Over the last year, a lot has changed in my life, and I haven’t mentioned most of it here. So I thought now might be a good time to share a quick update.
The short version: I sold the majority of my stuff (including my TV), moved out of my house, became a landlord, handed over the keys to my first set of tenants, took a big trip to Egypt (and here), gained a cuddly new nephew (Luke!), pitched my boss on a move to San Francisco, actually found an apartment (in only about 36 hours) and moved here In June. Then my first tenants moved out, and I rented out my house to a new tenant.
Why make such a big change? I wanted to feel less comfortable… It’s easy to get so comfortable that you don’t challenge yourself or continue to grow. Life can be too easy. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel after renting out my house and moving to San Francisco, but now I can safely say that I’m glad I did it. Of course, I’ve missed my family and my friends; I definitely have. I’ve even missed my house a little, but that’s to be expected. But in general, I feel lighter and ready for whatever’s next.
Below are a few pictures of my new apartment in San Francisco. It doesn’t always look quite this neat, but having less stuff definitely helps…
What I’ve Learned
In the process of moving out of my house and living semi-nomadically before moving to SF, I came to the following conclusions. Good to know, right?
1) It’s amazing how quickly we can accumulate stuff and how little that stuff actually means to most of us. So good riddance to all that the extra stuff! Hopefully it found a new home where it can be useful and not just clutter.
2) I don’t mind being a landlord. I thought I might be very protective of my house, but it hasn’t been weird to see other people in it at all. My tenants have been great, and other than a couple of pesky maintenance issues, I haven’t had any problems with being a landlord. There’s still time for that, but all signs point to smooth sailing so far. Knock on wood.
3) I missed having quiet, real quiet. When you live alone, you can pretty much count on having quiet when you want it since you’re the only one who makes the noise. Less so when you live with others. But quiet is a finicky thing for me. When I don’t have it, I want it, but once I get it, sometimes I don’t really want it. In the past, when I’ve lived by myself, I left the TV on for the comfort of the noise. Not possible these days since I don’t have a TV. I may get one, but I’ve been fine without it since June.
4) I definitely missed having my own kitchen. I don’t require all that much in this department, but I missed the shape and feel of my water glasses and my coffee mugs. Also, it’s easy when you’re not in your own space to end up eating out a lot. Or when you live in SF. When I eat out too much, I miss simple homemade meals.
5) I really do need and want a home. This sounds obvious, but for a while I questioned it. The nomadic traveler is a romantic ideal that definitely appeals to me. Some people are cut out to be true nomads – carrying the things they own with them and moving from place to place for months and years on end. I’m not one of them. I love to travel, and I’d like to do some extended travel, but my limit is probably about 6-8 weeks, definitely not indefinitely. I like to live leanly, without a glut of stuff, but I always want to have a place to come back to. It grounds me and brings me back to center. That much I know for sure.
6) I enjoy an urban environment with lots of public transit and easy walkability. Spending time in SF before moving brought back a flood of memories from the years I spent in DC, and I missed the urban lifestyle, but also the particular lifestyle I had at the time. So far, I’ve enjoyed living in the city. Most of urban living is good, but it definitely has it’s moments – i.e. when walking to Nordstrom to make a quick return means three particularly long blocks through the heart of the Tenderloin filled with the suggestive cat calls that involves, when you discover you accidentally shipped the air mattress you bought on Amazon to your old address in Dallas and now need a replacement for the next morning requiring a zip car and rushing across town, and occasionally being super squished between people on the morning bus that it’s hard to maintain your footing on the hills through Chinatown.