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What a glorious weekend. The weather was bright and clear, but cold and windy. So much to celebrate. Even though I didn’t grow up in the City, I’ve been here for more parts of on since 1999. That’s substantial. Plus, we came up all the time as kids because Dad worked here. The City is home. I’ve left and come back twice. It’s hard for me to think that someday, I really might leave. I might. But I can’t seem to think about that right at this moment.

What I liked about my weekend: Seeing old friends, reuniting with people I don’t know very well, discovering new places in San Francisco, and being called out on my weight loss. This is much more fun than I thought it would be.

This weekend, I hit a new milestone. I lie. I actually hit three new milestones. #1–I’m down 35 lbs. #2–I weigh less than I have in at least 8 years. #3. The smallest jeans I have ever owned as an adult fit like a glove. I decided to try that last one on before going to a friend’s barbecue last night–just to see. I actually cried in my entryway as I gazed in amazement in my full length mirror. I don’t care if people can tell or not tell. I can. I haven’t really tooted my own horn enough on this one, or even given myself a proverbial gold star. But I have worked harder on this than anything for a long time.

One of my favorite things for the past three years has been my weekend bridge walks, which I couldn’t do this weekend due to the birthday festivities. But when I am away from San Francisco, I miss it. I leave my apartment in Cow Hollow, walk down to Fort Mason, all along the waterfront through Chrissy Field, past the Warming Hut, and to the Hopper’s Hands at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge.

It usually takes me two hours, or a little shy depending on crowdedness or my state of being. But I pass kids and dogs and hot surfers and gorgeous kite surfers and sailboat races and tourists and others, smiling and happy to see the most gorgeous stretch of waterfront in the world. I have seen many gorgeous stretches of waterfront, and I am not kidding–mine is the best. 7.5 miles of clearing my mind to a random soundtrack of music. When I get home, I am either sunburned if the weather is nice, or chilled to the bone. There’s no in-between in San Francisco.

I think sometimes about leaving. I dream of moving to the wine country and ditch my teaching career and find some gorgeous winemaker and grow a vegetable garden. I also dream of leaving the US and being an international teacher for an American school in Paris or Umbria or Santorini. And I cannot ignore my peninsula roots, and how much I miss summertime, and how easy I would have it if I moved down and didn’t have a commute. But then I realize I pay little for a gorgeous Edwardian apartment in one of the most amazing neighborhoods in San Francisco, have a fantastic job in Palo Alto, and can drive for 3.5 hours to my parents in Tahoe and not need to pay for a ski lease or a hotel. I am blessed and I need to stop and realize that.

For the first time in so many years I can’t even count, I realize that at this moment, I am content. I don’t have much money in the bank, or a boyfriend, or a baby on the way, but I love my life. I realize this as every small corner of my life came together this weekend. I have a wonderful group of friends–here, nearby, out of state, out of this country. I have an amazing family and extended family who would move mountains for me, as I would do for them. I work in a fantastic district with kids who may not always “like” me, but appreciate my infectious love for literature. I have amazing taste in music, as is clear with this blog. I love my interests, like photography, hiking, skiing, yoga and writing. I mean, how does it get any better?

And finally, I am growing much more content with me. This isn’t easy. At least not for me. I have always liked me, but have struggled with loving me. This week, for enduring my job, and losing my weight, and seeing how much my friends and family love me, I realize that I am much more amazing than I thought. I don’t know who I think I need to prove things to but I know it needs to stop. I have committed to stopping these thoughts right now. As Mumford & Sons say, “In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die. Where you invest your love, you invest your life”. This includes loving myself too.

So to the song list for tonight. Most guys don’t realize that girls too love Rush. I have loved Rush since 8th grade. In fact, that’s really how my best friend and I bonded. I came home to her cleaning our dorm room freshman year, blaring my Rush CD. Thank god it was early in the fall. We have been inseparable since. In fact, we live four blocks from each other. I spent most of the weekend with her. Rush represents so much in my life musically. But I cannot ignore the word Uncle that comes up so many times in “Red Barchetta”. Sadly, my sweet uncle whom I love so much had a heart attack this weekend. Thank god he is fine, but I love him and am so thankful for his wife, for his kids, for us, that he survived and will be fine.

So perhaps tonight when Rush sings “Race back to the farm, to dream with my uncle at the fireside”, there’s something magical and healing in those words. I never listened to the lyrics of “Red Barchetta” closely before–perhaps because I never needed to. But tonight, as usual, someone wanted to get my attention and let me send a thought through a song lyric–a thought of healing or love or even both.

For me tonight, Led Zeppelin’s thoughts are right–my only goal will be the western shore. After a weekend of fun and reflection and renewal and reconnection and humility, there’s no place like home. My family no longer lives here with the exception of my cousin (whom I got to see today by chance). But that doesn’t always mean home. As I watched the fireworks last night on the bridge, I choked up. My grandfather upon returning to the States after WWII stayed in The Presidio. My mom and dad either drove across the bridge or ferried across the bay to get to work every day for five years. I walk past it daily. Yes, my life is pretty great. I am glad I finally can acknowledge that I too contribute to that greatness. Cheers.

Where Were You Last Night–The Traveling Wilburys

Jingle Bells–James Taylor

Awake My Soul–Mumford and Sons

Red Barchetta–Rush

Immigrant Song–Led Zeppelin

My Baby Loves Lovin’–White Plains