While I was on the west coast, I spent a lot of time alone; and I wasn’t used to that. I was used to going to others for help, for answers and solutions, for guidance. Technically, I could still do those things; I just wasn’t as tempted anymore. I wanted to figure things out for myself. I wanted to solve my own problems. I wanted to test my limits and see how much I was capable of on my own. This was emotional and intimidating, because I was growing out of the person I used to be. I was learning what it meant to pay rent, how to get myself places without the reliance on someone else, and how to follow my own instincts first. I was growing into someone new. The greatest lesson I learned while living on the other side of the country was deciding for myself. And thus, the story begins.
“I hopped off the plane at LAX, with a dream and my cardigan.” And hope. Lots of hope. And fear. And excitement. Uncertainty. A whirlwind of emotions and thoughts had overtaken me within this 6 hour plane ride. Thank God for Owl City, I thought, as my headphones were glued to my ears. When the plane flew into an endless sky and landed amongst the palm trees, I experienced an unfamiliar rush of exhilaration. There was no turning back. I was following my gut and putting wholehearted trust into a decision created by me alone.
Something I immediately fell in love with when it came to Los Angeles was the immediate burst of energy. All around me, I felt the rush of dedicated, driven, and powerful artists who were focused on their paths; not stopping for anyone, and traveling at the speed of light. I wanted to soak in every ounce of that energy until it filled my veins entirely. I’d never experienced anything like that so quickly upon landing in someplace new. And I was eager as hell to get started.
I stepped outside and was face-to-face with the view of palm trees while waiting for my Lyft – something you don’t see in New Jersey. It was the end of February, and much colder than I expected. This was the first sign of anxiety regarding my expectations proven wrong. I figured LA was a perfect, sunny wonderland with consistent, 24/7 warm temperatures. I remember the nervous anticipation of arriving at my new home. I thought I would feel this magical, transformative feeling wash over me as soon as I walked through the door. When I arrived, I felt different – and because of that, I panicked. This felt a bit like the anxiety surrounding Christmas. We want Christmas to be practically perfect in every way, and panic if we don’t feel absolutely perfect the day of.
I realized this new move would require adjusting. I realized that this is real life, and I’m responsible for how the story plays out (in the pieces I have control over, that is.) I learned that living on your own isn’t waiting for the magic to come to you, but rather finding the means to create your own magic. So with that, I ventured out into the new world of my new home.
I walked through the Americana, (and it was a blessing to be living in walking distance to these places), and slowly, I began to feel a new type of magic seep in. There was magic in the unfamiliar faces and places. There was magic in the constant scenic views enclosed in sun, palm trees, and mountains. There was magic in the restaurants I’d never experienced on the East Coast (the first one I tried was Lemonade, and let me tell you – I still crave their mac and cheese as comfort food.)
Listening to music while walking in Los Angeles took me out of my own world, and towards an alternate, color-splattered adventure. Ideas and inspiration were pouring out of me as I took in these new surroundings. I’d romanticize my walks, the long bus rides, the crowded train rides. I suddenly realized how comforting it was to have my own place to walk back to once the day was winding down. I’d breathe in the cool air and watch the palm trees transform into silhouettes that complimented the deeply blue, darkened skies. I began to fall hopelessly in love with this type of independent living.
Is this the beauty of being alone?
Deciding for myself was how I began to find myself. I developed a newfound relationship with myself throughout this entire journey. I didn’t feel tied down to anything in particular, and that made opportunities feel limitless. Even when I didn’t know that many people, I always had myself, my music, and the mountains.
This week, I challenge you to decide for yourself. Find that inner spark that’s been waiting for you to say “I hear you. I’m listening.” Make a decision for yourself that feels right, and stick with it. For example, if you’re tempted to dye your hair dark, but you feel others would prefer it light, choose yourself. I guarantee you’ll feel better knowing you trusted yourself and went along for the ride first. Don’t worry about where others stand. The right ones will support and love you unconditionally. Remember that this is your life, and you are more than capable of knowing what’s best for you.
When we begin deciding for ourselves, we unlock endless freedom, and unleash the people we were born to be.