One Year Ago Today

by

I arrived in SFO and was picked up curbside by a family from my nanny past with their daughter and a good friend.

Burners all.

It was my welcome back to San Francisco.

Or to East Oakland as the case was for the next few months.

I realized today that it’s been a year since I returned from Paris and it’s taken nearly all that time to get myself settled in.

Funny how that happens.

John Ater told me it takes about two years to feel at home anywhere.

I was still a bit of an outsider in Paris, though rapidly gaining a foothold, despite my worst self, and had I made it a little longer, who knows, maybe I would still be there.

But that it neither here or there.

Or anywhere.

I know I will go back, whether for a visit or for something else, I don’t know.

I don’t have to know.

What I do know is that I have been in my current residence eight months now and it too is feeling like my home and my home for a while.

I hope.

I don’t feel the need to move anywhere and despite having lived in San Francisco all sorts of time, I haven’t made it two years in any one particular home.

I would like to be settled for a little while.

I think two years is a good run.

What got me thinking about it all is the May Spending Plan I did today.

I keep track of my expenditures, to the penny, and I add up the previous month and compare it to the spending plan I made the month prior to see where my expenses lay and if I need to set aside any money for something in particular.

When I was in Paris it was this week to week, day-to-day grind, whether I had money in my account, was going to eat, was going to buy a new pair of socks or have a cafe creme with my fellows.

It was tight, tight, tight.

Not so much now.

Of course, I am legal to work here, so that gives me a huge advantage over my Paris self.

Plus, I speak the language here fluently.

Small things.

Heh.

When I got back from Paris I had $10 in my wallet.

The last of my Euro’s that I had exchanged at the Bureau de Change in the Berlin airport.

That’s it.

Nothing else.

My carry on suitcase, my bicycle, which could be considered an asset, although not a liquid one.

In a year I have, not without help, oh good heavens, not without a lot of help, managed to save up enough money to put myself in my own in-law studio–deposit and first months rent–furnish it, go travel down to Florida to see my sister and my mom, buy a scooter, and get a ticket to Wisconsin to see my best friend.  I also went to Burning Man, albeit, I was paid to go, but there are still costs, get a new tattoo, small, but still, pay my phone bill, my student loans, eat well, maintain my bicycle, ride MUNI, drink expensive coffee nearly every day, put money in the basket when it gets passed my way, buy new notebooks, books, magazines, eat out, got to music–Mike Doughty, the highlight of my music experience this past year, Outside Lands, go to movies, go dancing, bought a wetsuit and have gone surfing, go to museums, pay off the return ticket from Paris, and manage to sneak a few dollars into my savings account.

Plus buy some clothes and the toiletries that I really like to have for myself.

Get manicures, pedicures, and have my eyebrows waxed.

I mention these last two things because I wasn’t doing that in Paris, it was too expensive, I was literally living hand to mouth.

There were more than one occasion when I took the money I made and went immediately to buy groceries.  I was only spending my money on the barest of bare essentials.  I was buying the cheapest toothpaste and shampoo I could afford, same with laundry detergent.

The only extra that I spent money on was the Navigo pass.

Rent, groceries, the Metro pass, cheap toiletries, and there you go.

Today, I allow myself better and I am grateful for it.

I would like to continue to thrive, I don’t need to martyr myself for an experience.

The next time I go I am going first class.

I am allowed that.

I allow myself that, I rephrase.

I am grateful for the experience and the shame and guilt for not making it over there has dissipated as I have done a lot of work and inventory and forgiveness of myself and also got some perspective and humility around it.

And a sense of humor.

What the fuck was I complaining about?

I got to spend six months in Paris.

Who says that’s a failure.

That’s like someone’s dream.

Hell, I am sure that spending six days in Paris is someone’s life long dream, probably more than one persons dream, and I got to have six months.

By the time I was forty.

I have so many more dreams I get to live out.

I mean, I really live a charmed life.

I live in San Francisco, the Paris of the West, ahem, and I live in a beautiful space with access to a back yard and sun deck, I eat organic food, I drink nice tea, I have awesome toiletries, I get my nails done, I get to ride a vintage Vespa, I live by the beach, I have an amazing life.

And friends.

And yeah.

So.

One year later.

I could not have predicted any of this, I did not know what was up, down, or around.

But I showed up, put one foot in front of the other, sometimes walking, sometimes pushing the pedals on my bicycle, and I got here.

I can’t wait to see what this next year brings.

It feels flat-out amazing where I am going to go from here.

My base has been built.

I am ready.

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