We’ve just about reached the one year anniversary of having moved to the bay area so it seems like a reasonable enough moment to reflect.
There’s a lot to love about living in the bay area. I love being within 45 minutes of 3 large cities and the beach. The weather here is perfect – rarely too hot or too cold. It can be a little rainy at times but it rarely rains all day and rarely rains more than a few days in a row. The people here are friendly and incredibly diverse. There are many beautiful parks and many nice areas in the smaller peninsula towns of Silicon Valley.
This area lives and breathes tech. I’ve heard it called a company town in this way like the film industry is for LA. Sure there are plenty of people who don’t work in tech, but a large number of them are supported by the industry. I love that there are meetups and tech talks virtually every night somewhere in the valley or SF (not that I go anywhere near that often but at least I can pick a couple nights a month to attend). They’re hugely informative as well as a nice way to meet people, and the fact that most have free food/booze doesn’t hurt.
Although I love the area, there are downsides. It’s ungodly expensive to live here and the traffic can drive you crazy. However, if you can afford the lifestyle – which can definitely be a stretch for us – it’s worth it. One additional negative which we hope to fix at some point is that Menlo Park, the Silicon Valley town in which we live, is awful. It’s even more expensive than the bay area average, it’s not exactly filled with young people, and it’s quite boring compared to all of the other towns.
There’s certainly a lot more work out here for Erica but it’s still challenging for her to find everything she wants out of a job while also meeting her parental responsibilities. This is due to her industry (food) and how the people who work in it are treated like shit (I’m sure I’ll rant on that in another post). That said, she’s at least somewhat using her skills and interacting with adults again and that’s a positive step.
Seth started in daycare for 6 months and moved to a pre-school program at 18 months. He’s really thrived in it and absolutely loves it there. He’s made friends and gets to explore his creativity painting, drawing, baking, sculpting, etc. They also have music and dance classes. It’s really a great program. Since we moved here he’s gone from walking to running and from barely speaking at all to being a chatterbox who sings his favorite songs by himself (sometimes in medley form). His growth constantly amazes me.
It can still be very difficult being here alone without any family or other support but we make it work (sometimes barely). We’ve made some friends, many young and also with kids but that’s also still hard. It’s pretty difficult finding young people with kids who aren’t religious fundamentalists anywhere in this country, but it’s even more difficult here where it feels like the average person is having their first kid at age 43.
The job I took at Mindflash has been incredible. I’ve learned more there in the first year than I ever dreamed I would. The people I work with are great and the flexibility I’m given is amazing. I absolutely love coming into work every day. Prior to Mindflash I’d only worked at large companies but I’ve found here that my interests and skill set position me best to stay at startups for the foreseeable future.
Overall I’m very happy with our decision to move to the bay area a year ago. It hasn’t been without struggle but I think it’s been a great year. I’m looking forward to many more of them here. Happy New Year everyone.