See this summer started out really fun, but somewhere towards the end of July, things started going sour. Financial issues, family stuff, career ruts....I started feeling a bit lost.
In the midst of all this, I remembered that I had planned to go to San Francisco over Labor Day. It's always good timing to go on a cross-country trip when you have no money! Argg. Well, I picked up weekend shifts at two different bars and worked hard to play hard. Despite the crazy work schedule, the trip gave me something to look forward to through the month of August (and my fortune cookie reminded me to refrain from getting too cynical or negative about things).
Well, the SF trip has come and gone. The outcome? I love San Francisco and my bank accounts haven't been frozen (...yet). It's the only city I've visited in California and it was only my second time there, but both times, the city completely brightened my outlook on life right when I needed it.
I love that people in SF seem happy and healthy. I love that dogs are treated like people, that everyone has one and that they run free in the parks. I love that people have active, balanced lifestyles and that laidback attitudes are more prevalent than stressed and unhappy ones.
During my stay, I got to do so many fun things. Our first day we spent doing touristy things (bang 'em out and get them out of the way in my opinion). We wondered through the streets until we found crooked Lombard St. and then headed to Fisherman's Wharf for chowder bread bowls. On a whim, we decided to go on a $15 boat ride around the Bay (the BYOB sign was calling us) and took lots of pictures. It was a great way to spend a sunny and windy first afternoon. That night we headed down to Chestnut St. in Cow Hollow for dinner and drinks with friends we knew in town.
Over the weekend, we headed to Napa. So pretty! We went on the Napa Wine Train one evening for a gourmet meal...our attempt at being classy after the previous night's debauchery. It was really scenic and the food was great, but we were clearly the youngest people there, and we were so tired and hungover that the older couples showed us up! They were partying and having fun while we were trying not to fall asleep and just wanted off the train, haha. I'd skip it unless you're 40+. The next day we did lunch at Mustard's Grill (yum!) and visited Rubicon Estates for some wine tasting. Rubicon happened to be Coppola's fancy pants vineyard (compared to his more family-friendly Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville). It was so picturesque! The wine was good, too...I suppose that's more important.
Back in SF for the remainder of our time, we did sushi and sake bombs off Chestnut St. the Sunday evening before Labor Day. Of course we were THAT group being loud in the restaurant while other people were on dates...oops? We followed it up by sake-fueled dirty dancing until who-knows-what-hour. We spent Labor Day laying in Golden Gate Park (hungover) and soaking up the sun when it peeped out from behind the clouds. Perfection. The other girls left a bit earlier than me, so I spent the rest of my California escape hiking through Sausalito and the Marin Headlands, and thrift shopping in the Mission and along Haight. I even hit up a Yang Yoga class at a climbing gym in true West Coaster fashion - I could get used to that life. Sigh, why does California have to be SO far from my family in Pittsburgh and my friends in NY?
More than just having a great time, being away from work and stress in NY gave me time to do some soul-searching. For laughs, the girls and I visited a psychic in Napa and the strangest thing happened. The woman read everyone's palms but mine! She actually stopped, looked at me and said, "I'm sorry sweetie, but I can't give you a reading today. You don't need one. When you walked in here, I saw your aura right away, and it was full of bright, beautiful colors. Your life and your karma are perfect, and everything will figure itself out within a year."
I mean, I just wanted to give the lady my $25 and have her tell me if I should stay in NY or consider a move, and if I was meant to have a career in PR like everyone else. But hearing that made me happy. It was quite an oddball thing to tell someone, but I think it was a reminder that I don't need to worry. All the issues I've been having are temporary (and there will always be issues and pitfalls to deal with), and all-in-all, my life is coming together. More importantly, my life is fun.
Thinking back on 2010 so far, I have to agree that this has been a pretty great year (and my horoscope tells me that the rest is gonna be fab, too. The Pisces is the luckiest sign for the remainder of 2010!).
Despite the bumps in the road, I've been able to look inward to figure out who I am and what I really want this year. I finally released an old sadness that I held onto for far too long, developed a lot of new friendships and strengthened old ones. I set goals to try new invigorating activities (running a 5k, learning yoga), and remembered to keep up with the things that make me happy – other than boozing with friends (painting, reading, Marlon, being independent...I like sober activities, too!).
I also accepted going with the flow this year, and embraced trips and people that landed in my lap. Going to a wedding in Alabama where I didn't know any other guests? Sure why not? And now I have new friends, a couple of which were just in SF with me. Planning a trip to SF for no particular reason with a girl I only met once (at said wedding)? Sounded like a great opportunity to get back to a city I love and get to know her even better. And it was.
I can't wait to see what else is in store for me...I think I'm on the cusp of something big. Hi life, I'm here, along with my perfect aura. Help me figure out what to do next!