Get ready, San Francisco, I’m coming back.
Last year around this time of year, I made the leap back from an exciting, but smog-ridden China to the US and landed in the exciting but less smog-ridden New York.
In a way, I spent the past year on a semi-sabbatical. Slightly commitment phobic, I tried to feel if New York to see if it was my type of city. As a media & communications professional, I wanted to understand the media center of the world. As an entrepreneur and technophile, I also half wondered to myself if I should just head straight to San Francisco to join my family, friends and the Pacific Ocean. And finally, a fresh-off-the-boat expat thanks to being in Beijing for the past 3 years…I felt as if I still had an itch to scratch.
People today talk about the “quarter life crisis” as if it were a bad thing. Indeed, it is very distracting. Life is suddenly so full of possibilities that we can experience a deer-caught-in-headlights shock, but I think it’s much better to have a quarter life crisis than to have a mid-life crisis.
“But I think it’s much better to have a quarter life crisis than to have a mid-life crisis.”
I read books, studied, took the GRE, worked in various jobs, took a summer class on digital marketing and sorted out my strengths and weaknesses. I pushed and explored my boundaries, discovering where I stand on all things love, health and work. I spent more time with myself. I learned (and applied) a lot of new skills. I worked part time and freelanced to pay the bills. I made a lot of new friends and met many new kinds of people. I developed a bit of an edge, cushioned by well-practiced soft skills. I tried some new gigs, and came to terms with the true meaning of being “American” through my involvement with a diverse number of vibrant local and national communities.
And now with all my curiosity and cravings satisfied, thanks to the “fast forward” pace of New York City, I feel much more grounded. My next move to San Francisco will hit several stones with one gesture – career, family and health.
Indeed, I am looking forward to spending time with my family – life is short and time is precious. There is a time for everything. Time to keep it real for a while.
Speaking of real/unreal:
P.S. As some of you know, I have a strange tendency to meet interesting personalities and people with epic stories (my theory is that everyone has a story and the best stories usually involve a lot of people). So, despite getting bitten alive by the mosquitos from the open window…I just had a random conversation at a wine bar near my home with the son of the gallery owner who introduced Jackson Pollock to France and did photographic portraits for Salvador Dali. I am sure Jackson Pollock and Salvador Dali interacted with a lot of people, but nevertheless still quite remarkable.