3 month SF update: life in Cali so far…

Hey there!

How’s it going? Are you enjoying the (hopefully) springy weather near you? I hope so!

I wanted to take some time today to get all of my thoughts and reflections about moving to San Francisco down on paper. For you. For me. To look back on one day. To have space to find the lessons in change and transition.

I know so many of you have gone through or will go through similar life transitions, and I thought I would let this post be a very real place to talk about what comes up throughout all these changes.

So, let’s see, where to start?

Let’s start with a bit of a recap, in case you’re new around here:

Last summer, my boyfriend, Ryan, started interviewing for a new job, and ended up getting an awesome job in San Francisco. After many deep and honest conversations spent figuring out what was right for us, we decided that he would move to SF the first week of November to start his job, and we would do long-distance for a few months, with the intention of me following him out there in January / February.

I visited him in SF a few times during those months, and then we spent most of January on an insane, stressful apartment hunt. The rental market in SF is nuts!! After looking at almost 50 apartments, we finally found one that we loved and signed a lease.

At the end of January, I moved out of my apartment in NYC and officially moved out to SF. We moved into our new place on February 8th, and received our huge shipment of all of our stuff a week later.

Getting settled into our apartment + my most homesick weeks:

Honestly, the day the movers arrived with 40+ boxes of our things plus tons of our furniture was exciting, but also incredibly overwhelming.

Those few weeks following our shipment arriving were the most homesick I felt in this entire process. There were so many steps we had to take to make this move happen, and I think that the movers delivering our stuff was that final step. Once that happened, it really hit me… holy crap, this is it. This is not just an idea anymore, this is happening. It’s here. It’s real.

I remember those first couple of weeks crying a ton, literally out of nowhere. I remember one night specifically, we were sitting eating tacos on our floor and one second I was having a normal conversation and laughing, and the next second I was hysterically crying for some unknown reason.

My emotions were so wild and unpredictable those first few weeks. I think so many things were hitting me under the surface and I really needed to take exceptional emotional care of myself and be very patient as I went through all the cycles of my emotion.

It was also such an uncomfortable time. It was uncomfortable being in our apartment with a daunting amount of boxes everywhere. We never knew where anything was. The place was a mess. Even little things – like finding a hairbrush, or that shirt you really want to wear, or a pen – lol – it was just a mess!

As someone who likes things clean and put together (and who works from home often!), I did not deal well with the chaos and messiness!

Thankfully, everyone kept telling me that Rome was not built in a day and that I had to be patient. Each day I set little goals, and just started chipping away at it. Sometimes I found it way easier to get things done without Ryan around. In between work, I would put music on and set a certain amount of time to work on it (like 90 minutes) and just go. Other times, I hated doing it alone and would wait until the weekends when Ryan was around and it felt so much more bearable and fun to do it together.

Now, we LOVE our place. It truly makes me happy every day. We are about 85% done, but still have lots of little things to do (hanging art / pictures, getting a couple rugs, finding places for some lingering things, etc.). But it feels so liveable and we love it.

How it felt to officially “move in together”:

So, I had lived with someone before. Some of you may remember, I was in a relationship for a couple years a few years ago and we lived together for over a year. Needless to say, that relationship ended, and to be honest, I have some not-so-fun memories of living together.

Although Ryan and I have an incredibly peaceful and easy relationship and get along so well, I couldn’t help but be slightly nervous about actually moving in together. Would it be similar to the last time I did this? Would we fight about stupid stuff around the apartment? Would we lose the romance and feel like roommates?

On the other hand, Ryan had never lived with a girlfriend before, so this was very new for him.

The first couple weeks of living together had some bumps. I was living in a lot of fears from the past and projecting them onto our relationship. I was nervous that what I had experienced in the past would repeat itself, and it took a lot of really open communication and patience to start to see that this was different and to let all that go.

One thing I have really spent a lot of time learning over the past few years is how to be very aware and honest about my feelings and communicate them effectively. Even (especially)  things that are really hard to feel and even harder to say.

I think that those skills really helped us navigate all of the intense change and adjustment at first, and thankfully Ryan is a great communicator, too. We are always working on getting better at this, but I’d say we’ve created a dynamic in which it feels really safe to talk openly and honestly about all of our feelings which makes everything just so much easier.

I am really thankful that I can say that we live together pretty seamlessly. I absolutely love living with him – he’s so much fun, and I find him so easy to live with. And apparently, he finds me pretty easy to live with too, ha!

On making new friends:

When I was crying a lot in the early days, it was always about leaving my relationships behind. Out of all the change, that was the thing that really ate at me the most.

