New cities. Moving at 35 from a city that I kicked and fought to stay in from the age of 19 was never going to be easy.
Although, I really can't complain. The move across was incredibly easy, and we have met fantastic people quite easily. In spite of all the meetups I've been to since arriving in which I've lasted 10 minutes (my current average time overall is 27 minutes) I've managed to find friendships in funny places.
Everyone has a theory on how long it takes to settle in to a new place. Some say a year, some 6 months, some say the 3-month milestone is the most significant. For me though, it was from the moment I really committed to being present in this new place. In the excitement of leaving London for a new adventure, I didn't grieve at all for the incredible friendships that I was about to put an ocean and a bloody large mass of land between. A month in to being here in the wonderful city of San Francisco though, and it hit me. Phone calls to London friends help, and don't help. As dear as those friends will always be to me - trying to insert myself back in to the day to day world of London life really doesn't help the loneliness. The only solution for loneliness that I have found is to be present.
The average time a person stays in San Francisco is 3 years. The average rise and fall of a new startup is 3 years. Sell for big bucks or go under... either way it's 3 years. And people here are weathered, wary of the constant footfall of new people to the area. Only so many times can you invest in new friendships only to see them leave before the merry go round grows tiresome. And if your heart isn't here, people are like horses. They can smell it on you.
After a trip to London in January in which during the 1st week I thought I'd never be able to leave again, in the second week I began to miss our new home, our new situations and opportunities and of course - any sign of the sun whatsoever. On return to San Francisco I felt more ready to settle, be present, and be available for new friendships.
I've discovered when you really commit to a place, it's a lot easier to find true friendships. On the roof of our building last weekend drinking wine and eating cheese with a bunch of girls from the building we live in, full of food from the BBQ we'd just had with friends from the local area, I revelled in how much can change in a short period of time. Call it the stars aligning, or whatever you please, but since truly giving my heart to the city I live in I'm finding real friends in the funniest places.