Kids, in early 2013 I decided to make a life-altering decision on a whim. Well, I put about an hour of thought into it beforehand. See, after a revelatory New Year’s Day experience, I thought it best if I forced myself out of my comfort zone and into the unknown. I was both excited and terrified, but it turned out to be one of the best/worst (to be determined…) decisions I’d made during my time in California
and in the end, if I had made any other decision, I would never have met your mother. </Bob Saget>
The comfort zone referred to there is my beautiful, spacious, clean, and lonely apartment in the
great fine city town of Tracy, California. Since 2011 I’ve lived here in peace, doing what I want, whenever I want. When I moved out to California in August of that year, I signed a 12-month lease on my place, not knowing what was to come afterward. When the lease ended last year, I re-upped on a month-to-month basis, giving me the freedom to stay or go as I pleased. In the months leading up to the end of 2012, I had settled into my life, suppressing the subversive intention of uprooting to places unknown. Then something wonderful happened: I made a friend. This isn’t to say I hadn’t made any friends in California (though that’s mostly true); rather, this guy was the first to get me out of my routine and actually do things. Now, that’s not to say I didn’t do things (that would be entirely untrue), I just preferred to do things on my own and on my own time. I’m a big fan of personal freedom, as you can probably tell.
Here’s some background. There are two major factors to my former absence of a “real” social life and both of them are distance. As I said before, Tracy is a fine town. It’s relatively populous, my neighborhood is nicely maintained, the houses are new (there’s basically nothing but houses for at least mile in almost every direction), there are beautiful trees of numerous varieties (see: my recent Instagram photos), my neighbors don’t bother me, and it’s safe. I live next door to a supermarket, which could not be more convenient, and downtown is about a two-minute drive away. However, there’s just nothing to do here. It seems my demographic is missing; there are a lot of children and high school kids but it skips straight to middle-aged commuters and old folks. The downtown scene is non-existent on a Friday night, where tumbleweed can literally be seen rolling through the streets in the winter. After 19 months here, I still know basically nobody in town.
The friends I do have out here are all at least a town over to the west in Livermore, Pleasanton, or the Bay Area. The thing about California that’s so unlike the Northeast where I grew up is that neighboring towns aren’t contiguous. Not even a little. Just to play soccer in Livermore (the next town over) as I do twice every weekend, I have to make a 50-mile round trip journey across the Altamont Pass and back, taking up a whole hour on a good day. It’s not very practical to make more than one trip of this manner per day so my social options are limited to begin with. I can forget going to San Francisco–it takes 45 minutes just to get to the nearest BART Station alone, from which it’s another 45 minutes to downtown. San Jose is an hour drive so those trips (Sharks games, mostly) are few and far between. It had long been my plan to move father west at some point, but neither the opportunity nor the motivation had arisen.
Now here’s the kicker. Like I said above, I had a revelatory New Year’s Day. I came back to California driven; I decided I was in charge of my life and that I controlled my own destiny, for the first time in months. It was time to step out of my comfort zone and see where that led me. With these ideas fresh in my head, my old routine was quickly disturbed, but other factors soon contributed to my new motivations. Immediately after returning to work, I was notified that a co-worker was moving out-of-state very soon and would be leaving the company. That didn’t bother me like it would have in late 2011 when I was just starting my new life. In the 16 months between then and January, I’d watched seven others co-workers leave my company. I was used to it by then. My stupid brain, though, decided that I should move into this guy’s old apartment, since it was evidently in an awesome location and… why not? Not long after this, I actually had a dream about doing that– for a few days I could not shake these insidious thoughts. Inception’d again, perhaps.
So, a few days later another co-worker (the aforementioned friend) mentioned that he was looking to get out of his apartment and get a roommate to split rent. I told him my living situation was too perfect to want to leave and I was so used to living alone I don’t think I could handle taking on a roommate for the first time since college.
Then I went back to my office and thought about it for a little bit. Rose-colored glasses off I remembered that I had an absolutely awesome time with my roommates my senior year of college, my life as it is is socially vacant, and it’s the perfect time to dig in and shake things up. An hour later I told him I would absolutely get a two-bedroom apartment with him. Two weeks after that, I was a security deposit poorer and starting the early stages of wrapping up my life in Tracy.
Thus began my adventure on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #inmotion, inspired by the Trent Reznor track of the same name from The Social Network, and documenting my progress and thoughts about moving. I keep flipping between excited and terrified, that this is an awful idea or the best thing possible for me. I can’t wait to not have to drive an hour to socialize and be closer to the Bay Area in general, but everything else about my life in Tracy is basically perfect. These last 10 days when I deconstruct my apartment and go into full-blown nostalgia mode are going to be depressing as hell and it will be pretty freakin’ hard to leave. I guess we’ll see how everything works out eventually, but for right now I’m optimistic that this next year (and perhaps those following) will be fantastic– dare I say, the best ever.
Pleasanton, here I come.