000021 - Momentum

I’ve had a number of small wins recently. Feels like momentum is building.

We reorganized our apartment. It was fine before but I love it now. We flip flopped the couch and TV, and added another desk. We ditched old pillows and are getting ones that match better. The plants have become delightful accents instead of stuck in the corner. It’s not only functionally better, but also aesthetically better.

This small change has had a pretty big impact on my psyche. I’m exited to work from home now; before it was kind of cramped. I also want to host some people for drinks or discussions or co-working sessions. My apartment has new life, we just needed to spruce it up.

I also spent more time exploring around my neighborhood and appreciating San Francisco the past few weeks. SF has a bad reputation. But it’s actually quite nice. I live in the south part of SoMa and started hanging out more in Mission Bay (which is gorgeous!). There’s a nice park near my place too, which I didn’t know about before. I take walks there sometimes.

At the start of the new year I debating moving cities or apartments, but now I want to stay. Part of the reasoning was financial - without a consistent paycheck, money felt scarce even if it wasn’t. Part of the reasoning was loneliness - being an independent contractor working from home (and being off Twitter) is hard.

(At one point I even debated trying to convince 4-6 people to join me in renting out a hacker house in a place like Idaho. It’s remarkably cheap and I’ve always wanted to be in an environment with a small group all working hard together like that.)

I had also this thought that SF was never going to be my long-term home. Like I would go back to Chicago, or move to Austin, once I gave up my Big Dreams.

I’ve since come to realize I’m not going to be happy in any city unless I work at it. Yes SF is expensive, and yes SF has more visible poverty, and yes SF has a really high density of tasteless tech dudes, but those “macro” factors don’t have to affect my “micro” experience if I don’t let them.

Having stuff usually makes me feel trapped. I hate buying furniture because I hate moving furniture.

Like, I just bought a toaster for the first time last month, and now I can cook English muffins. But it took me a long time to do that because I had other ways of cooking (my cooking appliances consist of 2 pans and a blender). It might seem silly that I wouldn’t spend the $20 to buy a toaster, but A) it’s $20 when I’m not feeling great about money and B) it’s another thing to move when I leave SF.

Another example: my computer monitor. It took me months to nut up and buy a quality monitor. I hate my laptop screen (1366 x 768 resolution), but I thought I could just suck it up. “If you really enjoy what you do, it doesn’t matter what tools you have,” I would tell myself. Spending $150 on a refurbished monitor turned out to be a great decision.

There used to be a block in my head, like I can’t buy stuff because it will be painful to move it. But if I get past that mental block - and plan on not moving so that anxiety never actualizes - I can really build a life here. I think that’s a better way to live.

Which brings me to my current state: I finally feel like I have structure in my career and can create a life around it. It’s like I’m an empty jar and just dropped the big rock inside. Now I get to fill in the rest with sand and small pebbles.

This is my public journal and these are rough ideas. Feel free to unsubscribe at any time.

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