What 3 Months on The Road Taught Me

Alas, my time living here in Sunnyvale/San Jose has come to an end. It felt like being at a super fun summer camp, where I got to meet a bunch of rad people, beef up my design skills and learn the in’s and out’s of my new company. It’s a little sad saying goodbye to all these shiny, happy, prank playing faces. But I’m happy to put away my suitcase and unpack it for the 56th time (no joke—I counted.)

This experience came at the right time and was exactly what I needed. I had been at my old job for about 5 years and life was feeling stale.
Here’s what I learned:

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1. Stretching My Comfort Zone
As a huge routine person this has stretched me in the smallest senses like, “where’s the grocery store?”
I used to ride my bike practically everywhere, now I’m more comfortable with driving. I used to hesitate to try something new, if I didn’t know the area or the people going but I’ve had to overcome many of those notions.

Navigating around a new area was a big change, with much leaning on my GPS to get me around. Funny how you realize just how strong you are once you jump right in.

2. Appreciation for the Small Things
I now cherish simple get together’s like going to coffee. I hold my relationships more dearly. When you’re out of your element for so long you don’t realize how luck you are to be able to call up a friend and just hang.

3. Rediscovered Love for My Home Town
I already loved Sacramento when I left but this trip really set it on fire for me.
The food in Sacramento makes me so happy, let alone the aesthetically pleasing interiors.
(Think Low Brau, Tank House, Hook & Ladder, Red Rabbit + Shady Lady)

I missed the many monthly events held in midtown/downtown. Crocker Art Mix, THIS Midtown, Farmer’s Market, Comedy Spot improv nights, Lipstick dance parties, That Thing on Friday (seriously it’s the name) at Barfly, Roaming Spoon, Menagerie pop up art galleries, second saturday, Gather Oak Park + many more.

I’m SO proud and thankful for this vibrant community full of kick ass creatives.

4. Realizing My Resilience
It can be daunting to unpack Friday night, repack Sunday night. Live in a home with a family who’s not your own. But I did it. I did an event in the city working 12 hours a day for 14 days straight. I drove 12 hrs per week for 14 weeks straight. Now, I’m definitely a stronger person for it.

5. Loss of Attachment to Material Things
Let’s start off with I LOVE my things. I enjoy having the right food items in the fridge at all times that fit my eating plan. I love having the correct art supplies, hygiene items and clothing around at all times. You know what I love more than my things? Having my things in their exact spot. So this was huge to learn to let go of this. There times I forgot to pack enough clothes for the week or I didn’t bring a jacket or work out clothes. I learned to ease up on some of my ridiculous eating habits. Just as simple as that you learn to adapt to survive.

6. Taking Pride in My Work Again
I fell into a trap where I felt so constricted at my old work place I wasn’t even sure if I even liked design anymore. I really needed a new experience to freshen my outlook. Somewhere along the line I stopped trying to really “push it” or “own” my work led by many limiting beliefs about myself or design. I’m taking small steps to work on improving this everyday.

7. To Self Reflect
Normally I had a 3 minute bike commute home, with 12 hours on the road per week I had a ton of time to think. I’ve listened to nearly 200 hours worth of podcasts. I’ve learned so much about how to improve the human experience.
I’ve taken in many tips about money management, meditation, mastering habits, personal values, motherhood, regulating hormones, business tips + relational advice. Most of these came from The Lively Show, please check it out!

8. Focus on My Love Life
We endured some rough times these past 3 months. Our only real time together were Saturday nights, seeing as he works retail day time on Saturday and Sunday (ironically, the only days I’m in town). Imagine coming home Friday night at 10pm and being exhausted from the 2 hour drive and long week. Then needed to put on your happy face to see your boyfriend who you haven’t seen all week. It felt like we needed to have happy cherry times for my full stay at home on the weekends. Obviously that’s not realistic. The time apart really highlighted the areas we feel are lacking in our relationship. We we’re clearly able to spell out what we need from each other. During the tough times we read a book called, Keep Your Love On. This was a great way to stay connected and work on the relationship from a far. We still have work to do but the discoveries alone need to be celebrated!

Wish me luck in the next chapter of my WFH life (work from home). The new areas I want to work on are actually getting ready for the day, scheduling time out of the house with friends (lunches etc) and planning ahead to meet up at a co-working space.

What have you learned in tough times that stretched your limits? Was it worth it? Would you do it again?

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Comments:

  1. andrea

    Great post! I few years ago I was in a similar driving situation (my landlord foreclosed and I had to move back home till I found a place) I was commuting from the bay area to work everyday here in Sacramento. I learned so much about myself and what I wanted in life on those drives! It was the craziest thing but I really feel like I chose the life path I took instead of just letting it happen to me. I am really thankful for the experience 🙂

  2. Andrea

    I had no idea you were in my area…I live and work in Sunnyvale too! Where are you headed back too? Bummed, it would have been great to meet up over the summer!

    -Andrea

    • haley

      Shoot! I wish I knew this too—I would have loved to hang out! I knew like 1 person who lived there.

  3. Annie

    Hi Haley! It was great reading this and seeing your perspective on things. I’ll miss seeing you around the office but I’m excited to see how WFH is like for you 🙂