I get asked quite a bit if I miss living in San Francisco. They wait for my regret, expecting it. It’s hard for people to accept that anyone would choose to leave the city. They need to hear a reason why you moved out of San Francisco and this reason has to be some sort of failure on your part.
“You couldn’t hack it, right?”
At least this is what I hear when I get questioned.
I went to college in San Francisco, then lived and worked in the city for the next six years. I don’t think there was one single action, moment – thing – that made me decide to leave and never look back. Like most of my decisions I based this one on work. Once I lost my job in the city I didn’t feel the need to be there anymore. It’s an expensive city to be in, and once I hit 30 I was ready to move on from apartment living. Renting rooms and studios. The industry I was working in wasn’t known for paying well and the hours where always on the long side, and I was ready to give it up for something else.
On our recent trip to Hawaii I met a lot of people that left the mainland for the islands, happily working restaurant and hotel jobs to support their lives on the islands. They chose their environment first, career second. That’s a tough one for me because, dude, it’s work.
I have to love my work. Where I live has never been a priority for me.
I was back in San Francisco today, helping out Gavin Jones of Duvateen Sound. Gavin is an old friend, former roommate, and recording buddy. When I would leave for work at my ‘corporate’ recording job, Gavin was at our apartment making his recording dreams happen by bringing all sorts of musicians in to make their records. He’s still at, making some excellent recordings out of his house. We’ve had long talks about how at one point we were both working as sound engineers and living in the city, taking advantage of everything that that means. Now, I’ve gone suburban. Got married. Started following other dreams and he’s kept at his original goal, getting better and better at his passion. Gavin has built up his own business on his terms and now he’s at the point where he can be working ten hours a day seven days a week if he wanted to and he loves it.
Choices. We have to make our own.
So, do I miss living in San Francisco? I miss being able to walk to restaurants, bars, and the beach. I miss Golden Gate Park and taking the bus around the city. I miss going out on a random Tuesday after work, meeting new people someplace I never new existed. The city, it has unknown corners. I miss living with my friends. So, yes. I do miss living in the city.
Do I regret leaving? No. Not at all.