My life the last few months has been a series of unfortunate events. I caught a nasty virus in Mexico in early December, which took me down as it has many travelers before. Then I was encouraged to treat it with antibiotics, which I did, and felt a tiny bit better, for a short period of time. Then, I had a nasty relapse a month after the issues started — lost of control over my body one night, and woke up the next day losing everything in my system all over again. I was again encouraged to try antibiotics, this time significantly stronger pills. I’ve been in recovery ever since.
As most of you will recognize, treating a virus with antibiotics is a bad idea. Both are simultaneously trying to kill everything inside you, but neither will kill the other. Alas, that’s the treatment you get from a walk-in clinic when you’re uninsured (I thought my Covered CA coverage was supposed to begin Jan 1, so I cancelled my more modest “emergency only” plan, but they were backed up so it didn’t start til Feb 1). Thankfully, once covered, I was able to see a gastro who diagnosed my issues, told me the worst is likely over, and said I’ll hopefully feel better in a few months if I take it easy.
A few months?
A few months of being a blob might not sound so bad to folks who could use a vacation, but to someone whose life revolves around building something epic before the ticking clock of bankruptcy expires, a few months is a death sentence. (#firstworldproblems, sure, but running out of money is real.) Before I started on this journey, I got lots of advice on putting health and wellness high on the priority list, and I generally have when possible, but every little scrape or sneeze seems to have two or three times the impact it did when I worked for someone else — that’s not something I fully grasped going in. Hopefully finally having decent health coverage will help.
To make matters worse, I had to move out of my home of the last 4.5 years in the midst of this illness and recovery (my roommate got married and decided to keep the apartment, which he was entitled to do). In most cities, that wouldn’t be such a big deal, but San Francisco is experiencing (and will continue to experience) a massive housing crunch. For normal folks, every 100 or so emails you send in response to Craigslist posts will net you about 10 responses, and 1 of those might be someplace you might want to live (not to say that they’ll have you, as dozens of others have also made it to that stage of screening). Again, that’s for normal people with jobs. Alas, I’m the easiest guy to say no to amongst a pool of hundreds of applicants: unlike everyone else, I can’t show proof of income.
And did I mention this city is expensive? I moved to the Mission less than 5 years ago primarily because it was the part of town I could afford (it turned out I loved it for many other reasons), meaning I could find a room in a 3br for $1000/mo. I’m now struggling to find listings of smaller, shittier old rooms in 3-4br units for $1500 in the same neighborhood. I understand why the price hikes are happening, and I’m less bitter than many folks, but I’m no longer part of the community that can afford to live here, even if people would rent to me.
So here I am today: homeless, going broke, and a lifeless blob. No one ever said entrepreneurship was easy, but I generally expected the difficulties to come on the business end of things more than in my personal life. I have plenty of business problems to figure out, too (primarily how to keep building a product when the sole founder is borderline vegetative), but those have no choice but to take a back seat right now.
All that said, I’ve always been one to find some light in the darkness (these are #firstworldproblems, after all). I’ve been spending more time with friends lately, and have even spent a few nights (weeknights!) under the stars in some of the most beautiful places in the world. And now, for financial as well as sanity reasons, I’m leaving San Francisco for a little while. I don’t really know how long — could be a month, could be many months. I booked a one-way ticket to Charlotte, where my parents will pick me up on their way to Savannah, then drop me at a train station where I’ll begin making my way up the coast, eventually ending up in Chicago/Milwaukee. It’ll be cheaper than living here, and hopefully less stressful as I continue to recover. I’m hoping to check out a few other cities’ startup scenes along the way, as well as spend time with friends and in bed.
Then, I hope, I’ll return stronger than ever to the town that I love to continue building my dreams (and hope some of you will join me in that journey someday). This is a rough patch, but it’s not forever. Hopefully I can make some new memories, even if I can’t do much else.