Saturday, November 01, 2008

The time to move to the west coast is now.

I'm not talking about the election, either. I am talking to people thinking about moving to the West Coast, inclusive, whether it be Washington, Oregon, or California. The time to do it is whenever you read these words---whether you come across my post two years down the road or you read it today or tomorrow. Now is whenever the time is where you are.

The reason I say this is very simple: it's not as easy as it may seem to really live here and succeed. Getting out here, finding a strategy for living, is the least of your problems---in certain very crucial ways. No matter what your experience of and thoughts about the West Coast have been, unless you've spent large amounts of time here you're going to be in line for serious, serious, culture shock. Not just "Wow, look at all these insane people" culture shock, which is the nice kind, but "my god, I thought I understood this place but I don't, and I don't understand why I don't understand it. It seemed so straightforward at first."

There's a lengthy acclimatization period after you move to "The Coast", one that's often unexpected and somewhat comparable to the experience of being knocked back in status when a person moves to New York City, although not as near as severe. Because of this, every second you put off coming out here is another second that you'll have to make up for during acclimatization. For me, it took several years of living here before I started to feel that I really "got" the place and started to feel comfortable. Every month or year that you delay it is a month or year that you could have put towards getting your bearings out here.

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