Recently, my husband and I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles after having lived in SF for nearly 4 years.
The first question many people asked us is, WHY?
I've found that many people who gravitate toward San Francisco seem to dislike Los Angeles, and there's an SF pride to rival NY pride as far as BEST CITY EVER goes.
I'd only visited San Francisco once as a teenager before we'd moved there from Brooklyn, and my preconceived notions of the city were provided to me only by what I'd seen in the media. I'd heard it was like the New York City of the West Coast, and I LOVE NYC, so I figured I'd like SF just as much.
Now, don't get me wrong, SF is definitely the most beautiful city I've ever lived in, from the water lined piers to the redwood forests, the pastel architecture to the lush greens of Golden Gate Park, it's a marvel to behold.
When we first moved to SF, however, I hated it. I had moved there reluctantly from Brooklyn for my husband's work. I was confused about the lack of racial diversity, lackluster fashion, and much to my surprise- lack of a performing arts and music scene. I kept trying to measure SF up to NY, which I've learned you just can't do. The two cities are simply too different to compare.
It took me nearly a year to start to appreciate San Francisco for its uniqueness and different experiences. I was working at a large media agency which lends itself easily to making a lot of friends, and I had a pretty robust social life.
One thing we could never shake was the lack of feeling of HOME.
I didn't feel like I fit in.
Now, I have to put a disclaimer up that this is not an LA>SF post, but is just my personal experience having lived in both cities and developed a preference for one. Obviously, everyone is different and I think both cities have their unique draws for different people.
Having said that, I'll say that SF lacked serious depth for me. I was working in ad:tech, meeting founder after founder with "big minds chasing small ideas", and I felt... unfulfilled. Sure, I was making money and climbing up the career ladder quickly, but at what cost?
Priorities seemed to be centered around making money, the first question you'd get when out at any event was, "What do you do for work?" I fell victim to the mindset as well. I became someone I wasn't, a product of my environment. Having no one in SF that knew me as I was, and in classic new girl fashion, I became who I thought people wanted me to be, and I didn't like her very much.
I missed art, acting, singing, church, and most of all, a community of people that I could connect with on a deeper level.
That's not to say I don't value the friendships I made in SF. I met and connected with some amazing people and great friends whom I miss dearly.
A community is a different thing. Sure, there were opportunities here and there for art and music, a few churches scattered that I bounced around to, but it all felt too temporal and disconnected from the greater personality of SAN FRANCISCO.
My lack of sense of home had much more to do with me than with San Francisco, honestly. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, or I just wasn't meeting the right people, but the fact remains that I was lost. I discovered that I have to be around people like me, who know me, to be home. No salary, swanky apartment, or hot ad startup can give you that.
So, we moved to LA, where I'd lived for a short time when I was 18. LA, where I have an existing community of artisans and musicians to plug into, and friends who've known me since my awkward pre-teen days, and I already have more of a sense of self than I ever had in SF.
So we moved to LA, not for a job or for adventure, but for a home.