My friendships in NYC were not just friendships – my girlfriends truly felt like family. And not just my girlfriends, but their husbands and babies, too. I felt 100% comfortable around them and so incredibly supported on a daily basis. Not only that, but my brother, sister, and sister-in-law all live in NYC and are some of the closest people in my life, too. And my parents, who I am super close with, spend half their time in CT, so I got to see them all the time, too.

I essentially felt like I was in a cozy little cocoon in NYC, always surrounded by people who knew me inside and out and with whom I felt total comfort.

When I first moved out here, I started meeting up with various people. Some are former clients, or people who I somehow know through my work (this is one thing I LOVE about running a virtual business – I always know at least someone everywhere I go). Some are friends of Ryan. Some are family friends or people who I was introduced to through other friends.

I would go on these “girl dates” a few times a week, and at first, it was so challenging for me. As an introvert and someone who takes a lot of time to open up and feel comfortable and at ease with people, sitting across the table from people who I barely knew felt very hard for me.

Sometimes I would come home feeling so exhausted and like I wanted to crawl into a hole and get so upset that I couldn’t just sit on the couch with one of best friends in a situation that required no effort.

I keep pushing myself though, and of course, over time, these friendships feel easier and easier. Every time you meet up with someone, you get a bit more comfortable, and so do they.

One thing I’ve done is really spread out my “girl dates”. At the beginning I was doing it too frequently for me and burning myself out, so now I just pace myself. Once or twice a week I try to meet up with someone out here, and am taking the slow road to building friendships, but it feels better for me that way.

So, this has continued to get easier and I honestly feel grateful that I am being pushed in this way. I can tell it’s good for me to practice being in uncomfortable social situations again and work through a lot of what those situations bring up for me.

Plus, I have met some great people out here so far!

Keeping in touch with people back east:

This has been HARD, way harder than I thought. The time change is definitely really tricky, because our work-days don’t line up. I can usually talk to people after work, but they’re going to sleep at that point, so it’s tough to find a rhythm.

I am very much a “let’s share a meal and catch up” kinda girl – I don’t really love the phone, because I am on it so much for my business during the day. Unfortunately, I can’t catch up over a meal with my favorite people, so I have had to get used to spending way more time on the phone and FaceTime. This has been so frustrating for me – I miss nothing more than dinners with my best friends or sitting on a couch with a bottle of wine, catching up.

It makes me so sad to miss seeing the little changes in my friend’s babies as they get bigger, and just overall, to miss quite a bit.

What has really helped is having dates on the calendar to physically see each other. Whether it’s people coming to visit us, or us planning trips back east, I’ve learned that this is my saving grace. It gives me something to look forward to and makes the time in between easier to endure.

The impact the move has had on my work / business:

I’ll be honest with you guys, I am at an interesting time in my business. I hit the 5-year mark back in December, which is also when I was in the middle of the move across the country.

Because of the move, I was basically forced to take a bit of time away from the normal pace of my business, but I also think I did that intuitively.

I’ve heard and read that it’s common for people to go through a reflective time once they get to 5 years in their businesses. I feel like I am no longer in the beginning stages or in “will this actually work?” mode. The first 5 years felt like I was trying out a whole bunch of different ideas to see what I liked, what clicked both for me and for my clients, and what made business sense. I can definitely say that I did a LOT in these past 5 years and learned sooo much.

Since moving to SF, I’ve felt this pull to take a step back, evaluate everything I’ve done, and think about how I want to move forward for the next 5 years. I feel like a totally different person than I did when I started my business, and that has led to a lot of soul searching lately to figure out what I want now.

It’s always tough to question things. To not know your exact, clear path forward, but I think it is also so crucial as an entrepreneur to take the time to step back and evaluate.

While this has been somewhat of a confusing and introspective time for me, I am so glad that I’ve been going through it, and honestly, I’m proud of myself for taking the time to reflect.

It feels like I am taking a stand for my happiness by making sure that what I do going forward is in alignment.

Every month since the move, I’ve been getting more and more clear about how I want to move things forward, and I am really excited about what’s to come. Stay tuned for so much more here as I really let my vision develop over the next several months.

Overall, I am so grateful that my business is not dependent on my location (I purposely built it this way from Day One – location freedom was a non-negotiable for me). So, the actual move did not really impact my business, it is more the fact that it coincided with my 5 year business anniversary which is bringing about some shifts.

Overall thoughts on SF and the move:

I really, really love San Francisco. I think it is such a beautiful city with so much to offer, and almost every day I think about how lucky I am to get to live here.

