I’ve been unhappy and stagnant in San Francisco for quite some time. If I’m being honest with myself on the timeline, I’ve been thinking about moving for about 2 years. I flip and I flop – LA, Miami, NYC, New Orleans, a quaint life in an upstate New York village? I’m searching for something, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. I keep trying to find the perfect location to start my new life. I can envision my life in each new place, but there’s always something off. I don’t want to drive. I don’t want a tiny apartment. I don’t want to deal with flying cockroaches. I want more diversity. I don’t want to live in Florida.
So, I plotted out the year and made a list of cities. Then I contemplated living abroad and started mapping out those options. Finally, I thought about the realities of my life. I’m a freelancer and I have work on the books until June, which means that realistically no move will happen until then. I’m stuck here in San Francisco for half the year. Ick.
Okay, Tara. Dig deeper. What is it about moving that is appealing to you? Is it being in a more diverse place? Having a better apartment? Having a better social life? I mean, yes, it is all of those things, but it’s also about the person I am when I’m not at home. When I’m abroad or I’m traveling for work, I am just so different. I’m so OPEN to things. I smile and flirt with strangers (both online and in person). I make solo dinner reservations at fancy restaurants. I amble through the city, just meandering and getting a feel for my surroundings. I allow myself to just be. Sure, I’ll make a to-do list every now and then, but for the most part, I really just take the time to explore. In my 9 years here in SF, I can only think of one time that I made a solo dinner reservation and it wasn’t even in San Francisco, it was in Oakland. It’s like something about being “home” means being dull and unadventurous to me.
When you move somewhere when you are young, it is exciting and vibrant and fun. You are in your early or mid-20s and everyone is partying and going out and trying new restaurants and having a grand, old time. A decade later and I’m 33, single, and childless. Many of my friends are in serious relationships or have gotten married or have children. I mean, people are having multiple children. Many have moved out of the city. It’s not that I’m not ready for that life yet – I am. I want a man and a child and all of that, but I don’t have it yet. When you are single and childless and your friends are not, you watch your social life change drastically and oftentimes you adjust your routines to match. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’m not expecting people with fresh babies to be pop, lock, and droppin it (this is how you know I’m old because ain’t nobody doing that anymore and none of the youngins will even get that reference), but I am still capable of living that life. There’s nothing stopping me from going out to bars and clubs (okay, maybe not clubs… I am in my 30s). So why have I allowed myself to give up?
I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t let anything stop you from living the life you want to live. I have seen too many people use certain excuses to hold themselves back from a better reality. “I’m not going to travel because I don’t have anyone to go with.” “I’m waiting until I have a boyfriend before I do that.” “I would love to meet someone, but I just need to lose a few pounds first.” For me, I remember trying to get a group of friends to go to LOS ANGELES (from freaking San Francisco) and being unable to make it happen. That was when I decided – fuck this shit. I’m going to travel wherever the hell I want to, even if I have to go alone. I’ve taken so many solo trips. I’ve been on at least 4 group trips with complete strangers. I may die a spinster, but God knows I am not waiting on any man to do anything. I went to an orgy by myself! There is literally nothing I can’t do alone. I’ve gained more weight than I am comfortable with, but I still put myself out there, still go on dates and have flings. I still find cute ass bathing suits and dresses for when I want to get dolled up. I’m fat, not dead. I’m always game for new experiences. I have a story for everything. And yet, in my day-to-day life in San Francisco, I’m living like a cloistered nun. Somehow, I’ve let my location become this albatross around my neck, and I can’t seem to break free.
If I left SF tomorrow, I don’t doubt that I would enjoy my next location. It would be novel and exciting and different. And after a few years… it wouldn’t be, and I would be yearning for the next city. I don’t think I’m going to live in SF forever, but I also know that I can’t spend the next 6 months bitching and moaning about this place. It solves nothing. Instead, I need to focus on how I can start being the me that I am when I’m away and bring that energy to San Francisco. Keeping that spirit of adventure and openness and YES wherever I live. I’m pretty sure once I do that, I’ll discover that I can be happy anywhere.