A few vignettes...
A seeming lifetime ago (i.e. before the kid), when I had an art practice, I met a sculptor who rented a corner in the same sprawling studio complex I was in. In talking about what we did outside of the studio (the place some people call “real life”), he said he worked in a hospital. Oh, doing what? “Oh, uh, I’m a doctor.”
More recently, I met someone who in the so-what-do-you-do conversation said she worked for a biotech company—her job title had a rather important ring to it. “But really,” she added, “I’m a massage therapist.” Soon after, she quit that important-sounding job to start her bodywork business, and next thing I know she’s living the happy life doing vipassana meditation, teaching fitness classes, and going on roller-blading odysseys. And she recently slept in a tree. On purpose.
This past spring, I went to a fundraiser at the AWESOME Chile Pies and Ice Cream (please go to this place and eat their food!) put on by St. Cyprian's member Michael Helquist, who had been selected as District 5’s Person of the Month by supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. Michael, a freelance writer and prolific blogger, is a force of nature with big dreams—grounded in good planning—for making his Western Addition (OK, NOPA, North of the Panhandle...) community a more beautiful and more livable place. He generously used the occasion of his award to gather his considerable network and raise funds to install planters that now beautify the sidewalk edging St. Cyprian's.
Speaking of Cyp's, our priest, Reverend Will Scott, left his comfortable position as an associate pastor at Grace Cathedral to work harder for less money because he saw the life-giving possibilities of a revitalized spiritual home at the corner of Turk and Lyon.
The Bay Area can be insufferably smug sometimes, but these stories and many more like them remind me that I am happy to live and raise my son in a place where so many people want to live in a way that is true to their higher selves and have the courage to define themselves accordingly. I like to bask in their glow!
Our family in other parts of the country think we're suckers for living in a place where it seems we'll never afford a house, but to my mind, that's a poor measure for quality of life. Give me a town of dreamers any day. —Jennifer Wolfe