I’m sitting at my kitchen table, eating dinner and staring past my balcony at the dreamy sunset, the ocean glowing almost purple. The Santa Monica pier in the distance, the Ferris wheel lit up in neon. A chill AF playlist is on in the background, and some dreamy singer-songwriter is strumming his guitar.
At this exact second, I feel like I’m in some cheesy movie or show about the girl who moves to LA after her life falls apart.
When I meet someone new here, and they ask me why I moved here, I tell them that the short answer is that I’ve had a tough few years and LA was my happy place, so I moved to my happy place.
I’m three months in, and the novelty is just starting to wear off a little. I live here now. I go to the beach everyday, because that’s my new normal. It’s as normal to me as getting on the subway was in NYC. (Hi, upgrade.) I look out and see both mountains and ocean. But I also go grocery shopping, pay through the nose for gas, sit in traffic and run errands.
And, as my therapist keeps reminding me, wherever you go, there you are. I haven’t been immune to feeling intense depression or anxiety since I moved here. I’ve still had some dark thoughts, though they’re more fleeting than they used to be. For about two weeks, I was having panic attacks nearly every day, to the point I was getting afraid to leave my apartment.
The difference? I have more space to relax (both literally and figuratively). When I walk down my street, it’s uncommon to see more than two or three people in a block, rather than the crush of people just crossing the sidewalk in NYC. I have a car (that I am obsessed with) where I can belt out 90s music to my heart’s content. (So, I am listening to the same music I was the last time I drove regularly, really.)
Some days, it feels like I’m on vacation. Some days it feels like I’ve lived here forever. I’ve had a few times in the past week or so where I’ve run into a friend, and that makes me feel like a part of this fabric, rather than a thread sitting awkwardly on top of it.
This may be incredibly naive, but I underestimated what a big change this would be. I’m so glad I made this change, though. Who knows where this will take me, but right now I am grateful to be just where I am.