09 January 2015

Staying Power

The debate over staying in the Bay Area became less "internal" throughout October and November. I explained my plan and my rationale to the usual suspects and the results were mixed. Christine pouted into her Brussels sprouts. Cate said "you gotta do what's right for you." Jesse said "oh, so you don't like living here?" Kristen - who was in a similar situation - said "it's so hard, isn't it?"

I didn't want to move, but I thought I had no reason to stay.

My personal effectiveness class changed that thinking.

We were asked during our first class to look at the things that had made us different from other other people. We were asked to think critically and assess the impact our personal diversity had had on our professional success. We were also asked to look at how we were currently taking advantage of our uniqueness to continue achieving.

In the case of Danie, being in the Bay Area has allowed me to pursue opportunities I would not have been able to pursue elsewhere. The Bay Area pushes me to be more competitive. I would not have gone back to school had I not been around so many people with advanced degrees. I would not have worked at startup if I hadn't been able to somewhat observe and experience the culture. I would not have taken coding classes had Bridge Troll not existed. I've felt comfortable pursuing the interests I've pursued because I live in an area where it's okay to do that.

On the other hand, being involved with my family and its drama subtracts from my professional success. Time spent handling problems that are not mine is time I don't dedicate to pursuing what's important to me.

Bottom line: the data suggested moving back home would hurt (or at least not help) me professionally. That was not acceptable. I began entertaining the idea that I would stay. At the same time, I questioned whether I was grasping at excuses. So I took a couple weeks to procrastinate think.

I purged. Cleaning declutters the mind.
7 December 2014 
Yrama and I decorated.
Washi tape is the business.
I used your Christmas cards as
part of the holiday decor!

I woke up one day and made scones.
11 December 2014
A photographer friend of mine came over to observe me doing something typical.
12 December 2014
This is my baking head.
I had a very fun holiday party. These people were there. A lot of of other people were there too.
It reminded me how much I love hosting. How could I leave this? Why would I?
13 December 2014  
A lot of my pictures from the second half of December are of food. I had a lot of party leftovers to eat and pot luck offerings to prepare. I also had to wrap up my last two classes with written reports and an oral presentation and a PowerPoint deck. I had to bring the blog up to date and I was determined to head into 2015 with a clear sense of purpose. The time for indecisiveness was over. I finished school. I made good progress on the blog. I decided to stay in the Bay Area. Abby phrased it best, saying it sounded like I wanted to move east for other people instead of for myself. And considering none of those people had actually asked me to move, it was easy to accept the decision to stay.

My family ended the year better off than we had started it. Medical emergencies can apparently be a strong rallying point. I began 2014 without any strong goals and was ultimately both forced and allowed to decide the things that were really important to me. I learned to value my experiences and to continue to set myself up for success. It's been a long time since I've felt so optimistic about whatever is up next. The year had plenty of minuses, but there were a lot of pluses. But I never gave up and I'm thankful for every experience. 
Dear 2015, 

Bring it. 

- Love Danie

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