Pack your bags. You’ve done this so many times before that it almost feels like trite repetition; somehow, experience appeases the emotions, and this time you shout your goodbyes and pull out of your driveway with such an air of knowing anticipation that it catches you by surprise.
Camp out in your friend’s living room for two months. Develop a fondness for the squeaky futon you’ve grown to recognize as the first bed you’ll ever sleep in in San Francisco.
Get schooled in humility. Spend hours scouring job postings, sending your resume to any position with the words “entry level” in its description. Flash an embarrassed grin when your friend comes home from work to find you in the same position (her living room couch) and outfit (your pajamas) she left you in in the morning.
Give yourself to San Francisco and its rolling hills, perpetual fog-and-rain, and three-storied flats. The city is intoxicating; sometimes you lose yourself in it.
Be cold—all the time. Be genuinely surprised when it’s 60 degrees out and your coworker insists on climbing to the rooftop of your building during lunch to enjoy the “great weather today!” Southern California’s mild temperatures and annual sunny skies have ruined you for life.
Do the long distance thing again. Your friends will shake their heads and tell you you’re crazy. By now, you’ve grown accustomed to hearing your name used in conjunction with “crazy” and all its relatives (“insane,” “nuts”), and the words simply roll off your back.
Cry every Sunday morning at church for a good two months. At first you won’t understand why your face is covered in snot and tears after every worship set, sermon, and prayer session. Then you’ll encounter God again and again in a powerful, awesome way, and everything will fall into place. It always does. It always does.
Land your first paid job. After performing three months of unpaid labor (“internships,” as they call them), you feel like a million bucks. Order a round of mimosas for your friends the following Saturday morning at brunch, feel exceptionally extravagant, and toast to gainful employment.
Turn 24. Repeat the number to yourself slowly, but don’t be surprised when it doesn’t quite add up in your head. When people ask for your age from here on out, always manage to conveniently forget (“Last I checked, I was 22…”)
Get laid off (“internal restructuring,” as they say). Buy a pack of bacon, fry it, and consume it in its entirety. Repeat whenever necessary.
Swear off driving. Rely solely on the public transit, rides from friends, and your own two feet to get you through the city for a smug six months. It’s not long before you realize that the muni isn’t exactly efficient, and even your most patient friends can tire of your incessant suggestions to “carpool together” to social gatherings. Fly back home one weekend in September and come back to San Francisco, car in tow.
Get your first parking ticket… and your second. Spend thirty minutes searching for a parking spot near your apartment on a rainy Wednesday evening. Curse and love this city at the same time. Even with its imperfections, there’s nowhere else you’d rather be.
Count your blessings come December. Pack your bags once more and drive home for the holidays, because all great endings culminate there. 2012 has been good to you, and you can’t help but pinch yourself in disbelief sometimes. But you know what? 2013 is creeping up, and—
This was written on December 28, 2012, dug up on March 22, 2013, and published immediately thereafter. It was composed as a continuation of a similar post a couple years before. Well, here’s to broken new year’s resolutions (resolution #3: blog regularly).