San Francisco & Winter Hope
Things have been a bit busy lately. (Take a look at my Status Update post for more info.)
But since I’ve switched lots of my back-related stuff to Constant Compression, I want to use this space to talk about other things.
Last weekend, Dan and I spent a few days out in the Bay Area. It was…emotional, inspiring, and fresh.
The original plan was to visit my cousin who moved out to the suburb of Fremont back in July. I’m fairly close to my cousin and I knew he’d been missing friends/family, so I wanted to visit and hang out. As the dates of our trip grew closer, Dan and I began discussing the possibility of relocating as a part of our career and life goals.
When it came to career, we both wanted to have more job opportunities available to us in our respective fields (him: Electrical Engineering, and me: mainly Organizational Psychology which has meant a combination of consulting, market research/data analytics, HR; though I’m also looking to continue building my photography acumen). In order to broaden the available avenues, we really needed to consider relocating. While we enjoy Austin and have lots of friends and fond memories here, the job market in this area is limited in some ways. As a result, both of us were finding more available jobs (and a wider variety) on the East and West Coasts.
When it came to life goals, we’d talked about wanting to live in a more metropolitan location. Having traveled to larger cities (and in my case, having lived in a couple), we missed the broader access to an array of restaurants and cultural venues urban areas often provide. Plus, we were both a bit intellectually bored – we wanted access to lectures, conferences, and other professional and personal development opportunities generally found in larger cities. Also, Dan’s interest in competitive partner dancing has led him to visit denser cities (re: generally Dallas and Houston given that we are in Texas), and it seemed to be the case that urban areas also offered more dance opportunities too.
So, San Francisco and the Bay Area became a possible contender for relocation. And thus on our recent trip, we tried to get a sense if we felt like “San Franciscans” or not.
We spent a fair amount of time catching up with my cousin and a dear high school friend, and Dan even had a lunch interview with a company, but we also talked about things like locations with BART access, city neighborhood impressions, restaurants we enjoyed, and topics like climate preferences (for the record: I like it mild; not too hot, not too cold – Dan is a bit more adaptable in this area).
The trip felt emotional because we had heartfelt conversations with both my high school friend and my cousin. Past and present definitely intersected in a poignant and self-reflective way.
Likewise, it was inspiring because of how bustling and active the area seemed. Dan’s interview especially showed him a little of what a startup’s culture can be like – full of hope, optimism, and spirit. Walking around the city, I noticed class discrepancies, urban gentrification, and progress. San Francisco doesn’t embody “ambition” the way NYC does, but it definitely had an air of potential.
And the trip was fresh in many ways. Dan hadn’t been to the area since he was a kid, and I’d spent a few hours running through Chinatown a couple of years ago on a business trip – so we were able to basically take in the area without lots of preconceptions or prior experience. Additionally, I definitely felt the sense that were we to move there, we’d be starting anew in many ways – shedding our post-college/grad school years and really coming into our own as adults, in a sense.
Of course, things are still very much undecided at this point. We’re both applying/searching for work, and discussing various cities we might move to on both coasts. Plus there are factors like our physical health, finances, and friendships/connections to consider.
But for the first time in a long time I feel…hopeful.
While a tad anxiety provoking, not knowing exactly what’s to come but knowing that it will be something very different from the present, is surprisingly rather pleasant (I say surprisingly, because as you might have guessed from some prior posts, I am not always one to go gracefully through change).
I’m ripe for new adventures and for us to start making our own opportunity.
As the holiday season switches into full blown twinkling lights, sweet treats, cold nights, human connection, and reflection/resolution, I’m finally holding onto a tiny bit of that magical/optimistic glow for us, and our future.
As always, I’ll keep you posted as things develop.
Wishing you all the very best this holiday season. And thank you. Thank you very much for reading.