I was really ready to leave NYC… like, really really ready. I had been feeling that itch for my last few years there, and to be honest, I hardly think about NYC anymore. That has really surprised me. I definitely think about the people and I miss them, but I don’t think about the city or wish I still lived there.

Even though the move has been challenging – more than I thought in some ways, and less in other ways – I know in my heart that this was 100% the right move for me.

We’re so excited to keep exploring California and the surrounding areas and have some fun trips planned for the summer. I love sharing everything with you on Instagram stories, so follow along if you would like to!

Thanks so much for being a part of my life, and if you made it this far, thanks for reading my novel! 🙂

I am more than happy to answer any questions you have in the comments below… and I’d also love to hear… are you going through a transition right now, too? What has it been like?

Lots of love to you!

Jamie

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  1. Niechelle Wade says:

    I’m so glad I opened this email, this is perfect timing for me! I have been running my family’s farm business for over 20 years here in Upstate. But it is time for a change, so I have gone back to school, and I am also planning a move to CA in the next year. This means liquidating, moving kids as well, concluding my current business, putting a house up for sale, etc. It is all a bit daunting, but I’m so ready to move. I think the scariest part is the fact that CA has a reputation for being an expensive place to live, but I figure there’s at of people living there, so it must be doable, lol! Thank you for sharing your experience, I look forward to continuing to follow you on your journey!

    • Wow that is a ton of change, but you sound so ready for it… and it can be done. This is so exciting!!! Thanks for following along 🙂

      And yes, there are definitely affordable places to live in CA! xx.

  2. I moved from Seattle to Boston seven or eight years ago. It was super difficult even though I was moving to be closer to family so I had some support right there. Moving often appears on “most difficult life events” lists, and I can see why. I really really struggled, I had a major depressive episode and was just miserable for like two years. My Seattle friends are still some of my best friends but it’s super hard to only see them once a year.

    In terms of transitions now, I am almost at my two year anniversary at my job which is bittersweet. I had hoped to get my independent license in July and move on to greener pastures professionally but there were some mixups with supervision hours and I estimate it taking about another six months. I’m kind of in an internal transition, partially because I was expecting this change and now I’m trying to figure out who I am and who I want to be even if I’m not where I want professionally. I define myself by my job too much and now that I’m not on the super achiever track I need to sort myself out. I’ve also been revamping my life health wise and I have to figure out who I am if I’m not always sick and exhausted.

    So yeah, transition is hard, and apparently I’m incapable of commenting without writing a novel.

    • Aw I love the novel Meg 🙂 Your comments and stories are always welcome here. Thank you for letting me share with YOU too. I totally get the feeling of needing to figure yourself out and who you are as you go through changes in career / career identity / health / etc. These transitions can bring up a ton of unexpected feelings. Thank you for sharing, and you are certainly not alone in any of this! <3

  3. I’ll be moving to Florida in a few months with my hubby. This will be our 4th move together, so not really a huge deal…but the game changer is that we will be making the move with our first little one! That’s right, we’re having a baby in July, and moving in August! Crazy I know haha
    I would love some insight from you about making new connections in a new place. I am nervous that I will be feeling isolated with a new baby, starting the job hunt again, and in a new place again. Last time we moved we were able to form friendships through our social life – softball teams, making friends at the gym, randomly meeting people at brunch. But this time, I feel like we will be more home-bound, and I sometimes find it hard to put myself out there, especially when I have a good excuse, like I’m too tired or too busy.
    This post spoke to me regarding making new friendships and new relationships, so I would love to see more posts from you on this! I love the way you approach life, and you have a way of stating things that just resonate! Glad you’re loving SF!!

    thanks 🙂

    • Hey Sunny!! Ah congrats!!! That is so so exciting. My advice would be to join any sort of mom groups (I am sure you have received this advice already…). I think it’s important to just be open to communities that are in alignment with where YOU are at in your life, which like you said, is different than where you were at in the past. I know that in SF I have already heard of lots of mom-centric events. Mom entrepreneurs, new moms, expecting moms, mom brunches, etc. I bet if you seek that out, you’d find that you can find other women going through the exact same things as you. My mom always says that her best friends came from meeting people through us as babies! Hope this is helpful. xoxo.

  4. Carolyn Wilson says:

    Jamie,
    So glad to hear how everything is going for you.
    Sounds like lots of great things in the middle of a major transition.
    Glad you are enjoying SF. We fly in there when we visit our daughter who
    lives in Eureka, CA. We always try to make a few stops there just to enjoy.
    We made a major move back in 2001.
    Our girls were 7 and 9, and we moved from Oregon to Nashville, TN.
    We didn’t really know anyone in TN, and we didn’t have jobs etc…just made the move.
    We will celebrate 17 yrs. in Nashville this August. So unbelievable to me.
    It’s definitely the best move we have ever made. My husband was able to get published, and has 17 novels.
    I love singing, songwriting, and performing. It’s been so much fun being in this town. I found my tribe:)
    We absolutely LOVE it here, and have no plans of moving ever again:)
    I do remember having to adjust though. Lots of changes, lots of decisions to make etc…
    So many challenges, but it was so exciting. Still feel so excited to live here in Music City:)
    Our girls are turning 24 and 26 soon, and we have two grand children. So very blessed.
    Congrats on all of your happenings. So happy for you and Ryan, and wish you both the very best.
    Always great to hear from you.

    Carolyn Wilson

    • Carolyn, I love this. It warms my heart to hear from people who have gone through these transitions and phases before. There is so much wisdom and perspective in your comment… thank you. I am so glad to hear you have been so happy in Nashville – I love that place, too!! Your own journey is so inspiring to me, thank you for sharing. xoxo.

  5. Three years ago I moved in with my boyfriend from the Napa (Wine Country) to a little town in CA called Elk Grove. I was very independent & I hadn’t lived with anyone for years and years. Too many to count. Living with someone after all those years was so difficult. The compromising, annoyances & stress from someone else’s life sent me out the door 1 year later. When I was on my own I did what I wanted to do & had more peace and quiet in my life, so I wanted that back, but I’m a lot older now and having a companion I thought was important, so I moved back in and every day I’m slowly finding that having someone to share the good & not so good times is kind of nice. And each day the two of us our finding our way together, because the best thing to hold onto in life is each other.

    • I totally get this, Dylan. I certainly mourned the “living alone” phase, and sometimes still wish I had that time to myself. It is just so different when living with someone else. But I also know that big picture, it feels so good to share my life with someone. I am so glad you two are finding your way together… day by day!! xoxo.

  6. I grew up in rural upstate New York and was living in Scranton PA for 2 years before I moved to Charlotte almost 10 months ago for my job. I started a brand new job, this was ultimately my first real job as a dietitian. My boyfriend also came with me and we were moving in together for the first time. So clearly I was going through multiple huge transitions at the same time! Charlotte is definitely super different from where I grew up and where I was living previously. I’ve always lived close to my family or my boyfriend’s family, so we had a great support group back home. We knew no one going into this move, which has been a little challenging and daunting at times. Making friends as an adult is hard. The transition of living together has gone very smoothly as I feel my boyfriend and I have a very peaceful and compatible relationship, as well. The most challenging part for me is feeling at home in Charlotte, making friends, and missing home. It’s definitely gotten better, but I’m not sure I see Charlotte as my long term home (and I’m okay with that). I’m starting to join some organizations and get more involved in my community, which I’m looking forward to. I was in the very beginning stages of starting my own business before moving, but that has been put on hold while I adjust to my new life and surroundings. Sometimes I feel guilty for “how long” it seems to be taking me to get adjusted to this transition, but I have to keep reminding myself that there is no time limit on how to feel.

    • YES. There is no time limit! People keep telling me it takes at least 12-18 months to feel even remotely “at home” anywhere new, so I think we still have some time to get used to everything 🙂 Thank you for sharing… I am so there with you. Also, I love Charlotte – what a fun and wonderful place to move. xoxo.

  7. Carolyn says:

    I moved halfway across Canada six years ago all by myself for a job. It was supposed to be only for 15 months but a series of jobs, a career change and one man later and I am still in the Yukon. I so admire you for the effort you are putting into building new relationships. It literally goes without saying that you aren’t comfortable relying on Ryan to be your only source of social connection, which is the right way to go! It really is tough to build female friendships as an adult, I found especially in my thirties and not a mom, I don’t have a lot in common with a lot of women my age. And I so hear you about keeping in touch by phone just not being the same! I really miss my brunch and movie dates with girlfriends in Toronto. As an introvert, now it is often so much easier to just stay cocooned at home – and my partner is my best friend so it is even easier!
    I’m glad that you are finding some like-minded women there though, and liking SF. It can be so eye opening and enriching to live in a different part of one’s country (I bet there is some culture shock between NYC and SF!). Thanks for the update Jamie, all the best to you and Ryan as you build your lives there!

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