‘I Dare You to Close Your Eyes, and See All the Colors in Disguise.’

I spent the past week down in San Francisco, courtesy of our quarterly work onsite (offsite? summit?), and it was, as anticipated, one of those GO-GO-GO nonstop affairs that, now that I am safe back home in the mountains, has me about to introvert crash Hard. Core.

In the evolution of my almost two years of doing this whole full-time software development thing at the same company, these gatherings have gone from one-day events to half-week ordeals to full-week chaos to this, in a sort of linear but also sort of haphazard fashion. Our engineering team growth has been like that too, where we’ve expanded (and shrank) in alternating spurts and bursts. My immediate team size has been all over the road, and only recently has it started to truly go beyond just being me and a small handful of others to being a slightly larger armful of others. I can be honest and say that it’s been a rocky ride of change, but I’ve been feeling more and more recently – and particularly after this week – that I’m optimistic about how things are going. This is a good thing.

I haven’t been back to the City since our April meet-up, which was shrug-shoulders-meh, mostly because April itself was so full of solitary hours in trains, planes and automobiles that I’ve had no desire to leave Truckee and its surrounds. I went into this week with a slightly different strategy to my ‘onsite normal’, which had previously somehow (unintentionally) turned into a schedule of waking up at the crack of dawn (i.e. in total darkness), running 10+ miles before sunrise, sitting through the entire day of on-ness, and then dining (and imbibing copious amounts of wine) until the late hours of the evening. Guess what, guys? That cadence is kind of exhausting.

Every time I go back to San Francisco though, I get hit with, among many other emotions, this overwhelming proud – and amazed – feeling at the life that I have somehow managed to build in this west coast world, despite all the things that have also happened in this short time. I head into the city, and I can’t fit seeing everyone I genuinely want to see in, and I do as much as I can, and I leave feeling so just full. I’ve met people in these past few years here that have rapidly become life-friends, who I instantly felt comfortable and safe and at-home with, who bring value to my life in all of their unique, quirky and steadfast ways. I feel the same in Truckee, and it still catches me off-guard when I take the moment to step back from things and subjectively look at it all. I have no idea how I ended up here. I know it was a series of decisions (because that’s how life happens), and I can pinpoint each critical one, but I never would’ve guessed at this time two summers ago, that this is where I would be.

As much as I do still love the Bay Area and get obnoxiously giddy when I think about the Twin Peaks morning sunset runs and Mt Tam sunsets and even the independence I feel getting on Muni (…before the inevitable super weird happening that ensues when I sit/stand on the bus), being back also continues to draw out intense feelings of anxiety that I haven’t been able to shake. I stayed in an Airbnb this time around the corner from my old place, and as I got off the bus one afternoon in wind and cold and Karl the Fog, I immediately went into thinking ‘Ugh, I need to walk Otis, it’s windy, I need to run, I just want to sit down, but my apartment is dark’, completely involuntarily. And then I got anxious and claustrophobic sitting in the (gorgeous) apartment I was renting and started feeling like I needed to go run up a mountain, and I had a total come-to-Jesus epiphany moment of that I even though I exited stage left from that version of my life and I didn’t really know why I felt so compelled to do so at the time, it was the right thing to do.

And now that I’ve taken you on the rollercoaster of ‘I love SF! I love people!’ / ‘Please let me go home! I never want to talk to anyone again!’ emotions of this week, here are some random outtakes:

Jen made a fly-by appearance thanks to her second annual Berkeley-based conference that magically aligned with this week, and we bolted up Tam at sunset picking up right where we left off a year ago.

It was a glorious reminder that soul-friends exist in all shapes and sizes.

Anna and I squeezed in some China Camp trail explorations on Sunday when I arrived, and I took this photo…

… and then got into a very animated discussion about our shorts tans and promptly bit it (hard) on a rock. In addition to the open knee wounds and hand stigmata, my knee caps were totally bruised, and man, falling hurts.

Ashley and I played tennis in Dolores Park, and I love tennis and should play more.

Rachel needed headshots done, and we had solid plans to do them in redwoods that got immediately foiled by Karl (ugh, Karl), and we ended up on the side of Tennessee Valley Road in a small patch of sun.

(I kind of love the outtakes.)

This final Twin Peaks run was a surprise gem of a sunrise, and I think running up those lumps through four microclimates will forever be my San Francisco go-to happy place.

And now, I sleep. For days.

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