Skip ahead for details about life in Los Angeles specifically. It’s goodbye San Francisco, hello LA!
For years, since I started writing in 2009, this blog has been a means of escape—of living a life and a reality outside of my real one and of writing and discussing topics that otherwise I didn’t get to address in my daily life or in my career. However much of a means to an end jobs are, they’re still closely tied to our identities, and having one that ‘fits’ is a huge piece of the puzzle of life.
During this time, I had two of two goals: to work in the arena I find stimulating and exciting (fashion, retail, luxury, etc.), or simply have the funds to be a regular participant in the market, i.e. a regular, a VIP, an influencer. On the sidelines, but a respected connoisseur. This is why I moved to Italy to go back to school (addressing the first) and why I racked up thousands in credit card debt (to support my status and accumulation in pursuit of the second). But it was all a series of infantile, knee-jerk reactions to an underlying dissatisfaction and lack of fulfillment in my daily life.
The truth is, I was posting a lot more here when I was unhappy, and when I was striving for something different than what I had. I was reaching for any sliver of recognition or appreciation or admiration that I could get, flexing my knowledge and point of view in areas that I so desperately wanted to be involved in. That all changed a few months ago, precisely when I dropped off in my writing.
TLDR: Today, and for the last several months, I’ve concluded a multi-year chapter of my life with what I would call a huge win: I am finally working in my chosen industry, doing for work what I used to do here, in my free time.
I’m directing the marketing and communications activities of a luxury e-commerce website that sells designer fashion—precisely the products I have always appreciated and been passionate about. It’s not an established player, but rather a modern start-up, disrupting what is ultimately an old-fashioned industry. So the daily reality isn’t without growth pains, but it’s fun. I do a lot of hard work, but I am stimulated too.
Something I came to understand along the way over these last years is that fun is something I need in my work. It doesn’t have to be 24/7 laughs, and I actually thrive on some healthy pressure, but it needs to be creative and stimulating at least part of the time.
I suppose it would be easier if I was motivated primarily by money, in which case I’d be in a different industry and would probably have achieved more by now, like buying a house. But I took a long time to figure it out what works for me and won’t apologize for taking that journey.
I haven’t written since last year because I’ve been busy living.
Of course I’m absolutely busier than I was, so when the weekend arrives, I’m just drained and exhausted and don’t feel like writing for myself on top of all that I wrote during the week for work. But in general, I’m just more present in life, relishing in the arrival of right here and right now, rather than pining for something else. Living less in an imagined future, more in the moment. Not making plans or goals or feeling a sense of need, but feeling (more) fully realized. It may come as no surprise that I’ve also felt incredibly in touch with my self lately, observing my experiences and reactions, identifying short and long term goals, pushing through, accepting and understanding more deeply than ever before.
So here’s my status update: I love living in Los Angeles. I’m really enjoying my job, and feel like I’m on the right path, finally, after much struggle, strife, and friction. Losing those things in favor of
happiness and relative satisfaction peace is quite the mental improvement. Contentment is new to me, so I haven’t been entirely sure how to react or handle it. I struck out the words above because I think happiness and satisfaction are always relative and fluid. Life is never short of letdowns, frustrations, discomfort, or annoyance, but that doesn’t mean things are falling apart. If the macro forces are moving in the right direction, then I can let go of minor disappointments.
I would have loved to have gone from 0 to 60 overnight (after getting this fabulous job, moving, basically starting from scratch), but life is a series of steps and making methodical choices to arrive at ultimate goals. Nothing happens overnight, so I will be even more happy and satisfied in another year, when my flower has even more fully bloomed. The difference is that now, minor inconveniences hardly bother me. I don’t have a car in Los Angeles, and that shocks people, but I make it painless by working from home a lot, getting my groceries delivered, and prioritizing my trips, which I take either on the bus or by Lyft/Uber. Or—truly subversive—I walk (and do so with a renewed appreciation for good weather).
The way I can tell I’m more at peace now, other than being less irritable overall, is that I get these waves of intense emotion that either make me super giddy and smiley (typically in a long Lyft ride watching the glittering city go by), teary with happiness (at the gym, on the treadmill, thinking about my mom), or incredibly grateful and lucky (thinking about everyone along the way who helped keep me on course). It’s why I’ve been writing a lot of letters, sending “I owe you big time” gifts in the mail to friends and family, and more regularly accepting that life is never going to be easy, but it can be beautiful and rewarding, and it’s as much about the journey as it is about the destination.
On the subject of Los Angeles, ever the polarizing, frenetic, complicated metropolis…I love it. I love the light and the trees and the hills. I love the neighborhoods and the architecture, and all the amazing spots to eat, drink, and shop. I love trekking downtown, which feels so much like Gotham, but also spending an evening in Venice, which is the epitome of laid back and stylish.
Like any multilayered relationship, living in LA it isn’t simple or carefree or ever able to run on autopilot. It requires constant engagement and regular disengagement. It’s infinitely stimulating, which taken to the extreme can be soul-sucking, but it’s also fascinating and exciting and full of things to discover. I am always amazed at the diversity here.
It feels like a city of ethnic neighborhoods and agglomerations stitched together with a common love of the SoCal landscape and way of life.
Within all of its conflict, there’s a harmony to how things work here, a sort of understanding everyone has about what to expect—traffic will be bad, sunsets will be good, and in the end, everyone just wants to have some fun.
To honor my new home, I’ve created some ancillary content that has gone along with my big transition…
A Los Angeles Playlist
The Best LA Spots I’ve Discovered
In just a few months, I’ve only had so much time to explore. Some of my favorite spots so far, though, are in the map below.
Some Los Angeles highlights: