year “vacation” and reality was creeping in quickly. I had sudden personal family matters to attend to, a boyfriend who was beginning to lose his patience with his temporary “long distance girlfriend”, and a demanding job in its peak program season. What became clear to me were two choices: I could leave and make a new life, hoping that things will follow me. Or I could make a new home for myself where my life currently exists.
I know a few friends and co-workers that had the courage to pick up and start a new life elsewhere. Some a few hours away, some out of state and crossing from the East Coast to the West Coast, and even one who lived and worked in Europe and Asia. The reasons why my friends moved vary – school, career aspirations, a significant other, or no obligations. I admit, I envied them.
Granted, San Francisco does not measure in the same scale as an international move. But it’s not exactly down the block. However, I soon found that the allure of SF to begin with – the vibrancy of an urban city, the exciting people, the arts & culture – didn’t quite measure up to the pieces I realized that I’d be missing. A farther drive from my family & some close friends, evening activities spent calculating an hour commute home, and missing the opportunity to reaquaint myself with my home city. One or two hours may not sound too long, but it feels painful compared to the proximity of being around loved ones within ten or fifteen minutes. If I had to choose between commuting to the City to have fun versus commuting to see loved ones, the choice became obvious. Within three weeks, I moved my belongings back to San Jose. Everyone was surprised to see me come back so quickly; they all assumed the “trial month” would convince me to stay forever. Truthfully, I’m still surprised, too.
And as J and I start talking more serioiusly about our rapidly approaching future, the glamour of living alone in the City has started to fade. Why couldn’t we have a life here in San Jose? Why not start something new here? Which leads us to now… Instead of spending my weekends looking for new sights to discover (though I still do on occasion), we’re using that time to wander through model homes, comparing kitchens, wood flooring, and whether or not the walk-in closet is large enough for our taste. And I’m loving every minute of it. San Francisco will always be special, but it doesn’t always require moving away to start a whole new life. As the past few months have shown me, J and I can plan for a new life together no matter where we are – even if it’s located in the same place we’ve always been.