I’ve been very lucky to have a supportive family and a few friends that are always there to give advice. When we embarked on this trip one year ago, it was San Francisco that I thought would bring me happiness. My dream of working in tech (even if only for a short time) and making a difference (and some money) was my key to happiness. This was an important time because what my father told me as a kid was validated that happiness is more than where you live and who you know.
If you’re a kid from a small country town with a knack of development or engineering and SF has turned into your “escape” or chance to change your life, that may be the case but it’s not going to magically happen quickly and without a ton of hard work and you won’t magically become happy now that you’re living here.
To be frank, I moved to SF with a healthy amount of acquaintances who made things a little easier but it’s friends and relationships that bring happiness and enrich your life. Paychecks, acquisitions, inventions and creations are great but the happiness isn’t sustainable.
As far as quality of life, SF can be wonderful if you live in a neighborhood that’s clean, crime free and spacious so choose where you live carefully. I was blinded by technology, people with like interests, the golden gate bridge and possibility of finally fitting in. All of this was great but it’s a quick high that subsides. Laura and I still don’t have “best friends” in San Francisco and I foresee this being far off given our work schedule but we are strengthening non-work relationships every day and building friendships.
I had a family friend who would go to Ireland once a year to “clear his mind” and if he didn’t go, it would cause his work performance to drop and his stress level would be out of control. He needed that escape to “simpler times” and SF to me was a year long getaway from “life” but I was looking at things the wrong way. I know know that there’s a young person like me looking to get away for a change and SF isn’t that city. There are other cities that are “simpler” while still being large and I suggest you travel the world before settling down someplace. I know this section is kind of going on and on but it’s hard to truly explain what I mean.
I’m happy here but I didn’t “find” happiness. I created happiness and that’s my point. You can create that anywhere and it has nothing to do with geography.
Celebrities, Tourists & Homeless
San Francisco isn’t Los Angeles or New York and that’s part of what makes it great. The title of this section does explain what the three have in common. First of all, celebrities to visit San Francisco and a few even live here. The great thing is, you’ll never see them and camera crews don’t follow them around. Celebrities are just like you when in SF and that’s why I enjoy it here.
Tourists are impossible to miss. I’d like to help you not be a tourist. First of all, don’t ever visit Fisherman’s Wharf unless you’re going to In-N-Out Burger. Also, don’t buy a shirt, hat, wrist strap, jacket or thong that has “San Francisco” written on it. Trust me, it’s no cool and you’re a total tourist if you do. Don’t go to Union Square for any reason because it’s all tourists. Finally, don’t wear a camera around your neck, ride the cable car stop on the sidewalk to stare at things. Over a dozen times, I’ve been walking on the sidewalk as a couple of tourists stop randomly to look at a building. Move to the side before you stop please because if you don’t, you’re a tourist.
When our current mayor, Gavin Newsom was elected to SF city office, one of his primary goals was reducing homelessness in San Francisco. Well, it’s up and still rising. Over half of San Francisco is to the point where you can’t walk a single block without being asked for money. I’ve given money but I can’t always give since I’d be broke by the time I got to work. It’s a city problem that must be fixed. All I can do is warn you. Don’t give, say now, don’t play along if someone starts singing to you and always keep your eyes open for suspicious characters, especially at night. I’d go in more detail on this but there’s not much to say for the sake of this post.
I only wrote 15 pages and really was looking forward to writing more of this but there were some things more appropriate for a separate blog entry and others that I’ll save for a special occasion.