My Farewell to Austin, Texas

James Titchener / @mistertitchener

Alas, my time in mother-fucking-TEXAS has come to a close. Turns out big hats, spurs and longhorns weren’t quite doing it for this cowpoke.

Texas for-like-nine-months.

But honestly, Austin is an amazing city. As a fellow libtard from the gayest city on Earth, we’ve given Texas a bad rap. Although I can’t say I spent much time outside of the open-minded oasis that is Austin. I didn’t really have much reason to. Austin had amazing food, fantastic live music on any night of the week, pretty girls, and sunny albeit scorching hot weather.

So why did I leave? My keyboard mashers were all but ready to tell you, but really, who knows? I can rattle off a laundry list of logical reasons why leaving makes sense to me and you might nod along with the story, but would it be anything more than that? A story? I could just as easily tell a convincing tale as to why Austin is the place that I’ll sip whiskey, shoot deer, and live out the rest of my god-fearing, root-in-tootin days. But that’s not how the cards were dealt.

I can’t really point to confidently point to the reason or reasons why I left and why I’ve decided to return to San Francisco. It just felt like the right thing to do. And none of this is to say that I regretted leaving the aforementioned gayest city the world has ever seen to try my luck in Texas. While it may not have played out exactly how I imagined it to in the hopelessly romantic visions that I set out for my life, my expectations, not the city are to blame.

Part of the appeal for me in leaving for Austin in the first place would be the harsh reality that I didn’t know a soul there, and I was looking forward to the opportunity to use the removal of outside influence that seclusion would afford. I found that this type of setting provided me ample space to think, learn, grow and experiment during my two months alone in Thailand the previous year, and I expected no different this time around. I came to realize, however, that there are limits to the hermit life, and for periods I confronted them. I was influenced by stories of Thai forest monks spending years in total isolation within a cave, doing nothing but meditate and having come away with something like an enlightened state of being. I figured if they could do it in a fucking cave, I could do it in an apartment with a pool and HVAC. However, at the start of my adventure in Austin, I wasn’t meditating much. I was driven to grow my business, but without social interaction and much in the way of self-care, I quickly burnt out and became intensely lonely. I told myself a story that work was the number one priority and all other concerns could wait, but in doing that I produced shitty work and was fucking miserable.

My brother joined me in Texas a few months after I arrived,and I was reminded that there’s something to the whole human interaction thing that everyone else seems to be so fond of. Then after a 10-day silent meditation retreat, I began to give myself permission to spend a lot more time in my day-to-day meditating, and funny enough, the quality of my work drastically improved along with my well being.

I’ve changed a lot in the nine or so months I’ve spent in Austin. I see the world and my life in a different light, and I’m worried that my friends and family in SF and beyond might not like or understand who I’m trying to become. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe I’ll learn to accept that others might find the guy with weird ideas, weird aspirations and a weird way of living to be—a little fucking weird.

So, adios Austin. Stay fucking weird.

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