Most people fear moving like the plague for obvious reasons; like how that Ikea couch is way too damn heavy and poorly built to relocate across the country, or the anxiety that comes with trying to make new friends, and worrying about where you’ll get your eyebrows threaded or hair cut. While those are all real concerns, it’s a tiny price to pay in comparison to the massive insight you’ll gain from moving out of what you already know.
When I left my small town in Connecticut to move to NYC I remember feeling a rush through my veins, my head would thump just walking through the subways because I knew nothing. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. Hearing “take either the 4, 5, or 6 train Downtown to Brooklyn Bridge City Hall” sounded like Chinese. Five years later and I was the New Yorker who was giving directions to a lost tourist without even looking at Google maps.
But despite those unique moments that made me proud to be a New Yorker, the bad started to cast a stank shadow on the good. Five years in and New York and I started to clash more as time progressed; her winters nipped me in the a$$, her dirt started to get on my nerves, and her fast pace and overcrowding gave me white hairs at the age of 22. So just like any other melancholy love story, we broke up and I moved to Los Angeles; the one she had always feared was the side-chick.
I’ve now lived in Los Angeles for two months and signed my first lease for what any New Yorker would consider a MASSIVE two-bedroom apartment. Life completely changed, and while I’m an advocate for change, it didn’t change the fact that adapting is a slow and tedious process.
I admit it, my heart was a little droopy at first. My best friends, my family, and my sigfig, all in NYC. What the hell was I doing in Los Angeles? I’m an energetic (*cough* stressful) person by nature, how did I find myself in the land of the laid-back? Prior to moving, my gut told me to buy a one-way ticket out West would solve all of my problems, and yet sprinkles of doubt crossed my mind multiple times throughout the first two weeks. Because when you leave everything that’s comfortable behind, you wonder why you did, It’s natural.
Then, a few weeks in, I started realizing that the people in LA weren’t SO terrible, sure, they’re never going to be New Yorkers, but I started seeing them for who they were, a bunch of outrageously theatrical characters that made me smile by being their authentic selves. Not better, or worse than people in New York, just different.
And with the change in perspective came the increase in my happiness. A few weeks in I stopped trying to fit Angelenos in the same exact space where my New Yorkers permanently live in my heart. In short, I stopped b*tching about the same thing almost everyone in LA moans about: “The only thing bad about this place is the people.” Instead, I created a new space for stories of these characters that I meet everyday. Some are aspiring producers, others are YouTubers like us, and of course, there are the classic screenwriters who always have witty punchlines to say. Although sometimes superficial and ridiculous, I appreciate the Angelenos for who they are. In the end, these are the people that will help define my meaning of LA. And plus, trying to convince myself that they should be exactly like my New Yorkers isn’t helping anyone.
Then I came back to NYC for a week to catch up with friends and family, and it was like I had a new filter while looking at the overcrowded streets of the city. The same space that used to squeeze the creativity straight out of me now struck my bones with inspiration. A strange phenomenon happened: I was able to avoid extreme frustration when searching for seating in a packed coffee shop to get work done. Instead of wanting to pull my hair out like I woul’ve two months prior, I laughed at the unnecessary stress that I used to put myself through over the small things. In addition to my newfound laid back attitude, I now had the hardest time J-Walking and obeyed crosswalk signs like all Angelenos do, and really really appreciated the pedestrians chillin’ on random streets at 2AM, you know, the randos who give NYC the energy it’s known for.
During rush hour, in the heart of Manhattan, I looked up at the buildings and smiled, they smiled back. I was back in my natural habitat; the concrete jungle, feeling like an outsider looking in. I could finally appreciate the beauty of New York, without actually living in it.
What it comes down to is that if you don’t move every few years you become stagnant, and eventually all of the good vibes that were once flowing will dry up. So to avoid feeling like a dried up raisin, I’ll keep it movin’.