The Journey Back to the East Coast

Photo of my room in Daly City (2021)

As I write, I have a room filled with some boxes with things that needed to pack. Everything is organized into piles of: things I need, things I’d like to keep, and things that must go. Everything that I owned for the last 5 years in a single room. Without much context, one would think that it was a prison.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve been acquiring more stuff to help make my stay in the Bay Area more comfortable, but as I take a deep look at it, I realize that I’ve somehow managed to rationalize how I could live in a space that spans two arm lengths in every direction.

How does anyone live this way?

Photo of one of the rooms I stayed in Bernal Heights with 5 other roomates + dog + cat

This is my thought as I returned back to the bay area after living on the east coast for the last few months. While things are familiar here, I don’t want to get comfortable again killing myself–dealing with egomaniac-tech-bro-douchebag-CEO’s, uninspired mercenaries, and homelessness.

The price is too high, financially, physically and emotionally. And as I write this, I think of my friends that are doing the same thing in the Bay Area. I think about this bizarre priveledged struggle.

While there’s a mass exodus from SF, what people don’t know is that founders and early stage builders (like myself) have often sacrificed everything to come here… often promised to play in the “big leagues”, to have a lottery ticket to work on amazing projects, etc. And while that’s true, we bet so big that our financial, emotional and physical support system is dependent on our work. When times are up, it’s a piece of cake… but often times, it’s down.

Our work, our team, our mission is what gives us purpose. And as I look at the people around me, I wonder who their support system is when times are tough… not just on the big emotional dips… but on the daily.

Which begs on to ask, who exactly are the people that support us every day?

Temporary crashing at Joe’s living room after we shut down Flare for a month.

It’s the small things that matter… and it needs to come from our support system. Without that, I think we fall in a downward spiral. Given where things are, without a support system, we look to the internet and other communities. While I grew up on the internet, I would be lying that I didn’t have real friends and family.

I think if I signed another lease here, I’d be in a downward spiral–signing another year of my life away to so many uncertainties. At some point, one has to seriously consider if this kind of lifestyle is for younger people. It’s cliche, but time is so precious, and there are days I worry about how I’ve spent it. I’ve learned a lot and grown, but it’s time to invest back into my friends, family and comrades that have supported me over the years.

Finally getting a studio in 2015 for an obscene monthly price after downsizing my life.

But first, it’s time to move back to the east coast. I’ll still come back to the west coast, but under different conditions. The commitment is too high to relocate yet again. In some ways, there’s some silver lining in current events.

The irony is that COVID may have saved a part of me.