I am only 18. A year ago my family moved to San Francisco from Australia and I stayed behind to work and to be with my girlfriend. The past 6 months have been super difficult

Holla..

So i need some advice pls.

I am only 18. A year ago my family moved to San Francisco from Australia and I stayed behind to work and to be with my girlfriend. The past 6 months have been super difficult because I miss my fam. The only reason I am still living in Australia is to be with my girlfriend but I also really want to seize the chance to live it up in the bay area. i'm kind of torn between.

What are your thoughts???????

Cheers

Hello Fren,

I have a few thoughts, the first of which is: you poor baby!! Of course you miss your family!You are a baby!!!

Just because we’ve designated 18 as the start of “adulthood” for some arbitrary reason, and just because it’s normal to separate from your family at this age, doesn’t mean that it’s not hard and sad and doesn’t hurt and that you won’t sometimes wish to hear the cozy cohabitation sounds your mom or your dad or your siblings make in the background while you nap on the couch because it makes you feel safe and loved in a lowkey, ambient way that you never knew you’d miss but now that you miss it, everything in your life feels sort of eerily quiet and exposed like a big scab was just ripped away from your tender, young heart!

The truth is that most adults are out here kind of quietly wondering when they’re going to be picked up from kindergarten a lot of the time.

No matter which path you choose-- your bae or the Bay Area-- you are at a turning point in your life and experiencing a big rite of passage into “adulthood” (whatever that means). It’s not going to get “easy,” exactly, but you’ll feel more comfortable as time goes on.

Firstly, I can say with 100% scientific confidence that statistically nobody is working at the same job they had when they were 18, so I am consciously ignoring that as a factor.

Secondly, and leaving the girlfriend aside for a moment-- it’s possible you are feeling miserable in Australia because you are resisting the call to independence. In that case, it would probably benefit you to learn how to make your own way.

On the other hand, it’s totally OK if, unlike Australia, you are not comfortable being an island, and instead decide to join your family in a bay-like island chain (sorry).

You have to listen to yourself and decide what you are ready for.

Leaving the girlfriend aside for another moment, your thinking does seems plagued by The Greener Grass Phenomenon. You ask whether you should stay in Australia or go “live it up,” in the Bay Area, like it’s some kind of guarantee, like the whole state of California is free from real-life concerns, loneliness and difficult choices.

As a lifelong resident of California, I can tell you, it doesn’t work like that.

No matter what you choose, you are staring down the barrel of real change, transition and feeling out of place, and either scenario will require adjustment.

But that’s great! You get to have a unique life experience either way, and either choice will benefit you in the long run.

FYI, if you do go to the Bay, you should know that nobody will understand what you mean if you say, “Live it up.” The regional terminology is “Get hella faded,” FYI.

I must point out: you do not give any reasons for staying in Australia with your girlfriend.

I could fill in the blanks that you love her and that neither of you wants to break up, but you didn’t say any of that. You just said that the only reason you are still in Australia instead of “living it up” [sic: “getting hella faded”] in the Bay is to be with her. That’s as good a reason to stay somewhere as any, but you didn’t even soften the thing by giving your girlfriend a positive adjective (“my lovely girlfriend;” “my incredible girlfriend”), much less a picture of her attributes or the elements of your relationship that kept you in Australia in the first place.

You can’t quantify human emotion or value. To do so is both cheap and futile. But in broad strokes, both scenarios should be equally thrilling for this to qualify as a real dilemma.

Green grass reality check aside, it sounds to me like you are far more curious and excited about the Bay, and far less thrilled to be stuck in your hometown.

So, to Bay or to bae? I think you should Bay. If only because you admitted in your letter that that is what you want to do.

So, go for it!

Breaking up is famously hard to do, and it’s going to hurt. These are the difficult, juicy choices you have the privilege of making now that you’re all grownt up, and adult life will be full of them; the pain and the heartbreak are part of the story. If you want my permission to break up with your girlfriend to make room for this big adventure, you have it.

Few people are with the person they were dating during their teenage years, and that’s perfectly OK.

The fuzzier, softer options would be: go to the Bay for a long visit with your family to see how you like it before deciding, or move to the Bay and do the long distance thing with your girlfriend and see what happens.

But my honest advice is to pick the Bay and dive in. Be there and be present.  

 

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