California Culture Shock?

Someone asked me recently what stage of culture shock I'm in now, three months after my move to San Francisco.

I'd say I'm in the Adjustment phase... ;) My transition has been pretty smooth - really, San Francisco is not that much different from Seattle, and the biggest differences have simply been a result of living on my own instead of with my parents. And I have to say, for the most part, these differences have all been quite positive!

I've surprised myself by how comfortable I am with solitude, when I have things to work on and toward. I do have a couple friends in the city, and I've been making friends at work, so I haven't been totally antisocial, but I have been spending the vast majority of my time alone and quite enjoying the mental space. It's also a nice improvement to live a block away from a grocery store, to have a kitchen all to myself as I learn to cook, to walk to work and back instead of taking a bus, and to be free of scheduled classes and volunteer duties.

In the couple weeks, work at Linden Lab has suddenly gotten a lot more interesting (and just in time, as it was starting to wear thin) as I have started focusing on a new project within Second Life and have finally learned enough that I can build with pieces I understand instead of slogging through a confusing mess, and so now my contribution and enjoyment is finally getting to that bend in the exponential curve. Still pushing the experimental stuff too - hopefully that will pick up in the next couple months as well.

And of course overall I have been appreciating the time I have around the edges now that I am no longer stuck in a cycle of alternating crunch and recovery from crunch. Many mental piles of clutter have been revisited and processed, many more to go, but still a promising sign. Over the past several weeks I have also been getting into developing the new version of Space Lord in an experience that has mirrored the development of the polished version of The Love Letter last year. Of course, as this means working hard at my day job and then eagerly coming home and working for several hours on Space Lord in the evening, I have not been getting as much sleep as I'd like. Still, I am very grateful for this opportunity - developing The Love Letter was one of the most enjoyable things I did all of last year. Space Lord may not be the perfect storm that The Love Letter proved to be, but it's been getting more and more interesting, and it's been nice polishing up my game jam backlog.

Right now, and I expect this to continue for several months more if not to the end of the year, my focus has been on getting things in order - trying to establish a sustainable routine, working through my mental backlog, dropping sources of friction like Google Reader, revisiting old projects. Fortunately, Linden Lab is the kind of place that is very flexible about a schedule where I go outside for a half hour of exercise before lunch, and a half hour of music practice for an afternoon break (perfect for refreshing my code-addled brain!). Like my sleep schedule, it's a work in progress and always in flux, but overall it's going in the right direction.

I have started doing some new things though - most notably, I took an introductory Parkour class this weekend for the first time! I can't believe I waited this long before trying Parkour - it's always been something I've thought would be a lot of fun, but never got around to actually doing. But now that I've started, it's obviously perfect for me. I can draw upon my previous experience with both Aikido and Capoeira, and it's something I can practice on my own time without having to find a partner.

So, I'd say it's going pretty well. I need more sleep though! Looking forward to getting Space Lord out there. :)