I’ve been living in San Francisco for just over five months now. In that time, a ton and a half has happened. I’ve moved from NC to CA. I graduated college. I left a job, started a new job at a startup, left the job at the startup, and started my new job at a8c. I went through the intense yet fun trial process while working full time. My grandfather died. I traveled to Golden, Denver, and Boulder, CO. I traveled to Utah. I went home to Winter Park. I had my first taste of sushi (really like eel sushi for some reason). I went to the opera, Alcatraz, a playoff baseball game, and a music festival. I’ve been to countless farmer’s markets and have walked to some of the most beautiful views San Francisco has to offer. I’ve read books ranging from how altruism has helped us survive to how technology solution is something we need to think more about (what really is the internet anyway?). It’s been a whirlwind and there have been days when it has made me collapse into bed wondering what my life has become. One thing about working at Automattic that I am so grateful for is that it lets me lean into my emotions during the day. If I can feel myself getting frustrated while coding, I can put my computer away and go get a cup of coffee or walk around the block to Dolores Park. It’s also let me calm my life down and reflect more. With that said, I present to you reflections on San Francisco:
The full life experience
I was walking to the grocery store one day minding my own business when I started really paying attention to those around me. It’s sometimes hard to do that in a city full of tons of people but I felt something different that day. I saw all of life not just in the superficial characteristics of the people around me (age, gender, race, etc.) but in what they were experiencing. Some dealing with the turmoil of the teen years and some dealing with how to find their next meal. It was the entire range of life all around me. San Francisco never ceases to present the raw truth of our world everyday everywhere. Yes, there are a TON of “techies” everywhere but there is a richness that hits you at the core when you walk the streets here. When I go downtown and the people triple in number, it often leaves me overwhelmed and upset because this rawness carries with it both the very good and the very bad.
Wonderful views and wonderful food
There’s this absolutely terrible run that I sometimes go on if I am feeling particular up to getting some exercise. It goes straight up 22nd street up to the top of Noe Valley. It’s basically straight uphill for a couple of blocks. You get to the top and, if you don’t fall over, you are greeted with an incredible view. I try to time those runs around the time when the sun is setting. San Francisco has so many of these spots where you are just in awe of what’s around you. I don’t think I will ever not be left stunned by those views. Add to that amazing food within walking distance wherever you are and it doesn’t get much better.
I am officially a coffee snob because of San Francisco. I came here only really drinking Starbucks or Caribou coffee. I now scoff at both. Ritual, Grand, Coffee Bar, Bluebottle, Flywheel, Four barrel, … the list is never ending. I plan my mornings around coffee now. It is an actual event in my life. A cup of coffee and a good book if I have time. Otherwise, a cup of coffee and a nice chat with the barista who by now knows my name and greets me when I walk in the door. When I lived in Chapel Hill, coffee was just to get me through the day. Here it makes my morning.
The Opportunity to Learn
Whether it is going to a museum or talking to someone with way more life experience than me while waiting in line, there are opportunities to learn everywhere around me. Even if it is just through observation, I feel constantly challenged here to do more with what I have.