I never pictured myself living in L.A., the west coast or working for a beauty company.
A year ago, I hopped on an airplane and flew to Los Angeles. It wasn’t to visit Disneyland, or roller skate the boardwalk of Venice Beach, I was flying to L.A. to live, work and thrive. I reluctantly wrapped up my five years with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and headed west.
Moving changes me; since leaving Minnesota six years ago, the places I have lived have shaped me in ways I hadn’t quite imagined. D.C. taught me about hard work, perseverance, navigating power and how to make friends in a transient town. Northern Virginia taught me that my surroundings and community directly impact my happiness. My brief stint in Southern Virginia taught me that living by the ocean is awesome, vinegar-based barbecue is delicious and much of this country grows up learning a completely different set of values than the ones I learned up north.
And after a year on the West Coast, Southern California in particular, I’ve learned even more. That relaxing and actually living your life is important and it’s up to you to make that a priority. Work is important – you should do it well and make a difference – but it shouldn’t be the only thing that defines you. That taking time to swim in the ocean every week makes me a better person.
I have learned not to be so judgmental. I thought L.A. was a pollution, traffic-laden waste land. Turns out it’s beautiful, full of stunning nature that is easy to access. I’ve learned that everyone may not want to talk about intense shit all the time and that’s okay. That seasons are overrated and sunshine year round is wonderful. I’ve been changed by the experience of eating a real taco on the side of the street.
But these are all small lessons compared to the one that has stuck with me so closely these past few years. The lesson that for me – it’s good to feel comfortable and settled – but sometimes calculated risks are worth taking. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone has led me to a career, city and lifestyle that wasn’t available to me on the East Coast, or Upper Midwest. I like a life that straddles the feeling of being settled but also being open to life’s adventures.
So where will I head next? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
And in the meantime, I’ll enjoy this:
Yes!! I love that you can go swimming every week, it makes me a better person, too…or it would, if I didn’t go on hiatus after September (except for January 1st)