Sometimes, it's nice for something to be exactly what you thought it would be. I knew I would have fun in L.A. I knew it would be an "easy" place to live because I already knew people there. Heck, I had already visited multiple times! I had spent many nights in the apartment I would now call home for the next two months. I knew I would clear my normal hurdles seamlessly. After a long trip from Austin, driving into LA almost felt like going home. It came at the perfect time in the arc of this trip. I was tired of being on the road and ready to have a semblance of stability.
Despite sliding into my L.A. life with relative ease, I dealt with a lot of unexpected emotional challenges during my months there. I spent many days laying in my bed, face down, while the sun was blaring outside my window, thinking:
"Why am I even doing this?"
"Do I even want to do this anymore?"
The short answer is: yes. But I fell down the rabbit hole of familiarity. And sometimes it's hard to walk away from your best friend coming over with a bottle of vodka and some Jimmy Dean microwave breakfast sandwiches. It's hard to walk away from new friends, a newfound gym obsession, and perpetual sunshine.
But I realized that my trip sort of froze while I was in LA. Everything was so familiar that I didn't keep up with any of the promises I made to myself when this started out. I rarely explored, I stopped taking video, I stopped writing here. I was so comfortable that it didn't really feel like I was on a trip at all.
It got me thinking about all of the ways that routines and stability have gotten me stuck in the past. And it worried me how quickly I fell back into my old patterns when around familiar faces and places. Now, I'm not advocating for never having a group of friends or daily responsibilities again, but rather making note of how I want to stay present in my life even after this trip is over. And making a special note about how that doesn't just happen. It's something that takes commitment, attention, and work.
I could've stayed much longer in LA. But I knew if I stayed it wouldn't be because I had found the perfect city for me. It would be because it was the path of least resistance. I didn't set out to do this because it was comfortable and I had a lot of the country left to see. And most of all, I wanted to start paying attention again. So off I went.
The last few months have been hectic and stressful but also wonderful and unexpectedly helpful. I'm moving at a lot faster pace as I try to get back to the east coast for my sister's wedding this summer. More on how that pace is shaping things in another post. But in the meantime, whenever I get in the weeds with thoughts that I'm "messing up," I have to remind myself:
I made this all up.
This idea was my own creation. And that's a hard thing to mess up.