The day I arrived in San Francisco to start a new job, it was cold. The rain was monsoon-like. I picked up a rental car at the airport and drove directly to the office where I’d be working.
“Welcome to sunny California,” a co-worker greeted me.
That was 25 years ago today, on Feb. 2, 1987. And although the flight from Atlanta that day was bumpy due to weather, it was nothing compared to the turbulence I’d experienced in the months before my move from Atlanta to San Francisco.
Let’s quickly rewind to August 1986. Nick and I were living in Atlanta and came to San Francisco for vacation. I loved the city's spectacular hills and bay, its quirky culture, and how different it was from anything I'd experienced on the East Coast.
Less than one month later, my boss told me of a job opening in the company’s Silicon Valley office, just south of San Francisco. Was I interested?
The thought of such a huge move was fairly terrifying. And yet, Nick and I had grown bored with Atlanta. So with trepidation I told my boss “yes,” and soon enough, the job was mine.
I wasn’t looking forward to telling my parents about the move. My mother, never one to hide her feelings, said, “I feel like you’re moving to the moon!” She despaired over never seeing me again; I assured her I’d be home every two or three months. My father, who rarely showed his emotions, simply said, “I suspected you’d end up in New York or California one day.”
The next big hurdle was the gnawing fear, which escalated the closer we came to moving. What in the hell were we doing, moving all the way to San Francisco? What will happen to our friendships back in the South? Can we really afford to live in San Francisco? What if we get there, hate it, and can’t afford to move back? What if there’s a huge earthquake? These questions were on our minds every night as we struggled for sleep, every morning when we awoke, and practically every minute in between.
Fast forward to today. Those particular anxieties I carried with me to San Francisco on that cold, rainy Monday in 1987 are gone. New ones have taken their place, of course. Can we still afford to live here when we’re elderly? If we can't, where in hell would we go? What if there’s another huge earthquake?
I’m a bit of a worrier (in case you haven’t noticed). No matter where I live or what I do, I’m usually anxious about something. But by moving to San Francisco, I didn’t give in to those worries. I made a bold move. And my goal is to continue making bold moves for the rest of my life. Without them, there is only worry and boredom. Life becomes stagnant.
On this morning, 25 years after arriving in San Francisco, I’m looking out our dining room window at the city skyline. It’s sunny and mild, and I’m grateful to be a Southerner in San Francisco.