What’s different about life in San Francisco than Orlando?
Take it from this Lady: If you move across the country and integrate yourself into a brand new city and environment, there will be many unexpected changes to your daily life. As I meet new people, they often ask me about the differences from coast-to-coast. It got me thinking, so here’s my list of the top five things that have changed since moving ten months ago:
- No car. I sold my prized MINI Cooper before we moved to San Francisco. We only brought one car. Parking costs hundreds of dollars a month on top of rent, and there are plenty of ways to get around without your own car. Now, my daily adventures are done on foot. A couple of times a week, I take public transit when I am going further than my walking bubble, but mostly I walk. That means everything I need for the day is with me at all times, because I don’t have anything stored in the car. It’s not a time to switch off, either. Walking the sidewalks of San Francisco takes just as much attention as driving, because there are so many people around. These days, I put on my headphones and backpack and set out with one foot in front of the other, uphill and downhill. On the weekends, I look forward to the times when Dave and I leave the City or go somewhere across town, because I can’t wait to ride in the car, enjoy the air conditioner and radio and just sit. Like an excited puppy, I’ll sometimes say, “Can we go somewhere in the car today?” Never, ever, ever, did I hear myself saying that in Florida.
- More group fitness. I taught group fitness in Orlando for almost three years, teaching two early morning BODYPUMP classes per week before work. Today, I teach more frequently, and I take more frequently. My workout schedule has increased significantly over the past few months, to sometimes include more than one class a day. I teach three to four classes a week (five classes this week), and I teach more than one program. I’ve also gone to some additional trainings, overall spending much more time learning and partaking in group fitness. I wanted to start doing this in Florida, but just didn’t have the time. This is a sweaty, yet great addition to my daily life.
- Double dating. Having both lived in Orlando for many years, Dave and I not only had a big group of friends that hung out together, but we each had our own sets of friends as well. We’d often split up on weekend nights to do our own things. This was especially important for me during basketball season when Dave is sometimes gone four to five nights a week working. I’d plan girl’s nights and invite my girlfriends to attend games with me. Since we’ve been in San Francisco, we’ve mostly made couples friends. To quote Jerry Seinfeld, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” However, Dave’s free time is rare and everything is still new. So, we’ve made a concerted, dual effort to meet new people, attend events and activities and maximize our time together.
- More free time. When I first moved to San Francisco, I kept my writing job from Orlando remotely for more than a month. The day that ended, I started a contract role with Les Mills West Coast. That role continued for six months, and since that time I’ve been doing freelance writing and public relations work and looking for a new full-time job. As a busy working Lady who started her first career just weeks after graduating from University of Florida, I had never had more than a week of free time, ever. When planning our wedding, I had so few vacation days available, that I had to do most of the work in the evenings. These days, I have much more time to myself. It’s time that I spend reading a ton of industry news, blogging, teaching group fitness and looking for a great job. I remember sitting in my dark cubicle this time last year, just wishing I could have one day to catch up on TV at home on the couch. Nowadays, I stick to a regular weekday routine as a productive member of society, but I’ve got much more extra time on my hands.
- Casual Friday, every day. You just don’t have to dress up San Francisco. Hardly ever. Since all of my work currently consists of teaching group fitness or writing from home, I spend nearly every day in casual gym attire. I wouldn’t leave the house in Orlando without some makeup and jewelry, but now I’m often fresh-faced with my hair in a sweaty and messy bun. When it is time to go out to dinner, rather than wearing heels and dresses, I wear leggings and flat boots. The weather is colder. The environment in more laid back. And quite frankly, it’s much more important to be comfortable when you are walking on busy sidewalks and trying to enjoy your surroundings. There are days I miss putting on sparkly flip-flops and sundresses to stroll around the mall. But overall, I like the fact that I can get ready to head out in ten-minutes flat most days of the week.
Over the past ten months I’ve adapted to urban living and have even come to love many aspects of it.
I’m a type-A control-freak at heart, but have finally started to realize I can’t plan everything and map out my entire life. I used to have a timeline for everything that was to come in my future. Next thing you know, I’m out in public in a sweatshirt and a backpack on the streets of San Francisco.
At the least expected times, big changes can come your way. This time last year, Dave and I were still basking in being newlyweds when he got a call about the potential to move to the Golden State.
Every day I miss my Mom, my Dad, my Bro and my friends. I wish it was cheaper and easier to drop by Florida for a weekend visit (which is another big change in my life that used to take place frequently). But I wouldn’t give up the experience of moving to a new city and taking a chance on the unexpected.
It’s scary. It’s exciting. And it’s life.