Sometime around this week marks one year that I’ve been back home in the Bay Area. It’s been the best year of my life.
My work is going well, I now live around 30 miles from two of my sisters and just around an hour and a half from my parents, I’ve finally cleaned the house, I have my home network up (with a real firewall and my home domain), I have an entertainment system (with a TV), and I’ve read a good number of books this year–which I have enjoyed discussing with friends.
Add local talks to this (Sam Harris), the local meetups (Ruby, Overcoming Bias, Reddit, etc.) and you have a fairly solid list of things to be happy about.
On top of this win pile is the fact that Susan–after six months of struggling–is starting to really like it here. She’s getting used to the rude people, the bad drivers, and the highs are starting to pop against that background.
Then there is the food, our new friends, and the food. Susan prefers that we mention food twice if I mention it at all.
Soon I’ll be starting to cook for myself instead of eating every meal out (a first in my life), I may get into Jujitsu again with a new friend who’s joining the team from San Francisco, and I’m about to dive into photography. I think my table tennis rating has risen since arriving, and I intend to enter 1-5 tournaments this year–hopefully breaking the 1500 mark for the first time and perhaps making it to 1700 or so.
To sum, I’m happy.
It feels distinctly as if the last 18 years of my life have been preparing for a life that was supposed to come. And now it has. This is the life I wanted, and with the generous help of chance, I built it. I’m home in San Francisco with a great job and great friends (Georgia, California, Scattered Everywhere), and life has presented itself as an opportunity–just as I imagined it would.
I omitted astronomy in my list of pursuits, but that was only so that I could mention it now. Astronomy makes me feel even more thankful. When I look at a distant star or a distant planet, I don’t think of it as far away. Everything is far away until you get there. People don’t really believe Jupiter is 45 light minutes away–just as they are surprised to see their old home town bustling along after an extended absence.
It’s the same with happiness and suffering for me. They are not far away. When you use a telescope and contemplate time and distance, you realize this. The phenomenal Thai restaurant in SF is the same distance from me as Congo. My luck comes in the form of my brain convincing me otherwise.
Either way, I am happy, and I’m thankful for that. But there is work to be done. For I know the real distance between myself and Congo–even when others do not. ::