I have been living in the Bay Area for 6 years and 20 days and it has not been easy. I love San Francisco and Oakland but it's hard to survive. I started my journey in the bay waiting tables while I finished Fashion school. A few months in and I had to give up school to focus on work, so I afford my rent in the EAST BAY
After many years of waiting tables I just couldn't fake another smile again. I was lost and soulless. I eventually realized I needed a creative outlet and floristry was calling my name. I soon started Ash + OAK while I continued to work a full time (40+ hour a week)job. I thought after two years of working in the service industry and doing florals I would be able to quit my day job and follow my passion.
Well...... I was completely wrong. If you don't make a $100,000 a year or more you just can't survive. It all starts to get to you and you realize what is really important. All I want is to enjoy life and take it slower. But living here and being creative, working with your hands just doesn't exist.
I have seen many of my friends try the same thing and most of they do not succeed. Many of them have left the bay in search of this "better life". To be honest most of them have found this better life in other cities such as Austin. Portland and New York.
Why is our city so hard? I recently opened a store in the Tenderloin and I am face to face with the homeless every day. I take the time to chat with them or give them the snacks I keep at the store but it breaks my heart everyday knowing that this city just isn't looking out for anyone but it's self.
This city thrives on drinking, eating out and anything app related. We have lost our souls to the Bay. You may find my soul deep in the water near Treasure Island or at least I hope. I spent many of my nights ubering from one bar to the next. Wasting what little money I have to fit in with my friends who made 3 or 4 times the amount I do. What did all those nights out get me? Nothing but more and more debt and a few great memories.
I remember being in my early 20's and being better off. I lived in an amazing apartment in downtown Portland going to school and enjoying life. I had time to walk around and listening to music, time for hikes and time to sit and read a book (not an ipad). It's hard for me to believe I am 32 and can't sit and enjoy a $5 cup of coffee without feeling guilty. If it wasn't for credit cards I too would be homeless.
I love my flower shop and what I do but I just don't think I am suppose to be here. I ponder how other florist do it. Our average income will never compare to the tech world or other profession is the bay. I would hate to leave my Bay Area family but I want a better life.
A life where I can focus on my business and enjoy a backyard full of friends. A life where wondering outside was an options because my time was not so valuable. Where I could own my own house and not worry about my rent control or making my landlord upset. A life that consist of art, taking classes and traveling.
Why do we settle in SF?