Moving to and living in San Francisco is probably the second most difficult, if not the most difficult, thing I have ever done. Not particularly because either of those things are inherently difficult, but because I came with a purpose which I knew from the beginning would be difficult to fulfill.
I was busy every minute of every day. I was either commuting to/from work or at the office between the hours of 6am and 6pm. While not at work, I was working on getting better at my job. While not doing that, I was working out finances in order to find a place to stay that would be within my budget as a sparsely-paid intern. And while not doing that, I was socializing within carefully chosen networks to maximize my connection potential.
None of this is a complaint. I was also living in the single most beautiful city I’ve ever been to, walking to work every day in the refreshing morning air, working at a job with some of the most friendly, relaxed people I’ve ever worked with (although it was true that for the first while I had a rough relationship with my boss), and hanging out with the smartest, most interesting people I’ve ever met. But I am definitely saying that it was hard, because it was.
The biggest problem I had was that it was very difficult to find time to think. Up until I moved here, I kept a daily journal in which I noted interesting happenstances, cracked jokes with myself, and kept a general record of my life. Since I wrote my day’s entry on the plane ride here, I haven’t been able to write nearly anything. One undated entry reads, simply, “I don’t have time to do anything.”
As a result, a lot of problems and thoughts just kinda… sat there in my head. They were too personal to bring up in any conversation, so I didn’t talk about them. Typically, I would work these out on my own, or sit down with someone in my family to discuss them, but my family was three hours away in the most inconvenient direction, and I had no time to spend with myself either.
Recently, I’ve had more time to think, and I’ve realized what advice I needed to hear. I wish I could go back to tell this to my past self, but I’ve told it to my current self, which is the second best thing.
Because some of these things might be generalizable to other people who react similarly to stress (probably other people who are trying to change the world in some major way), I’m noting the list here.
- You’ve become a better person than you give yourself credit for.
- Being inexperienced does not make you weak, immature, or unworthy.
- You’re always moving to bigger and bigger ponds, so you’re always the littlest fish. That doesn’t mean you’re not growing.
- Don’t discount your talents just because they’re your talents. Your life would not be automatically better if you had someone else’s.
- Having some of the same flaws you had in the past does not mean you haven’t improved. Being the same person is not a failure.
- Falling short of your ideal does not mean you’ve failed. Not trying to achieve the ideal at all does.
- The desire to be seen as attractive and to feel loved is universal and not shameful.
- You cannot possibly be qualified for every job. You cannot possibly please every person. This is not a reasonable definition of success.
- People other than you genuinely believe in you.