My 5 year anniversary in Los Angeles quickly came and passed. I feel like an old fart when I think, “wow – how has it already been that long?” but in all truth and looking back on those years, I realize that a lot really did happen. Naturally, I tend to remember moments of my life based on where/with who I was living at that particular time. As I ponder on my years in LA, I came to the realization that I’ve had 4 different living situations out of the 5 years that I’ve been here. And I’ve had different life priorities during all of them.
Living situation #1
I moved to LA as part of an internship program during Emerson College, but also for some superficial reasons – the weather, palm trees and stereotypical glitz & glamor. I wanted to live like I was constantly on vacation, and with that came the red convertible Mustang and furnished apartment next to Warner Bros. Studios. No, I didn’t work at the Studio but the fact that I could tell people that I lived next to it was good enough for me. When I ventured out to explore the city, I’d go to touristy areas like Hollwood Blvd and in my head defined that as “LA”. I didn’t know anybody in the city to tell me otherwise, so I lived my own “American Dream” in my bubble world.
Living Situation #2
By month 3 I had to vacate my bubble world and find my own place. I was still a newbie in LA and I didn’t realize just how big the city is. Instead of exploring other parts of town, I stuck to neighborhoods that I was somewhat familiar with and signed a lease at a sh*thole apartment in a might-as-well-be-a ghetto area. On top of that, the apartment wasn’t ready to move into by the time I had to vacate my previous place, so I was in limbo. My solution? My parents, who were visiting me for Xmas, let me stay on their couch for 3 weeks until my apartment was ready… Fortunately for me, my first job out of college was only 10mins away from my sh*thole apartment so I was super spoiled with the commute.
For the first time, I met some LA-natives who helped me explore the many pockets of LA, and thanks to them, I saw the awesomeness of the city. Wow – so much culture, diversity, and so much to do! I was amazed with how different each neighborhood was and couldn’t wait to move away from my sh*thole apartment and into something better.
Living Situation #3
I fell heads over heels for downtown. Granted, I also started graduate school at USC that was located in the heart of downtown, so it only made sense for me to move closer. I found a stranger roommate from the internet (not so much a stranger anymore) and we signed a one-year lease within an hour of meeting. And so began my 2 years of living in a 2bed 2bath apartment with a gorgeous skyline view of downtown.
This was when I started to feel more at home in Los Angeles. I had my set routines of going to school, my internships, meeting up with friends and I no longer had to rely on my navigation system to get me around. I no longer ventured off to touristy areas and rather got more excited about discovering local spots while continuing to explore different neighborhoods. After graduating from USC, I spent a lot of time going to job interviews and meeting people, so being in a centralized location like downtown made it really convenient for me to move around. This was also the apartment when I met this one for the first time:
Living Situation #4 (Current)
As much as I loved living in downtown, the antsy side of me needed a change and I wanted to be closer to the beach. It somehow worked out that I found a job in Manhattan Beach, so I packed my downtown apartment in a few boxes, stuck my kitty in a bag, and moved to the west side with a great friend I met not too long ago. Being closer to the water is a part of California that I didn’t know before. I love being able to step outside of my door and go for a morning jog around the Marina or hop on my bike to go to the beach. In my previous situations, I relied on my car on a daily basis and I didn’t feel all that safe to walk alone outside. It’s amazing how a simple move just 45-mins away can change so much about my lifestyle.
5 years in LA may have gone by in a flash, but the different life situations made it feel like I was constantly moving to a new city.