I’ve been thinking about how best to describe Southern California and the people of Los Angeles. In a city so big, it’s hard to pick a place to start, and accurate generalizations are even more difficult to pinpoint. It’s taken me a few days of thinking about this to really lay down my thoughts, and in some cases, I still feel that they come off very cynical. It’s really not that I don’t like living in Los Angeles—it’s just that it’s far different from anything I’ve ever been used to, and still more different that anything I could ever have expected.
People have been asking me what I think of Los Angeles so far, and I still don’t know what to tell them. I think they expect me to rattle off straight away something along the lines of, “Oh, I love it!” or “It’s great!” like you rattle off “I’m good, how are you?” whether or not you’re actually good. When I pause, they immediately assume I hate it, and then I’m left having to defend my moment of hesitation when I still don’t know what to say about it.
The truth is, I’m still not sure how I feel about this city. I don’t hate it, but I didn’t fall in love with it the way I fell in love with London and Edinburgh. This might partly be because I came out here alone, with hardly any specific plans, and no SoCal enthusiasts to show me around. I think it’s also partly because I’m not sure that a SoCal enthusiast exists—just a lot of people who hate inconvenient weather and enjoy the beach.
There are other reasons for it, too, though—the difficulty of living here, not only because the cost of living is outrageous for someone used to a Midwest standard of living like myself (especially when you’re not getting paid for 90% of the work you do during the week), but because just finding a place to live and reasonable roommates is like threading a camel through the eye of a needle (that’s not a saying, is it?). Everyone wants to live on the West Coast, and LA seems to be the center of everything West Coast, so real estate goes faster than a forest fire here.
On top of that, I’m adjusting to living in the real world—struggling with the frustrating politics and responsibilities that come with adult life, paying bills, and keeping track of everything. I don’t really feel like I’ve had time to let myself enjoy the city, or even really think about the fact that I’m in LA, which means there are literally thousands of opportunities open to me that wouldn’t be back in the Midwest.
So no, I do not love living in LA. I’ve barely gotten to know the place (…is it starting to sound like I’m dating the city?)—but I don’t hate it, either. I miss my family, and I miss my friends, and I miss the quiet tranquility that a Kansas evening can offer. But I like the realm of possibility in LA. I like that nobody here thinks I’m crazy for moving so far away. I like that nobody here thinks its weird when I say I’m trying to work in the industry. I like that 99% of the people I meet have creative minds and want to pursue creative work like me. There’s a lot of opportunity in acquaintances that way. LA might not be the city that never sleeps (people are in bed by eleven and not up till noon here) but it is fast-paced. If I want to make a living as a writer, this is the city to get me started.
So long answer short—What do I think of the city so far? I’m still figuring it all out, but I like where it’s going.
Until next Thursday,