Fork in the Road

Hello Journal that I haven’t posted in for a year (maybe longer)? It’s 5am, and I need a place to write. I can’t sleep. My life is changing.

We decided today to move to D.C.

I’m mostly excited. I’m also extremely sad. If this all happens the way we want it to work, we have a little over three months left in San Francisco, one month of which we won’t be here. I will be one month away from eight years. Last weekend, we were house-hunting in Protrero, talking about the next five or ten years of our life, raising kids, getting a westie, going camping. NG had just received an offer from a big company in Oakland that paid well, and more importantly, that he was excited about. We talked about our life out here, how to make it work, how we loved being here in the city together, all the things we still wanted to do.

That was last weekend.

Monday, NG received an offer for a govt job — one that he had been trying to get for over a year. The one we talked about in theory, as in, “I’ll only move to DC if you get your dream job.” He got it. I don’t know about “dream job,” but in my gut, I know it’s what he wants to do, and where he wants to be.

But. I’m still sad. Really really sad. But that’s a good thing. I’ve had really amazing years in San Francisco, and also, really terrible ones. My relationship with San Francisco and this area has been love/hate. This, was a good year. A great year in many ways — we got engaged, we explored a lot, camped a lot, ate a lot (too much probably), laughed a lot. I started to love being here again when NG moved here, and that tells me a lot. Life is life, regardless of where you live. What makes it good are the people you share it with.

A part of me wonders what life would be like if we scrounged our pennies together, bought the loft we had been talking about, lived out here until our kids were a little older. I’m going back and forth on this ideal — is that lifestyle even attainable? Every way I think around it, it seems like the impossible equation. Currently, NG and I both make pretty good salaries. With his new job, he’d make more money, and we could do what everyone here does — move out of the city, buy a house in Marin, work crazy hours and/or stressful jobs in order to pay for our awesome house in an awesome location. If our day-to-day life is anything like what it is now, we’ll have nothing left for our potential future families, and nothing left for each other. Every weekend, we’ll escape from the city in search of just a few hours of solitude, peace, and rest. I love this place, but I don’t know how much longer I could do it, working to the bone, just to keep our head above water.

In the DC area, we could afford a house on one person’s salary. We could save money. We could travel more, further. We’d have our day-to-day lives back. We could be closer to family. DC is not San Francisco, but it’s a new place to explore, lots of things to do. In my mind, a better quality of life for the things that both NG and I really value.

Things I’ll miss:
The fog, in general, the perfect outdoor weather
The remote, rugged beaches, that are cold as hell
Landscape so beautiful, it feels as if your heart will break in two
My friends. I’m really going to miss the group of people who I’ve shared my life with out here. I don’t see them a ton on a daily basis, but its more the idea that I could call any one of them up and have a bbq or go to the park. Fortunately, I don’t think that distance will do much to change my friendships with these people.
Sushi and Dungeness crab
Running along the embarcadero after work
Tyger’s Diner (in general, I will miss this neighborhood, and the people we’ve met, a lot)
The network of discount stores I frequently shop.
Divey bars that have latino karaoke, wrinkled hot dogs in a crock pot, and Hamm’s beer
The ability to change terrain in 3.5 hrs
The way it feels at night, surrounded by Victorian architecture, on a hill overlooking the bay
The smell of eucalyptus
Sea Ranch
Hipster nights
Golden gate park, dolores park, glen canyon park
The way I feel when I cross the bridge back from the East Bay into SF, and the city just comes into view. It never ever ever gets old to me.
Fresh organic produce delivered to our door/Farmers market
Being able to get anywhere without a car
California camping. It’s perfect, the way I always dreamed as a kid, because yeah, i dreamed about this stuff oddly enough.
Hippie grocery stores. Like hard core ones with weird shit.
The idea of the West. I think somehow, I’ll be back. Gimme 20 years.
The person I was when I first moved here, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed. Full of hope, full of dreams. I haven’t been that person for a long time, but I’ll always miss the part of me, the part of my life that was San Francisco.

Things I won’t miss:
How things that are only 7 miles away, seem like forever. I’ve been to East Bay how many times since I’ve lived here?
Parking, or lack thereof
Not having a garage or driveway
Sharing walls with other people
Our house that is falling apart with no doors that are hung at 90 degree angles, and a back door that has been filed down so many times that it won’t close
Walking up hills after a long day at work
Convenience fees for every thing
Hipsters/SF Dbags that pretend to be outdoorsy and laid back but are seriously the douchiest people on the planet.
Yippies (yuppie + hippies)
Danny’s room
My job
Having a top floor and bottom floor that is not connected to each other except on the outside
Bay Bridge
Bad cyclists
Dbags with racks on their car who never use those racks
Reserving crap 6 months in advance (I’m sure this is not the only place. i’m hopeful it will be different though)
Our busted kitchen that has the worst layout ever
People who cannot function without first checking yelp, or who can’t attend a concert or anything, without immediately blogging about it, taking a photo of it, tweeting it, etc
Silicone valley multimillionaire nerd mentality. Annoying and entitled.
Parking 10 blocks uphill from my house. Moving the car every 2 weeks.

