From being in Hong Kong, to growing up going to schools at various ends of San Francisco, to going to college in Rochester, starting anew has always been the story in my life. It was no different when I told my friends in 2011 that once again, I would be leaving San Francisco for Los Angeles to pursue something that I’ve only ever dreamt of doing — to work at IGN.
I’ve grown and learned a lot in the past few years. And through these two years it took a lot of thinking in figuring out where my next level should be in 2014. It’s time to return to San Francisco.
But before I go on, I must confess that the decision to move back has nothing to do with not liking LA. Far from it. Carving a new home for me in the City of Angels, the past two years have been the time of my life.
Life for me in LA has been nothing but a pleasure. I spend every day waking up going to a job I love, and when I’m not working I spend my time living a easy, peaceful life. I sleep in on the weekends. I take my sweet ass time strolling through every aisle in Trader Joe’s. I also have a dentist, a dentist mind you, that I can’t stop praising about.
And when I’m not doing any of that I’m busy eating, drinking, and laughing my life away with a close, select group of friends. LA has been a safe harbor for me and I will miss this city (along with its impossibly good looking people) dearly.
During the past two years, I’ve frequent San Francisco more times than I remember. Work is headquartered there and most of the people I work with on a daily basis are in that office.
If anything else, the decision to move back is mostly down to me wanting to do even better work at IGN. Instead of cutting people off with “Hey guys, this is Winson” (which has become somewhat of an inside joke at IGN) during conference calls, I’m able to walk over to my coworkers’ desks and just talk to them. And instead of chasing people down via emails, I get to be the soldier on the ground for my boss and everyone in the remote offices to help get things done faster.
And like I said, LA has been a safe harbor for me. It’s a peaceful place where I can watch everyday life passes by. At the same time, one of the lessons I learned last year was to go with what feels right instead of what’s seemingly the better choice.
I completed an endurance project last year with #100w100d to see if I have what it takes to not only write, but do it for 100 days with precisely 100 words each. The project taught me a lot about discipline and at times tested my patience, but I want to put these learnings to use for my next upcoming project.
I can either try to do it at my own pace and in the comfort and leisure of Los Angeles, but this project will involve specific friends in my life, who all happen to live in San Francisco.
It’s one thing to dream, it’s another to chase after the dream. That’s how I stumbled into working at IGN in the first place after all. Do I want to give up my blissfully easy life only to move to a city where rent is at its highest ever, even in a neighborhood where homeless people roam the street?
Do I want to trade in my tank tops for a fleece hoodie, and wave goodbye to the sunny SoCal weather for ever-pervading fog in the bay? Do I want to lose the option of losing my weekends to a single game of Civilization V (or worse, Cities in Motion), for the chance to work my ass off on a self-assigned side project that no one but me will care about?
The logical mind says no; it’s not even a contest. But even as I write this, a line from a famous Faye Wong song surface across my mind: As much as you love this toy, you can only sleep once you let go of it; only by crossing the valley will you discover the truth you’re not willing to admit.
This decision is a huge gamble for me, yet it feels right. I’m at the crossroad between being terrified and feeling exhilarated, and from where I stand they might as well be the same thing.
I’m excited to what 2014 may bring. So let’s do this, San Francisco.