Leaving San Francisco: Becoming a digital nomad later in life.
20 years ago I thought Silicon Valley was a mecca. The weather, the diversity, the lifestyle. And indeed, it was, for a graduate student who just wanted to complete her dissertation away from a smog-filled overpopulated place with no soul. (I'm lookin' at you, Los Angeles).
I'm not sure it was the right decision to move to Silicon Valley back then, but it served the purpose. I had relatives there, and some familiarity and it wasn't LA. Looking back in decisions like this one and others in my life, I realize that many life decisions we make are nothing more than what best serves the purpose at the time. It is in this way that we settle into routine; from these "good" decisions, and we fall into what is convenient instead of maybe what is best for our heart. An d then, suddenly we are in our 40s and 50s wondering why we didn't....
Don't get me wrong, I think the pragmatism that comes with this type of decision-making creates lives that are purposeful and even content. In many cases, they are satisfied lives. I am not one of those cases. I have always felt as if I was waiting for my real life to start. I have always thought there was time to do the things that I wanted to do. I
When I awoke with a start three and a half years ago to realize that this? This is my real life, I made a few changes. I wrote about it on Medium, and called it the Picking Now Over Never
“I realize that many life decisions we make are nothing more than what best serves the purpose at the time. It is in this way that we settle into routine; from these 'good' decisions, and we fall into what is convenient instead of maybe what is best for our heart."
Still Picking Now
After I made so many changes, I got on with what I thought was my life and moved towards a better version of myself. I made a couple of wrong choices: I got my heart broken for the first time in my life. I knew he was the wrong guy, I knew he didn't feel about me the way I felt about him, and I knew I needed to have that experience. Because I had never had it before. I am usually the one breaking hearts. There have been only two men who I chose who were wrong and I chose them because I knew they needed to teach me something. They did, and I am smarter stronger, and knew what I used to know the version of myself.
So when my landlords, who are in their 80s and have no business being on a ladder, went through a serious health scare and decided to get rid of the headache of rentals, I was all for it. I knew it was time to go. I dithered around a bit, trying to make the practical decision, but in the end, knew it was the right thing to stick all my stuff in storage and hit the road.
The day I left, my best friend, who wouldn't talk about me leaving, hugged me tightly, and told me to make sure to eat (sometimes, I forget and then get seventeen kinds of grumpy, so...). I grinned, promised to stop by in-n-out on my way out of town, and then hit the road.
I have never felt so free.