It is 7:30am. I am being quiet since my roommate is still sleeping. He tends bar at an upscale taco place across the city and gets home around midnight or 1am, long after I have retired to the world of dreams.
Unfortunately, the kitchen resides directly next to his room. Since I am an early riser and I refuse to give up my morning green smoothie, I stealthily add my ingredients in the kitchen and tip toe with the full blender down the hall to the study where I plug the cord into the power strip on the floor, take a seat and, like a modern witch concocting her brew, proceed to press a button and watch the once separate specimens join together to form a single green glob; thick, slightly sweet and a bit crunchy (the latter thanks to the handful of nuts I add at the end).
I walk back into the kitchen and pour my creation into a tall glass. By this time, the coffee machine is now exhaling its asthmatic-like breath, letting me know that my caffeinated bean water is ready for me as well. With my two beverages in tow, I head back to the study and open my laptop, which brings us to the present moment.
Hello to you, old friend.
I left the jungles of Costa Rica a little over 6 months ago. Part of the decision was intuitive (something is calling me back to the United States) and the other part was practical (the woman who owned the place I was renting was coming back to live there, so I would need to find a new spot anyway).
With just a small suitcase and a traveler’s backpack, I loaded up all my things and trekked back to the place I was raised: San Francisco, California.
My dad was kind enough to let me stay with him for the first several months and, happily, we got along better than we ever have. I think it’s because I’ve stopped trying to change him and also because he’s becoming more respectful of my (unconventional) life choices and values. There is something very fulfilling about realizing that you can actually learn to live peacefully with your parent as an adult.
Soon after returning, I obtained a few yoga teaching opportunities, put on a couple of workshops and marketed my coaching services. I learned to ‘hustle’ in my own way and observed that culture of this city has continued to evolve dramatically since my departure six years ago.
My initial plan was to return back to Costa Rica in April, but, as the saying goes: ‘We make plans and God laughs.’ Instead, I fell in love with a man and we are now talking about moving in together. This and other factors have lessened the pull for me to return to Costa Rica to live…at least for now. However, I am glad to say that I am at least keeping a connection with my jungle home as I am in the process of creating a woman’s empowerment retreat with a couple of friends that we will host down there later this year.
That said, and the whole point of writing today, is to come to grips with something that I haven’t wanted to admit to myself: I don’t like San Francisco anymore. I don’t like the fast-pace. I don’t like the expensive rent. I don’t like the fact that even the spiritual community hustles more and in ways that make me uncomfortable (and understandably so when one has to make enough to pay an average of $2,500 per month for a studio apartment!). I don’t like the fact that even when it’s sunny, the chill from the bay sneaks in and, before you know it, you are ice-cold down to the bone. I don’t like the traffic. I don’t like the disconnection to nature. I don’t like watching techies on their blue tooth, talking about some ‘deal’ to the point that they don’t even acknowledge the person who is checking them out at the grocery store.
I could go on and on. However, the truth is that I have no anger behind the ways in which The City and myself have evolved away from each other. Instead, I feel a sense of loss. My relationship with the city in which I grew up has become clear. We are just not a good fit. Despite the fact that, during my travels, I had always looked at this place as a safe haven that I could come back to whenever I felt lost, I am realizing that this story is no longer valid.
My partner has been feeling the same thing (he is from Cairo and, while he is no stranger to busy and crowded cities, this hub of the entire tech world is a new level of intensity). Although he was working in tech when he lived in Egypt and Qatar, his efforts to secure a job in a similar industry have yielded nothing here, despite his endless attempts and several near-misses. San Francisco is truly a beast in and of itself.
Fortunately, we have a very unique and wonderful opportunity coming up next month; an opportunity that will allow us to return to a slower pace and connect back with nature. We have been offered a house on a beautiful farm just outside of The City, complete with lots of freshly grown, organic produce and many animals (including baby goats!). This is a place where my partner used to volunteer not long after he moved to The United States. I had the opportunity to visit it once with him a few months back, so we both know the feel of the land and how it adds to our sense of serenity.
I have not fully committed to joining him on this venture but, I likely will. Here, we both hope to dust ourselves off from the burdens of city living and gain clarity about our next steps. By changing up my environment, I am also looking forward to re-rooting into my coaching business again with a fresh sense of connection, creativity and offerings.
During this next month, however, as I live in a gorgeous new house in The City, while I cat-sit for a friend of mine who is off traveling, I have the time to say ‘goodbye’ and to mourn my relationship for the place that bore me. While I’m sure I will come back on weekends here and there to visit my dad and friends, it won’t be the same.
San Francisco, I will always have love for you, but we have grown apart. I keep thinking that maybe we’ll find our way back to each other, but I must face the reality of the situation. I owe it to myself to honor where I am heading and give myself the best opportunity to thrive. I can’t do that here and, bless your soul, I know that you wouldn’t want anything other than total bliss and alignment for myself and for my work. I want to think of you as fondly as I can, so it’s best that I go now before I become bitter and disenchanted.
Thank you and take care.