Living In Los Angeles

“I know what you mean,” she says. “I lived in New York City for such a long time and when I go back I miss it more intensely than when I’m here thinking about it. That’s the way life is.”

“I just find myself crying randomly at stop lights or while on a run at how absolutely comfortable I feel, at how many memories come washing back over me, about how much of my life happened here.” I say, “It still feels like home. I remember all the shortcuts, I’ve randomly run into people at half the places I go.”

“All of that doesn’t go away because you’ve moved away. Who knows? You’ll always have friends and professional relationships and ties here. You’ll always have a reason to visit. Life might bring you back here, you just never know and the amazing thing about you is that you know that. You allow yourself to stay open to the experience.”

_The wisdom of friends… _ Walking along the bluffs of Palisades Park in Santa Monica overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the breeze and the sun mixing together like sand and suntan lotion on a summer day, my heart feels just about to burst as I talk with one of my closest friends who I’ve missed so terribly since I left LA in December, 2008.

Everything about Los Angeles comes flooding back to me. When I first arrived in the fall of 2003, October 16th to be exact, I was in love and felt like LA was this place where opportunity grew on trees and you could make your own path and create your own existence. I felt like anything was possible and moving into a one bedroom apartment two blocks from the beach in Venice, my (then) boyfriend and I were struggling to figure out what to do with our lives, what our mission was. We both felt like we had a greater calling, something spectacular beckoning us, we just weren’t sure what it was.

After my five exceptional years in Los Angeles, I still felt that way. That hope and excitement for the future. I created a full, rich and deep life. Not just the friends that crossed my path, or the rocks I overturned discovering and defining a city on my own terms but in my understanding of who I was in a city that would just as likely chew you up and spit you out as it would embrace you and call your name. It’s not an easy place to live, LA challenges you. The traffic alone is enough to send some people running back to where they came from.

However, like anyplace I’ve ever been, it’s about the people and the experiences you create. One of my favorite activities when I had visitors was to show them how big LA was from a vista point. But everyone is different so I had three varieties. One was to hike Temescal Canyon (canyon side first not ridge) for when you hike that last bit and look out, on a clear day you can see to the South Bay and Downtown and out to Malibu and the Pacific Ocean’s blues layer on top of each other deep into the distance.

The second option for the less athletic or more culturally inclined is to visit the Getty Center. Arguably the best art collection in Los Angeles, taking the tram (or walking) up to the Richard Meier designed buildings, you see the same view and it’s spectacular.

The third is to drive deep into Hollywood and up, up, up Laurel Canyon Blvd to Lookout Mountain Drive to Wonderland Avenue and there’s a hidden little spot where when you go at night the lights just shine and play off of each other until they blur together into spots deep into the distance.

I suppose, thinking about Los Angeles now, it’s not surprising that the views come to mind, the expansive and world-opening view of the city. After all, it’s that world is your oyster gut-feeling I get every time I see them. I look out to the roofs of houses and think about the people inside, their families, their struggles and I think about my own life experiences, my struggles and my triumphs and I feel a tug from the Universe to not go quietly into the dark night but to keep pressing and pushing forward, regardless of who thinks what or what happens where, because I know there is more out there for me. **LA helped make me that way and I owe her credit for creating both the calm mindfulness and the ambitious drive, the two complimenting each other instead of battling for first place. **

It’s people that make any experience come to life. It’s the people in Los Angeles, the friends I’ve made, that make my heart ache a bit when I’m not here and missing them so terribly. And then, it’s the magic of California, the way it’s always made me feel alive and alert and thoughtful of my surroundings in a place that some people dismiss without really knowing it.

I don’t try to predict the future. I love my life in New Orleans and the people I’ve gotten to know there in a few short months, some of whom have come to mean quite a lot to me. And New Orleans has been incredibly good to me. But I guess what I really want to say, is don’t think for a minute that I’ve forgotten anything or anyone in LA, and don’t think that because it seems like it’s all roses in one place, that quite frequently, my heart and my mind are wistfully looking off into the distance thinking about a chapter of my life that I never ever want to shake.

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