The rain of last night still hangs in the air as I make my way down Guerrero; it has mercifully ceased. With a full two days of work and a book launch party ahead of me, I knew that this morning was the only time I would have to write on this trip. So I pulled on jeans and a green velvet top, layered on a coat and a scarf, and shoved an umbrella in my bag – just in case. Down Guerrero, left on 15th, right on Valencia. The coffee shop sign can’t be seen from the sidewalk, but the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans gives me confirmation that this is my stop.
I walk through one side of the open double doors and am met with a massive interior. There’s a U-shaped coffee bar, chairs and tables line the wall, and, in the back there is a coffee roasting machine. Being the me that I am, I bought a vape pen at a dispensary and accidentally, let’s say, vaped one too many. Now I am too high on sativa and my head floats just above, just detached from my body. I wait in a short line, while texting Mika about today’s “crisis” which I will get to in a minute. The line moves but I don’t, and I’m left standing in the middle of a very San Franciscan-feeling coffee shop looking at my phone. I am in the clouds, though, and as soon as I realize I laugh and walk up to the counter and say, “what flavor syrups do you have?” I immediately regret the question as the barista (barrister? It was a dude.) looked at me with a slight but perceptible glint of judgement in his eyes. “We actually don’t. We keep it pretty simple here.” Of course they do. That makes sense – what kind of coffee shop that roasts Its own coffee is going to dump chemical- or sugar-laden syrups in their masterpiece? I order a latte and we chat about me being from Atlanta – he says it’s a cool city, I say I want to move to San Francisco.
The air feels breathable, unlike at home. Everywhere I look, there’s something different to look at. I have more creative thoughts in an hour walking through San Francisco (and New York, for that matter) than I do in a whole month in Atlanta. (I get that this isn’t everyone’s experience – there are dozens of brilliant, prolific artists and writers in Atlanta who seem to get inspiration aplenty. But me? It feels suffocating to be in a city where it takes 20 minutes to go two miles. I’d rather walk those two miles and be exposed to the grittiness of one block, the glamour of the next. It’s in those moments in between the moments – you know, the brief eye contact with a homeless man on the way to meet a friend, for example.) My brain surges with inspiration for story ideas, and I wish my muse silent until I have access to a pen or my computer – I don’t want to forget anything.
I get my coffee from the counter and ask another barista for the Wi-Fi password. “We actually don’t have Wi-Fi,” she smiles. Of course they don’t. And I am instantly enamored with Four Barrels. I think this would be my coffee shop, if we were to live in the neighborhood. “Guess I’ll write offline,” I smile back.
With no internet on my computer, I bypass the habitual procrastination that happens before I finally begin to let my words flow. The coffee is easily the smoothest I’ve ever had, and I am thrilled to learn that I can get coffee I enjoy without enhancing it with artificial flavors. I didn’t know what this would be about, honestly. I just let my fingers lead the way via my internal muse. It helps that the music is melodic, the buzz of chatter mild but energizing, and the level of elevation I’ve found myself at.
Which brings me to the “crisis” I mentioned earlier. I assure you it’s not a real crisis, and one that I must acknowledge is very privileged. At any rate, I momentarily turned back to my existential panic of “this or that”, or in other words, trying to decide what I want to do with my career. Do I keep on the digital health path? It is certainly fulfilling, not to mention lucrative. I can see a future for myself in this. Or do I intend to veer off on my own again, this time pursuing writing essays and books? This has been my lifelong plan, regardless of how many times I’ve placed it on the back burner. When I write, like I wrote my reflections on Cusco or like I’m writing right now, I feel a surge of life force that I don’t get from anything else.
It's unclear why I feel like I must choose. This was essentially what my only new year’s resolution – to feel good – was intended to safeguard against. It’s my thing – feeling the absolute need for an absolute decision and then torturing myself while I try to “figure it out.” It is no longer interesting to me to partake in this pastime. I set out to change this by committing to pursuing what feels good and letting go of what doesn’t. Right now, both writing and my professional digital health/PR career feel insanely juicy and delicious and fulfilling. It feels good to do both, so why do I force myself into this pressure of choosing? Mika reminded me of this, as she does, and I am pulled off of my merry go round and back into reality which is: I can do everything I want to do in my lifetime. Any other belief is born of scarcity and lack, not love and abundance.
In regard to wanting to move to San Francisco (or New York), I truly feel that I do. I couldn’t have answered this for certain even a month ago but now I can say that moving to one of these great cities would be a catalyst for even more joy and bliss in my life. I’m leading toward left coast living because California has always felt like home to me. I came to this when Mika posed the question: “The logistics may be complex but is the decision?”
And it’s really not a hard decision: if it were solely up to me, David and I would move to this glorious, walkable, creative, tech-y city and revel in the adventure of it all. Logistics are always figure-out-able. Once a decision is made, the Universe has a way of conspiring with the energies of the world to deliver what is asked for.
Look, I know San Francisco has flaws. All cities do. But the pros deeply outweigh the cons for me. The foggy sky, the dirty sidewalks, the shops and restaurants that have more history than I do, the ornate homes pushed up against one another and painted bright colors – all of the elements of San Francisco combine to create a sensory experience for me that leaves me breathless and blissed. Shouldn’t life leave us all more breathless and blissed?
I can’t say for sure that we’ll move. I have so much to take into account, namely David’s feelings on the matter. Since Journey is moving to California with her dad, it really makes a lot of sense for us to move, too. What I can say for sure is that I want this with every ounce of fiber in my being. I want all of it – the good, the bad, the weird.
It's Monday morning in San Francisco. The coffee shop has light streaming in through the sunroof. My heart is full, my mind is buzzing, and my coffee is all gone.