Feeling Lost? Me too. Take a Moment.
There are days my heart really aches for the midwest. I miss the simplicity of it all, the generous land and the infinite number of parking spots. I (admittedly) even miss the small town gossip, the snowstorms and the grocer who used to watch me on the local news.
Don’t get me wrong— the near 365 days of sunshine and LA’s towering palm trees are luxuries. But it’s taken me much longer than I anticipated to really settle in. Maybe it’s the terrible drivers. Or my atrocious sense of direction. Or maybe it’s the lack of carbs. Whatever the reason, I’m still adjusting and I’ve been here a year-and-a-half. My family is here. And the city isn’t even entirely “new”— I spent my childhood summers in LA. Bottom line: I should feel like a native by now.
Friends typically think I’m crazy when I tell them the adjustment part is still an ongoing thing. They’ll say, “How are you not used to 70-degree weather and backyard pools?!” Not to worry, those parts I’ve adjusted to juuuuust fine. Quite simply, I’ve always been in relatively small towns, where finding your place and purpose is a little easier. As in any larger city, there’s more to see, more to do, more people to meet and a whole lot more opportunities to scope out. So, it takes more time. It’s just that no one likes to talk about it.
I had one of those aha! moments when my friends came to visit a few weeks ago. While in the car, the Chicagoan genuinely asked, “Do you ever just pause to look around? To really look at this beautiful place you live in? Just look at these trees and these homes!” First thought: I really should start instagramming more. I’m terrible. Second thought: Oh my gosh. NO! I never look around.
A few days after my friends left, I started a new routine. Once each day, I sneak a moment to do nothing but take in the scenery. I’ll pull over by a park. Or I’ll sit on an outdoor bench. Or I’ll just go to my backyard. Sometimes, I only have a minute (especially if I’m parked illegally). But in that minute, I take a mental snapshot, name something I’m grateful for, and something I’m still searching for.
This sounds a little meditation-ish (which is very LA, by the way), but it’s made me appreciate the smells, the sounds, the sights— all of it, just a little more. Whether you’re a newbie to an area, or you’ve been there for years, take your moment. Once a day. Capture that mental snapshot. And maybe one for instagram, too.