So it’s officially the end of the first month of 2015. Things have been slow sometimes, hectic others. I honestly wish life things could be spread out more consistently but I guess you can’t pick and choose what life throws your way.
So I wanted to update some of the things I have been working on for this year. As you might remember, my theme for this year has been living outside of my comfort zone. Having moved to SF during the latter half of 2014, much of the beginning of my time here was spent getting acclimated– new apartment, new job, new everything. And then once the dust settles (as it always does– by the way– in all the good things as well as bad things in life), you look around and you wonder, “What now?”
All in all, things have been ok. In this month, here are some of the things I’ve been able to do: dinner during Restaurant Week, volunteered twice (once at a food bank with my friend, another with a group at a homeless shelter), Sketchfest at the California Academy of Sciences, Happy Hour with my former coworkers, a former coworker/friend’s painting party and other little things here and there. It’s been a pretty decent month.
Along the way, I have been asking my friends for advice and tips for reacclimating to a new space and their feedback has been super helpful. I’m sharing some of the things I’ve learned and picked up from these conversations and just other things that I’ve generally been learning in this process.
1) My friend moved from the SF Bay area to Miami for a job. I asked her the things she did to start building a life there and she said she signed up for MeetUps and did a lot of things with her coworkers. I have tried to follow suit and it’s been good. I try to sign up for presentations, walks/exercise things and volunteer events.
2) Happy Hour with my former colleagues was pretty nice. It was all people who used to work at the company in Silicon Valley who are now located in SF. As we were leaving, we marveled at how nice it was to get together and someone wondered aloud, “Why haven’t we don’t this before?” And in truth, it’s really because for some things, you need that catalyst to make it happen. In this case, it was supposedly for a former coworker who is very pregnant. However, this being her last workday before maternity leave, she wasn’t able to attend. But it was a good time and I hope we have more in the future.
3) Another thing that I’ve realized is that often people are very willing and able and interested to do something, but they just don’t ask– be it because of lack of confidence or assuming that others don’t want to join. So now when I’m interested in doing something, I’m much more proactive about asking around to see if anyone wants in. This is kind of a duh thing, perhaps, but I guess I’m just surprised that how much people keep things to themselves until you actually bring it up to them.
4) This is something of a tangential thought but I think the advent of technology has really killed people’s sense of presence and connection. I know that in the past this has been true for me. When I first graduated from college, my best friend moved to Italy and I spent a lot of time at home, thinking about her, emaling her and generally not getting out as much as I should have. In the end, we had a disagreement after a trip and didn’t keep in touch. But the same seems true today– that we rely on chatting and social media to have a sense of community. I know that this is currently true for me so I have been trying to rely less on technology-based relationships and get out there and connect with people in real life. It’s been really good.
5) Somewhat related to #3 and #4– people are really open to connecting, sometimes you just have to be bold and get things started. At Sketchfest, I sat next to a woman and we struck up a conversation. At the end of the show, I asked her if we could connect via LinkedIn and she agreed. I’m not saying that I’ve found my next best friend but she is also a single, urban professional and lives in the neighborhood so it’s nice to keep building your network for even simple things like a walk around the park.
6) Finally, the thing that I’m learning and that as an introvert I struggle with, is just saying YES. If someone asks you to go to something or put something on your calendar or suggests something, etc., just say yes. Don’t go home and hermit and read by yourself. Get out there, if even for a little bit. Again, maybe a duh point but something that I am always reminding myself.
So that’s it from me. LIfe isn’t 100% but it’s good and I’m still working at it.