View from the 21st

I’ll never forget the way the rain fell that night…angled straight toward me and unforgiving. And yet I walked those four blocks back to the parking garage as if I were stopping to smell a rose at every business entrance lining that bustling San Francisco street. It was truly one of those moments where you know undoubtedly your life is about to change in a big way. Everything was more vivid: the sights, the smells, even each breath a little deeper. I felt as if the past five years of my life had been leading up to this.

Shortly after that momentous night, I heard this quote. A quote that had I heard a year prior, would not have carried the same weight:

“When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.”

Rewind back five years to early 2014. A 20 something girl with a fresh love for the city and pipe dreams of walking up to some high rise building in the financial district and securing a job for a venture capital company. Lining up interviews there and wondering if I’d even have enough money for parking. But that didn’t stop me. I now know I wasn’t ready then, but that dreamer mentality that threw caution and common sense to the wind…that was what would eventually lead me here.

Amber always says “everything in life happens for a reason”. It’s a common saying, but I don’t know that it truly resonated with me before this past year of my life. So many things having fallen into place, even if preceded by sadness, heartache, and temporary loss of direction.

What started out as a fancy girls night in the city, ended up being my ticket to a better life. Everything orchestrated perfectly, in hindsight.

Anyone that knows me, knows I love live music. And of all the times I’d been to San Francisco, I had never visited the Black Cat Club, a famous jazz spot in the Tenderloin. On a whim, I bought tickets to a Saturday night show, hoping I could convince Amber to join me, despite her prearranged trip to Lake Tahoe that weekend. As fate would have it, there was a snowstorm near Tahoe which deterred her trip. So off to the city we went.

I had my heart set on us having dinner at Morton’s, a swanky steak house in Union Square. I had been there a handful of times previously, but none as memorable as this would prove to be. As we sat at the bar giggling and talking about dreams of future vacations, sipping sangria and indulging in the buttery lobster plated in front of us….I turned my attention to the quiet man seated next to me. He was sipping his red wine and as soon as he opened his mouth, he revealed a thick Irish accent. A conversation ensued, and as it turns out, he was a local business owner of almost 30 years. What his business needed, I had to offer. Amber urged me to get his business card, because as was often our motto: why not?

The next morning I had a bit of hesitation in reaching out to the man we met at the bar. I wasn’t sure it was a realistic pursuit. After all, I wasn’t actually looking for a job. But, I wasn’t happy with the one I had either. In fact, I’d felt for quite some time that where I was in life, specifically my career, was draining the excitement and creativity from me. Then all of a sudden that 20 something girl showed up in my heart, and I clicked SEND.

Six days later on a Friday afternoon, I sat upstairs at a hotel bar, downing a vodka soda for liquid courage and jotting down my questions for the impending interview just across the street in Union Square. The office was just steps away from the Sir Francis Drake hotel, a hotel I had stayed at in times past and that housed the famous Starlight Room with stellar views of the city. I remember looking out those windows on many carefree nights in awe.

That evening after the interview, it rained. I let my hair and clothes get drenched. It didn’t matter. Nothing could kill my excitement at that moment. I had just been offered the opportunity of a lifetime (at least my life thus far), and I knew now that I was READY. All of the knowledge gained, the experiences, the disappointments, the changes of direction, the thirst for more in the past five years…were pointing me to this.

As I sit here at my desk, staring down from the 21st floor of this well known high rise in San Francisco and listening to the cable cars go by below…there’s a rainbow in the distance. I feel like I’m home. For the first time in a long time, I am exactly where I am meant to be.

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