Go West

Source: NPR

Source: NPR

After about eight months in New York City, I'm going to be moving to San Francisco this Thursday.

When I told one of my friends about it, he asked, "Why, to find yourself?"

"Oh God no," I said. I've had a really wonderful career opportunity become open to me, and I believe that the move is the best available step forward. I'm not going west to find myself. I'm going west because I've found myself, I know myself, and I know what I'm looking for.

What I'm looking for is the opportunity to build a career that fulfills me. I think that this move positions me to do that better than staying put would. It also gives me the opportunity to work full-time in the technology industry, instead of looking at it from the outside. That's a leap I've wanted to make for a long time, and it wasn't going to get easier to do as I got older.

And I'm looking to build a life for myself, something with more permanence than the relatively migratory existence I've lived since college. It's important now to be somewhere where I can put down some roots; that's going to work for my girlfriend as well as myself; that's going to become a home instead of a stopover. It's important to take those steps now, when I have a choice of how to do it, than to wait until I'm too old to have the option.

Getting older. I feel myself getting older. The lines on my face are getting deeper. The effects of a poor night's sleep are greater. I can't eat as much, can't drink as much as I could even a couple of years ago. Exercise is increasingly a necessity. My friends are getting married. The need for stability is growing. I'm mellowing. I'm aging. Don't cry for me: I'm only twenty-seven. But that's just old enough for me to be thinking about these things, to be coming to terms with the fact that I'm not as young as I used to be.

Thank God that's happening now, by the way. There's nothing more terrifying to me than the prospect of waking up old and wondering how the hell I got that way. As it is, I'm old enough to see my life in the long-term and young enough to make changes to affect its course.

Is it scary? Of course it is. Change is scary, and the temptation to surrender to complacency is powerful, and does not become less so when you have more to lose by acting. And getting older is scary. It's scary because more is expected of you, because responsibility can't be put off, because you must live up to your values or else become a wraith, the ghost of a younger man lingering near the edges of his own life.

So I'm moving to San Francisco now, while I can. I'm doing it because provides me the opportunity to continue growing into the man I want to be and because I've reached a stage when "the rest of my life" looks a whole lot more like "today" than it ever has before.