I realized within the last week that unbeknownst to myself, I moved to California with a particular assumption. No matter how much I said "who knows what will happen? I have no idea what I'll do next year. Maybe I'll stay in LA." I was never actually under the notion that I would want to stay in LA. Even California. Even though I've been working hard not to see life like this, I saw this year in Los Angeles as a step on a list of places I've lived, things I've done. Another awesome thing I can tally up in the list of experiences. I've said before that I'm working hard on being present in every given moment, and this is part of it.
I think in some ways I expected moving here to be like when I moved to Boulder; I made a life there, had patterns and friends and things I liked to do, but I never really felt myself in that life. I didn't fit into the place or with the majority of the people, and though I lived there, I never really felt at home while living in Colorado. Having never actually gone to another city or place long enough to decide that I'm living there (three months in Yellowstone, two in Venezuela, etc is a different mind-set, I think), I think I assumed going somewhere other than Minnesota would be like going to Boulder in more ways than I realized. And thank god it has not turned out the same way at all!
I realized after my mom left with a glowing review of the part of the city I live in that I am becoming attached to this place. I am fitting in this place, creating a life and patterns and finding the people and places that mean home to me. I am being very intentional with the relationships I create right now - when I meet someone at the church or through work or at yoga class or writing group who I feel a click with, I make certain to ask that person out for coffee. I am making an effort to step up, put myself out there and create meaningful relationships with people here so that at the end of the year if I choose to stay here I will have people who will also be here. Or if I choose to leave I will have people to come back to and stay with when the time comes.
I have a weekly routine and habits that keep me busy and centered in myself in a way that I have not had in years. I am not dangling on the edge of insanity between homework, work, volunteering and personal relationships. As my friend Jackie (the astronomer studying at California Institute of Technology who I met in writing class and who I get coffee with every few weeks. We talk about spirituality and writing and Pasadena, California.) said to me, I am no longer attempting to balance it all in my arms and spilling all over myself, but effectively juggling, even skipping and whistling as I move forward with control. Which is not to say that I have not been happy or felt in control in the last few years, but in some ways, I feel like I've come to a place where I am more happy, more self aware and more in control than I have been in years.
It's funny to look back on the last year of my life and the path that brought me to LA. All the things I thought I would have if I came here, and all the things I thought I lost. "A miscarriage of a dream is a miscarriage all the same," my program director Suzanne told me on the retreat in Santa Barbara when we were thinking about the process of letting go of the things I thought about coming here. I learned how to take care of myself, to stitch up my own wounds, and to grow. I am not broken by what happened to me to bring me to LA. I would have never imagined the world I have found and created here, and that's where the most joy and gratitude comes in: I have been over and over again pleasantly surprised by what I've been given in this journey.
I still don't know if Los Angeles is where I'll be living this time next year. I am still opened-hearted, open-minded and excited to see what will be brought before me as choices and options. I am so happy for the roots I am creating here, the foundation I've built and the trim and fixings I'm finding and adding to my life these days. I'm working all weekend, which means ten days straight of work, plus some nights, but I am so happy, focused and centered. I had an excellent night last night, a very comfortable and happy morning, got off work an hour earlier than I thought I would, rode my bike through a beautiful, foggy, crisp day in southern California and came home to find two hand-written letters from friends as well as a new issue of The Sun magazine. Its going to be another good night!