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What I Learned From Living In LA

A listicle of life lessons from my first time on my own. And my first time on the West Coast.

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10 months. Some will argue that’s not enough time to really know and experience a city, or a profession. But it was enough for me. For the time being anyway.

I moved to Southern California in May 2016, and life has been a whirlwind and full of the unexpected ever since then. Do I regret coming here at the time I did? Yes. Do I regret moving and following my dreams and doing something on my own for once? Never. Would I do it again? Yep.

In a short, and incredibly quick time, here’s what I’ve learned that I want to share with my fellow Hollywood dreamers and doers (per my therapist's suggestion):

* There is not enough time in our lives to do all that we love to do, so don’t waste any of it. Hell, there’s not even enough time (or funds) to do everything wonderful the city, or its surroundings, has to offer.

* There’s nothing more I love in this world, especially in this great state, than mountains, hills, palms, beaches, and sunsets. It’s my daily peace.

* Breathing, taking time, and embracing the little moments is the key to serenity.

* Outdoor exercise is awesome. I like running, it’s great. Running uphill on the other hand - NOPE.

* Driving sucks. Commuting sucks. And no amount of podcasts or Hamilton sing alongs can fix that.

* Having a high paying or steady or “adult” job isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. But it is a nice comfort, as long as you make time to live and pursue.

* Hard work (sometimes, but more often than not) will not get you that far.

* The stereotypes of LA people hold true. It’s difficult to connect. But they are some of the chillest and most interesting people the U.S. has to offer.

* That being said, no one will help you or be there for you. Most are only concerned with themselves. Learn to help yourself.

* The industry here is not “all that.” Creativity and diversity is seriously lacking.

* Celebrities are people. They are real. And it’s not a big deal. No one cares who they are, and they love that.

* I love Asian food much more than I thought I did. I’ll miss Japanese curry, endless Thai places, and true Korean BBQ.

* My love affair with a variety of authentic and cheap Mexican food will be the worst breakup of my life.

* Scratch that, my breakup with In N Out might be the biggest heartbreak i’ll ever suffer. (You can tell California’s food is very important to me.)

* Getting drunk in this town is just like the movies. There’s a handful of nights that give me plenty of writing material.

* The same goes for dating. (It’s a joke.)

* Winters are a thing here. They exist. In the sense of 50 and 60 degree temperatures, but I’ve lived in southern climates, so now I’m a wuss. But it’s not the same without fall foliage and snow. I know I’ll end up in the North/Mid Atlantic or Pacific Northwest at some point in my life soon.

* I lived in a “dangerous” (to some people’s standards) neighborhood, and played witness to gentrification. It has its cons. Yet, I loved it. The Eastside is the place for me.

* In my style and interests, I’m mostly “hipster” or “indie” or “vintage,” however I will NEVER be as cool hipster vintage sheik as the kids on my block. I’m too nerdy for that. And too eclectic. And weird in a different way. (Maybe cause I want to be a princess but also a villain.)

* Seeing shows and exploring this place alone, is my favorite past time.

* In fact, I love “me time.” But I also love people. The people in my life are what’s most important to me right now (particularly the goofy, wacky, nerdy, passionate, intellectual and cultured kind), and shared experiences, as well as lone wolf experiences. I’m lucky that my people are everywhere. But I met most of my people on the East Coast, in a college town and the place where dreams came true.

* Falling in love with yourself and falling in complete comfort and esteem with yourself is the way.

* There’s an importance to being selfish in a specific way, in really caring about yourself and devoting focus to working on and finding yourself. Most people wait until they're middle aged to realize that. And some are unlucky enough to never take that time.

* I fell back in love with my natural talents: photography and writing. And I know I can and want to make something of myself out of them.

* I realized I love acting. In its purest form. I love studying it. I love doing it, especially challenging roles. But that’s it right there. I don’t love the business. I don’t love roles that I “have” to do (for the sake of a paycheck or exposure). And right now, at this stage in my life and who I’ve become, it’s not worth it. I don’t want to fall out of love with the craft.

* I want to give back, leave a legacy; and most of all make a difference and establish a connection with people. And I’m still trying to figure out how, using what I desire to do.

* Everyone takes their own time pursuing and achieving their dreams, goals, careers, relationships, and in discovering themselves. That’s ok.

* You can (and I will) make art any where.

* The world is truly my oyster. I want to see it, live it, and be immersed in different cultures. Happiness can be found living anywhere for me, and I am enthralled with being in a stage in my life where I want to move so much and live in so many different places. I leave a piece of my heart everywhere I go, and will leave a bit of it in LA.

* Follow your heart, your wants, your needs, in the moment. Especially if you’re like me and listened to your head (logic and practicality) your whole life. Don’t listen to what anyone else tells you.

* Don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. And certainly don’t be afraid to be who you really are.

* I tried something. And didn’t like it. You never know anything - until you try. Which means be completely in it. Don’t let yourself wonder “What if?” Do it. Go. It will make you stronger and more courageous and more complete and purely you, you will ever be.

It’s a long list. I know. This was a major lesson I needed, and value. I discovered me. For anyone that really knows me, and knows my struggles, it’s remarkable for me to be able to be wholeheartedly and utterly comfortable, confident, and happy with myself. And I did it all on my own. And I’m better for it. I know my life will be bright, exciting and fulfilled from each next step I take, thanks to all of this.

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