The most popular Longreads article this week is an obituary for the California Dream.
In an essay at Curbed San Francisco, Diana Helmuth explores why so many young people have left California. Itâ€™s not normal, she writes, considering a dozen loved ones have moved away in the past two years.
We are witnessing two migrations. One is the continuation of the Californian dream, where young people flock here for gold and glory, ready to hustle and disrupt, hammering to hit the motherlode and laughing at the odds. The other is the migration of young people out of California, which seems to have affected everyone I know, but which I rarely hear examined. These people want to be artists, teachers, blacksmiths, therapists, mechanics, and musicians. They want to have children, open bakeries, own a house. But they canâ€™t. There is no room here for those kinds of dreams anymore.
Eleanor, the twelfth person in Helmuthâ€™s life thatâ€™s decided to leave, had moved back in with her parents a few years ago, to her little hometown of Stinson Beach. North of San Francisco, it had gradually become a getaway destination of Airbnbs for rich tourists and well-off city residents alike.
â€œImagine working at Disneyland, then going home to your place in the back of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride while drunk frat grads puke into the water,â€ she told me.
To be clear, she loved her town and its bearing in the coastal California fantasy. She wanted to share it, brag about it, celebrate it. But selling bourgeoise yogurt crocks and $100 bottles of wine to people who didnâ€™t see her as part of their shabby-chic fantasy was becoming difficult to bear.