Saturday, February 01, 2014

The winter of my discontent

I have wanted to live in San Francisco since I was 10, and February marks my 13th year here. For most of this time, I've been living the dream I created through so much hard work. I love living here, and the community I've built over the past 13 years. I love the fog in the summer and the sunshine when everyone else is snowed in. I love my proximity to a national park and lots of amazing city ones. I love the beach, even if the water is too cold for swimming. I love my job and my friends and my neighborhood. I love that I can walk everywhere, that I can (finally!) easily navigate the city, and that I often run into friends when I'm out and about. I am rooted here, and I like it.

But I can't lie, living here this past year has been hard. Even after I signed on the finally-employed line last July, I'm still way more in line with the budget of the have-nots than with the haves. And a fall rent increase put me just slightly closer to the "maybe it's time to move" line. I am done with the scary-crazy people on the street, and the young rich kids with a ridiculous sense of entitlement. I'm over competition for parking spots and a city-wide culture that says drugs are ok. I'm sad that my city's average rent is three times the national average. And I'm appalled at our public transit system, which continues to crumble despite both ridership and fare increases.

I am, in short, completely over San Francisco right now. But what am I going to do about it?

I did some research on a potential move: if I were to leave my current place (which I love!), I'd have to pay about twice as much as my current rent. If I were to leave the city entirely, I'd still have to pay more than I do now. Adding transit and toll costs to that, in addition to extra commuting time, would dig me further into the budget hole I'm trying to climb out of.

So then I looked at options for renting with roommates. And those options are also more expensive than my current rent, and come with a whole host of hassles I don't want.

And then I bit the bullet and started poking around job and rental sites in other cities. But, well, eh. Nothing looks as alluring or as welcoming as where I am right now. And I'd be committing career suicide by leaving just as things are starting to take off. And I don't want to make new friends and find new biking routes and go through all the stress and trauma of starting over.

And, most of all, I really do love San Francisco. Not all of its parts, but definitely the whole of it.  And this year, I have to be committed to making it a better place to live.


  1. If I lived in San Francisco, I'd get that clam chowder in the bread bowls for every lunch. On every weekend, I would go to Yosemite and hike or take pictures. Well, every weekend except for those where I'd go to Tahoe, and swim and ride.

  2. Yosemite and Tahoe are two of my favorite places. I'm also really lucky that I can ride - and swim - from my front door.


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