After my decision to reset, I had to make a tough decision about where to live. I was faced with a significant problem; because of burn-out or something, I found myself stuck in a rut. I knew I had to to make some changes, and my follow-through-game was weak. I just didn't have the same drive to push through everything.
Some context here is important. I was a reasonably intelligent kid. I mean no one would ever accuse me of being Einstein or anything like that, but I was smart enough were any challenge I was faced with I could overcome, especially when I was told something 'couldn't be done.
In fact, up until I was 25, telling me something couldn't be done was the best way to make sure I went out and did it. I mean when I was six, my mom didn't believe me when I told her I was going to go to Japan, and when after I went in High School, she made it a point to take what I said seriously, and to support any crazy idea I had. That probably wasn't the best thing for me, but we'll talk about that later.
So what happened when I was 25? My first real set back. I tried to live in Japan, on my own, mostly working for a startup. Turned out the startup was not in any actual position to work with me, and the visa situation was terrible (if you have never had to worry about having a visa to live where you want to live, count yourself lucky, because it is something that grabs you by your guys and never really lets go), and basically the promised pay and everything else just wasn't there, and I had to go back to California.
The whole experience is quite a story, but I'll save it for my memoirs. The point is that that was my first significant setback, and I wasn't really mentally prepared for how to deal. I didn't fall to pieces or anything, but I definitely went into this downward spiral and started not finishing projects, giving up halfway through something, and anything else that I would have scoffed at as a student.
In other words, I had become an arrogant asshole that had lost his way.
So what was I going to do? I had some bad habits that were being reinforced by where I was living. And even though I knew I wanted to make a change, the environment I was in was making it almost impossible too. I would always be able to rally for short periods, but my patterns of behavior ever pulled me back. I wanted to make a change and mount my comeback, but how? It 'wasn't enough to just acknowledge I needed to make a change, I had to do something a bit more aggressive.
I was stuck in a set of negative behavioral patterns that were re-enforced by my environment. It was entirely on me, but I wasn't strong enough to make the changes I wanted to. I wish I were that guy; the guy that does what needs to be done regardless of all considerations. But that's not me. I needed to get out of my environment to make the changes I wanted.
So I did the only sane thing I could think of; I moved with my family to Tokyo.
Cue the "HOLY SHIT BRYAN. How is that the only sane thing anyone could think of?!?"
But it's true. San Francisco is my home, but it was killing my spirit. I mean that does say a lot more about me than it does about San Francisco, but that doesn't make that statement any less real.
The truth was, I was *comfortable* in San Francisco, and even though it was incredibly expensive, my family and I were happy....ish.
However looking back on this now, I was really feeling complacency masquerading and comfort. San Francisco was the place to be because I was used to it. And for me at least, complacency kills the spirit.
There's one other point, I haven't spoken on too much about yet, but it's the cost. I saved money by moving to Tokyo; I'm not talking about a couple pennies here and there. I mean a couple thousand dollars a month. Yeah, that's not a typo. If my costs were close to $10K living in San Francisco, I'm now probably paying close to $4K.
Yeah, that's not a type either.
Does that mean I think you should drop what you are doing and move to Tokyo? FUCK NO.
Do I think you should take a look at your life and ask yourself why you're living where you're at? Well, yes. Yes, I do.
*I* was miserable in San Francisco. I was working hard and not seeing the return. Hell, I wasn't even standing still. I was moving backward.
*I* needed to make the change. And things are changing for the better every day. Are things perfect? Of course not. But I'm gaining momentum.
Real, positive momentum.
That alone is worth it.