Saturday, November 6, 2010

Leaving LA is Like Breaking Up with a Man I Still Love (But Can't Live With)

Last weekend I decided, for real this time, to leave Los Angeles.

It had been a long time coming. I moved here in the spring of 2005, and fell in love with it immediately. After NYC, where I'd spent the previous four years, it felt like freedom and light and light-heartedness embodied in one big, sprawling riot of a city. It scared me a little, but it didn't have the bite of New York. I couldn't feel the cruelty that had seeped into every cold subway ride and drunken cab ride home that I took in the last year of living there. The relentless sunshine and warm weather and open windows and loud music I blared in my car (shitbox though it was) seemed to wipe the chill from those old methods of transportation away in short order.

For the longest time I was in love with this city. Blue skies and sunshine, obviously, but also hikes redolent with sage that I could get to in 20 minutes. A total lack of humidity. Cheaper rent. Excellent tacos. And then there was the proximity of my two brothers and some old friends that I reconnected with and new friends I got to know pretty quickly. Plus it still had a lot of the flash and excitement of NYC, but without being as caustic in day to day life. It was altogether a relief, and a lot of fun.

And I'd say it stayed more or less good for the next five years, even despite some shitty jobs and a soul-destroying relationship I wandered in and out of during that time. I wanted to change many things about my life, but I was always relieved that I still liked LA, that it was one thing that was working and that I didn't have to worry about. I always knew it had problems. The traffic, obviously. The cost of living, and the likelihood that I would not be able to afford a home of my own, not for many many years. The fact that I missed my family, more and more since my brothers had started having kids I saw maybe twice a year.

And then one day I realized my heart was no longer in it. I went to a job interview, and the guy who was interviewing me, whom I really liked, said he wanted to hire someone who could be a cornerstone for the office, someone he could build a long term partnership with. And somewhere in my gut I knew that wasn't me, and that the reality was that I just didn't want to stay here. I couldn't commit.

So I guess you could say I fell out of love with LA. I can see why I loved it for a long time - I still do love it, for all the reasons listed above. But my heart no longer is here. I could stick around and it wouldn't be the worst thing, but I know that in the long term it's not what I want, and the longer I stay here the longer it'll be 'til I find a place I do feel good about settling down in.

So next stop, Atlanta, home of my people. Humid, green, gritty, pretty Atlanta.

Provided I can get off my ass and make the exodus happen.

California - it's pretty here.


Anonymous said...

Godspeed & lovely things!

Tammy Pajamas said...

Hey! That title sounds awfully familiar...

Jane Donuts said...

Tammy, I meant to credit you on this post! I really did. Consider yourself credited. Best analogy every.

Jane Donuts said...

That'd be ever. Best analogy EVER.