Writing what I know.


with 3 comments

Am I the only person who thinks obsessively about where they want to live?

I guess I know of at least one other person, Denise. She wrote a post about it this morning. I liked the comment that flwrjane left:

What a good problem to have. My heart screams country while my head quietly insists on city.

She’s right, my heart and head don’t agree.  I trust them both equally, so that leaves me with my gut, who says “both.”  So what’s my problem?

West Marin is the best place I know for reflecting. When I work out here I find my mind often drifts to bigger picture questions, often questioning the necessity of the work I’m doing. Why am I doing this? Could I eliminate it or automate it? Would the world stop spinning if it didn’t do it or would I be fine, finding myself with more time for the things I love doing?

In the right proportions, this is a healthy process, one that most businesses and individuals don’t get enough of. In excess, I worry that too much reflection would lead to crippling inaction.

San Francisco is the best place I know for working. It pulses energy and entrepreneurialism. In San Francisco, almost everyone you meet has a crazy idea for a new business. Granted, most of them are either technology or food related,  but people in San Francisco know how to dream and execute, which might not fit with our stereotype. (While I’m defending San Francisco, please note that we don’t call our city “San Fran” or “Frisco.” “San Francisco” works just fine, as does “The City.”)

Where was I? Right, heart and head.

There’s a great piece of advice I came across when I started Knowledge Architecture, which was that the founder should work on the business, not in the business. Getting away from the city is the perfect way for me to work on the business. I came up with the idea for the company here, so it seems natural to return here to see the big picture. This summer I’ve been working on our first extensive research project. Again, easier for me to do research away from the city, far from the distractions of the office.

My head worries about getting too far away from the pace of the city. I worry that the country will make me soft, that I’ll lose my edge. I worry that I’ll become estranged from my team.

As I write this, I’m aware it seems that fear, especially when it comes to work, is what keeps me in San Francisco. That’s not true. I prefer the city in the winter. It gets dark early in winter. It also rains. The country can feel isolated and depressing by January, while the lights and crackle of the city are stimulating.

I’ve begun to wonder if the best solution would be to split our time equally between the two. May through October in the country, November through April in the city. The “growing season,” both literally and spiritually, might be best spent reflecting in the country. I miss our garden and I miss gardening, I did some of my best thinking while watering or weeding. Besides, it’s cold in San Francisco during the summer. (Smart ass tip from a local #2:  Mark Twain didn’t say “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”)

Anyhow, enough about me. Does anyone else wrestle with these questions?

Written by Christopher Parsons

July 31, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Don’t be so sure about the country making you soft. As I discovered a couple of years back, sometimes it is the city that softens our sharp edges.

    Denise | Chez Danisse

    July 31, 2011 at 3:58 pm

  2. This is one of my burdens 🙂 I’ve crisscrossed the Atlantic and the East Coast. And most recently, I most a decision that made no economic sense – moving back to Boston from North Carolina. But the intangibles outweighed the dollars – family, culture and tradition. Having my kids grow up here and sowing their own roots is all the answer I need.

    Jon Bornstein

    August 3, 2011 at 6:16 am

    • Kids are a variable we won’t have to take into account. I think one more variable would make my head explode, but it sounds like you made the right choice.

      Christopher Parsons

      August 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: