"Cash it in or throw it all away. Never needed any of it anyway." - Zero 7, Throw It All Away
Just a few short years ago, San Francisco was my dream city. I imagined myself moving up there and living a certain kind of life. It involved sexy, smart progressive people changing the world. We'd wear our freak flags and march against everything while padding our bank accounts with whatever brainy technology magic we'd come up with at our day jobs. We'd sit in parks dressed like we were going to a show at the Fillmore after and marvel at those around us and the city we called home.
I thought about this this past weekend, more than once, as I roamed the city with Tiffany and shared deep thoughts with Felicia and others. I'm not exactly a different person than I was a few years ago but I'm a more mature version of me. One who now tires at the thought of living my imagined Bay Area life.
It's not the city that's changed. Everyone I know in that city has , like me, transformed as well. Before, when I would visit, I would have nothing but late nights. This time, I couldn't muster one. Not even on New Year's Eve. I have friends who used to succumb to every vice that are now sober and smoke free. Others are mommies and daddies who have obligations that are still completely foreign to me even as I admit that I'm a fellow grown up. Others have real challenges or worries, ones that can't be washed away with a swig of champagne or jokes about the woefully underdressed (or overdressed) visitors to Delores Park.
This is not a bad thing. Amidst the conversations of creaky joints and slowing down and good pre-schools and job security was something that wasn't quite there before. People were feeling more right in their bodies, more accepting of who they are, and of their place in the world. I feel that way more days than not lately, too.
It was fitting that we celebrated Felicia's graduation from grad school at the same time we acknowledged the flipping of the calendar. It was when I was talking with her that I most felt this changing of the seasons. I've been friends with her for over 20 years. We were kids together once. In fact, I live four doors down from the house she grew up in now to constantly remind me of that fact.
We're adults now and yet, it's a new day. A new year. We know ourselves better than we ever have. And the knees don't respond like they used to and the one time city of my dreams is just another place but there we were. It's her city now. One in which she's grown and blossomed and accomplished so much.
There we were sitting in the park surrounded by people dressed like they were going to a show at the Fillmore but I marveled at the ones I knew most well. They were—we were—ready and excited for our next adventures to begin in whatever places in the world we called home.
All grown up and yet, just beginning.