Ten years ago I packed my car and made the first of what would be dozens of drives from Albuquerque to Los Angeles, and back.
The 4th of July, 2008, and 119 degrees in the Mojave desert. I stopped outside of Needles, California, to get gas and a chocolate dipped cone at Dairy Queen and had to eat it in one bite to prevent vanilla from melting down my arm. That night I made it to my then boyfriend’s apartment, overlooking the lake in Echo Park, in time to watch East LA explode in an illegal frenzy of fireworks. Though I’d visited periodically in the year we’d been dating, I remember feeling like a country mouse in the city. That night I lay in bed as police helicopters circled the park outside the window, shining their searchlight inside, looking for someone. It was hot out. I didn’t sleep.
In the years that followed, I became comfortable in LA, joined their costumer’s union, and created a routine between the two cities, mixing slow and fast paced, laid back with competitive.
And then, two years ago, I became tired of that routine and wanted to shake it up, develop a new one, have an adventure, try something new. LA seemed the safest way to do that. The truth is that even in my need to break free I was practical and conservative.
Recently a friend asked me if I thought of myself as a romantic. Yes, I replied. Though a practical one. She laughed. I’m the same, she said.
I make lists but they go something like this-
Learn to make bread and yogurt.
Get a dog. Name her Pearl. If a girl.
Dig in the dirt.
Open a little shop.
You get the idea.
And then one day, a few months ago, one of my many lists became one of pros and cons. LA/NM. Uh oh. As soon as I started writing, I knew another move was in my future.
Fun, exciting, interesting, creative, accessible, museums, concerts, stores, classes, friends, The Moth, live theater, earn more money, inspiring…
My cute/inexpensive house, family, friends, quality of life, low overhead, dog yard is ready, garden, air quality, commute times, mountains, spend less money…
Expensive, hate paying rent, need a roommate or boyfriend just to afford renting a house with a yard, much less ever buying one, traffic, air, have to work too much…
I groaned. Do I really have to move my stuff down 60 stairs again, less than two years after my dad helped me move it up in a blinding rainstorm with no electricity?
A friend asked me today if I will miss LA? I love LA! I will miss it. But, the truth is that my ego will miss it more than my soul.
I also know that it is here, hopefully not falling into the ocean anytime soon, and I will return to work and play, just not to live.
And so the adventure continues. And, yet again, the only constant is change.
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