I’ve been in San Francisco since the start of May, onboarding as a remote interviewer for Triplebyte (which I’ll be doing from back east). It’s been a great opportunity to revisit a life and a family.
I was going to write a post about how I’ve been observing a pattern of loneliness out here, and how it seems like that pattern was lying dormant and is now active as I’ve stepped back into this life.
So I should probably consider it more likely that I’m in a pattern of loneliness that’s independent of location.
But it totally seems like it’s caused by a bunch of stuff I’ve been doing out here! I had a whole story about how my behavior out here was producing a self-reinforcing pattern of isolation. Maybe that’s even true—who knows?
I feel an inclination to try to hedge about this loneliness pattern: to go in an “it’s not that bad” type direction. In that direction, I would say that I’ve had a ton of equanimity towards it—much, much more than at previous times when I’ve lived here. I can see the workings of the feeling of isolation more clearly, and it’s often the most salient thing in emotional body space, but it’s not debilitating. There’s a sense of “it’s cool, I want to study this.”
I also feel an inclination to mention that it doesn’t show up when I’m actively doing something: when I’m at work or spending time with people, or even at times when I’ve planned to have downtime, I feel great. (This is a “you don’t have to wonder if I’m secretly feeling lonely around you and trying to hide it” type hedge. It’s not inaccurate.) The pattern predominantly comes up when I have unplanned downtime out here. (This may partially explain why I tried really hard to cram as many visits with friends in as I could on this trip. But I think the larger part of that is that I have a ton of amazing friends out here and not nearly enough time to catch up with even most of you.)
So I’ve been continuing to do the same work out here as anywhere. I should be suspicious of stories about how a complex pattern of emotions and thoughts is being created by a location or circumstance.
There’s much more going on around here than I’ve written about in this brief span of unplanned downtime. I hope that the experience of reading this post will convey some of it.