After reading my post about moving to Tokyo, one of my readers asked me to share what it takes to make such a change. She explained to me that sometimes people want to change, but they might be lazy. Or they might not know where to start making changes.
Shit, yeah, that's true. It takes a lot of work to change. And it can be scary and intimidating. And once you change, you can lose what you have. In fact, I'm sure I could write a hundred thousand different reasons why you shouldn't change. But why? You already have plenty of reasons why you aren't changing.
So, if it's so hard to change, or you risk so much, why change at all?
A friend once asked me, "How would you feel if right before you died, you came face to face with the best possible version of yourself?" How would you explain to them the gulf between where they stand and how far you got? How would you explain away all the extra Netflix sessions and the fear and everything else that held you back?
I think about that a lot.
I am pretty far away from the best possible version of myself, but I'm closer to him today than I was yesterday. And yesterday was better than the day before. And that's a start.
Regardless of how far you've fallen, or how far you've come, today is a new day, and tomorrow isn't here yet. You get new chances every day to be the best you can. But that is a topic for a different day.
Let's get back to the friend that asked me to explain how I decided to make the move from San Francisco to Tokyo, it was really tempting to just tally up all the pluses and minuses in a neat column, and send that over to her.
However, I didn't move to Tokyo because I wanted to be in Tokyo.
I can imagine that some of you read that sentence, narrowed your eyes, tilted your head to the side, and said, "…what?"
Don't get me wrong there are solid reasons to be in Tokyo. My kids will now have a stronger connection to their mother's family; they'll learn to speak, read, and write Japanese. HUGE BONUS. For real.
A lot of my clients are currently based in Japan, and being here in Tokyo is better than being stuck in a plane for 10 hours every 2 weeks. HUGE PLUS.
And of course, the money. Everything is just cheaper. So even without raising my rates, my disposable income shoots waaaay up.
There were also some significant reasons for leaving San Francisco. Once again, the money. I can't stress that enough, it's insane how expensive it is. And you don't actually get that much for your money.
And sorry, not sorry, San Francisco is FUCKING FILTHY. We have one of the worst homelessness problems. Full stop. There is no qualifier there. People literally just shit on the street. And it's a problem that is getting worse instead of better.
However, the real reason I decided to trade SF for Tokyo? It had everything to do with me. Going back to what I was saying last week, I was stuck in a state of apathy. It was easier for me to get high or drink and just watch Netflix.
I told myself it was for self-care.
I was just tired of feeling stuck, and I felt like that defined my life in San Francisco.
However, that is all on me. My kids, my wife, and my circle of family and friends are so amazing there are times when I used to think I didn't deserve them. And my little corner of San Francisco was a piece of paradise, and I'll probably never live in such an idyllic house the rest of my life.
But there was also a sense of something being missing. I wasn't moving forward with my projects. I wasn't executing on ideas, and goals were given up too quickly. I wasn't being the person I knew I could be. I was stuck.
When I was thinking about things and what I should be doing, I *KNEW* if I stayed there in San Francisco, I would never be happy. I would never be satisfied. And not because of San Francisco.
Because of me.
At that moment, all that fear that I had about changing took a backseat. I can't say that it was gone, cause that would be a fucking lie, but losing what I had in San Francisco wasn't so bad anymore, because I realized what I had was killing my spirit. It kept me lazy and afraid. So when it came to decision time, the change was no longer scary.
It was just necessary.
Once I could see things that way, it put control of my life back in my hands, and it was like a switch was flicked in my head. There was no lightning and thunder, no dramatic swelling of music like in the movies. But something shifted, and I was able to start making THE BIG CHANGE. And mostly, I could get down to the business of life.