Wow. I can hardly believe it’s been a year since I lived in California. It’s almost like Seattle and LA are on two ends of a scale. While the cool, rainy tree ridden Seattle will always have my heart, I gotta admit living in California was a whirlwind. You got Los Angeles, Hollywood, museums, show tapings, beaches, the dessert, Venice, skateboarders, body builders and more. There’s literally always something happening. It’s exciting, glamorous, sweaty and overwhelming. While the time I spent in the sun-shiny state was short, it did teach me a thing or two about life and I still reminisce about it from time to time.
Take Time to Breathe
It can be easy to get overwhelmed in life, especially in your 20s. At least for me, I always have a fear of missing out whenever I decide to spend the night in my apartment instead of going out with friends. But what LA taught me was that it’s all about balance. Sure I can skip class on a Tuesday to go see a taping of Ellen, but you best believe that my booty was still sitting in my 8 am biology lab the next morning. Once I got into the swing of things it was easy to both seize the moments the city was offering me while still being able to take a deep breath and get what I needed to done.
I don’t know if it was just me, but when I was in California it felt like everyone I knew was great at something. I had friends that were photographers, videographers, writers and sculptors. There’s this creative energy that seems to encompass the city, and it was easy to get swept up into the idea that I wasn’t meant to be a part of it. Just because I wasn’t the girl who got to intern at Buzzfeed, or had my work featured in a magazine, or grew up as a Disney star doesn’t mean that my work was any less valid. Instead of focusing on others’ paths, I had to find my own.
Motivate Your A$$
With so many people doing so many cool things around me, it should have been easy to motivate myself right? Wrong. It was so much easier to be a couch potato and to get jealous about all the opportunities my friends were making for themselves than it was to go out and do it myself. Everyone is very consumed with their own work, which means it was solely my job to push myself to achieve what I wanted. There’s a lot of opportunities it California but you only get them if you work for them. So I put down the bag of chips and got moving. For me it was as simple as creating as often as I could, which turned into a lot of DIY nights, a full journal and a painted pair of jeans.
It’s No Dreamland
Before moving to California I had this picture in my head that living in California was like living in paradise. I would watch YouTube videos and movies set in California and picture myself riding around the city on a skateboard, sitting on a beach in the middle of December and meeting my friends for an organic kale salad at the local hot spot. But to be honest with you, living in LA is not any different from living anywhere else. It comes down to what you make of it. There are opportunities in every city, in every part of the world and moving to California was not the answer to all of my problems.
That Being Said, It’s Really Cool
Still, California does have a lot of positives. Every day can be a beach day, there are amazing opportunities for creators, and it was there that I met some of the most inspiring people in my life. I wouldn’t trade in the short time I spent there for anything else, and I can even picture myself moving back there at some point. The point is my California experience was what I made of it. It wasn’t perfect, but it did help to shape me, which in the end is all that matters.