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!