Things I’m looking forward to:
Buying a house with a basement
Being close to both of our families
Change in weather/seasons
Proximity to NYC
Being warm in the summer
Chick fil A
A hopefully, not-so-stressed out existence
Free museums
Exploring new places
Parking lots
Having more than one closet
A real garden
A dog
A driveway where we can finally park the airstream trailer we’ve been wanting
buying real furniture, finally
Painting or decorating a place the way I want
wearing summer dresses (i have so many, i wear them once a yr, maybe)
renaissance fairs. heh. pretty ghetto out in cali.

Like all change, I’m not so resistant to the change itself, but more, the inability to let go of the past. I’m too sentimental for my own good, and the moment this started to become more real, I started to become really sad. It started to sink in that my life was different, and would be different. The trifecta of change: getting married, moving, new job (? or at least ending my old one and trying to determine what I really want to do).

In some strange way, I’ve always known that I was on borrowed time here; that it was never meant to be forever. And for some strange reason, I guess I always felt the change would happen after the seven year mark. I’m going to spare the long thoughts on how I felt I’ve grown and changed and what I’m taking away. The truth is, I came out here on a dream, to find myself, to live in a place I’ve never lived, on my own. I’m leaving still searching for those same things — still trying to figure out who I am, what I want to do, and what it all means. I’m better for doing it though. Better because of the people I’ve met, and experiences I’ve had. And if I had to sum it all up, it would be something incredibly cliche, something like, live the best life with the time you have left. Enjoy every moment as much as possible. It goes by fast. Really, really fast. What a ride — amazing and difficult, and surprising, and heart-wrenching, and so many other things I couldn’t possibly ever describe. What a fucking ride.

I’m going to be forever tied to this area, and I think, no matter where life takes me, I’ll somehow find my way back. I’m ready for the next chapter of my life. Holding my breath, closing my eyes, and trusting that this is right.

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  • jj
    August 18, 2010 at 8:28 am

    I feel the same way about Texas. Someday I’ll be back. Just a different chapter of my life that must be explored. Very interesting that it’s coinciding with marriage, etc. though. Like a real new chapter. A real new you.

    We couldn’t probably afford a house where we wanted it on 1 person’s salary. But you can if you move further out.

    I can get around without a car, depending on the situation it’s actually preferable.

    I found a late night Chinese seafood place we always go to in Falls Church (near the Viet area). They have live Dungeness as well as live Maine lobsters, reasonably priced. We’re so addicted and go once a week.

    Farms are everywhere in Virginia. The land is very fertile…I even found a place where I can arrange to meet and pickup local Longhorn (leaner) at the same price as the crap meat in the grocery stores. And we have a big organic market now (fueled by “100% wind power”) called Mom’s.

    There is tons of theatre!! I’m always going to something this week or the next. And a great baseball team (well except for their record) and ballpark. And tons of Texas Exes so we can see any game. There are so many cities to explore up here (you’ll love Philly & Pittsburgh), although yes the terrain is one of 2 – beach (where you can swim tho) and lush forest. West Virginia has great white water stuff though and is probably the most mountainous. Although the Virginia farmland areas nearby remind me of Napa…near the beginning of the Blue Ridge Mts. We also have a cabin in the Adirondacks we can go to, NYC, the Amish in Lancaster…it’s different, yes. But I’ve grown to really like it here. I’m not a big fan of the job, but, I’m lucky.

    You can always visit the West. We need to make another trip soon. I’m thinking a road trip all over Utah would be grand. You also can get to Europe in 5 hours.

    Can’t wait to have you in the ‘hood :). Although there are annoying people here too – the silver spoon politician kids that think they rule the world, politicians themselves, lawyers, etc. There aren’t any hipsters though. <3

  • jj
    August 18, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Just remembered Jessica is here too, at least for another couple of years.

  • veronika
    August 18, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    lots to look forward to, I know, just sad thinking about it, like breaking up with a boyfriend you had since high school–you both need different things, and are in different places in life, but you still love the person.

    might have been a good thing ng didn’t stay in the military. id be sniffling and sentimental every couple of years when he got reassigned. just funny that when I was finally resolved to living out here, and starting to love it again, that’s when this happens. go figure.

    also weird to be planning life like this. of course anything can change, like almost immediately (just like this move), but realistically, we probably won’t make it back here for a long time, and then we’ll be prob. old, kids grown up, and I’m sure it just won’t be the same.

    not sure what i’ll do about job, and I guess im not really worried for the first time ever. at least out there we could find a house or something cheaper and afford it without stressing like crazy if one of us lost our job. kind of just want to do my own thing – take pictures of crap, start (or continue or focus) on my camping/travel blog thing. dont know.

    gonna be sad to leave here because of all the memories. just makes me want to revisit all the places Ive ever been and recount the memories i had there so ill never forget them. gonna be sad to leave the friends i made out here, that ive taken for granted that will always be there. real, adult friends, not high school or college ones. soon, a lot of them will be moving on with their lives too (probably out of the city as well), and it just makes you realize what a fragile, yet special time + place we all shared. end of summer camp feeling.

    anyway. hopefully we’ll have time to take a road trip back, but even if we don’t, Im sure there will be plenty of weekend trips back to the bay.

    do you talk to jess much? the fuck is she up to? still doing law? i have literally not spoken to her since we shot our cover album back in 2003 on the wharf. remember that? fuck. memories.

  • Kevin
    September 22, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Thank you.