For years I have flirted with the idea of leaving my home in Los Angles and going back to my roots in Texas. After seventeen years in LA I thought life would look a little different than it does in my thirties. Perhaps social media and the internet have something to do with that. However, inner peace hasn’t been the easiest thing to achieve with my expectations of myself and others expectations of me. It’s mostly comparisons and wishing life looked more like friends, coworkers, and everyone but mine. I should have known my closest friends felt the same as I do when they all dropped like flies and disappeared ten years ago. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t find happiness in LA, but no one ever talked about it. Until one day I realized I was the last of my crew still living here.
Thinking of moving home has never been my first choice. Though I am a proud Texan who has rooted for the Cowboys since the age of two, I moved to Los Angeles to have the life I’d always dreamed of. At times I had that and still do. But the life I want now isn’t that of the teenager I once was with ambitious dreams, rather the quarter life realization that craves more stability and traditional values. Not to say I’m packing and moving back “home” tomorrow because I’m still hell bent on staying in LA, but I am curious what the new normal means. After nearly twenty years between NYC, Los Angeles, and Paris, I feel like I’ve lived more lives than most. My resume and passport would definitely agree.
The problem is my thirties have been particularly difficult. I’ve seen a lot of heartache, overpriced real estate, and health scares throughout the years. Which begs the question: Is the topography and tinsel town worth it? The answer: I don’t know. Milestones feel more like markers of failure instead of accomplishments after my dream career ended in sexual harassment. And my longterm relationship shattered by narcissistic psychological abuse leaving me a bit fucked up. Most people have never seen that side, but internally I was battling trauma and depression. This year through the good fight (a term I use to describe the internal struggle with yourself to find inner peace) I got close to old friends again. Friends battling their own dark times, or on the other side of them. People that woke me up and vice versa and challenged me in positive ways. In a way we healed together.
I wouldn’t say I’m completely content or at full peace with life, but I am practicing mindfulness and aware of what I’m choosing now. If you are someone like myself who is coping with what “normal” means to you take a breath and slowdown. I’ve learned to accept that life is short and ever changing. That imaginary benchmarks are stress factors not solutions. And invisible scars require self-growth. Give yourself permission to say no to your preconceived timeline and yes to whatever it is that excites you. It’s all of the moments we invest in that make it worth living. It’s also the people we invest in. Invest in yourself first. Despite how wonderful the people you have in your life are you control your destiny and happiness by practicing self-love.
I say this with love for you because I’m comfortable admitting I’m in my thirties, I’m single, no kids and starting a new chapter in my career. This is my new normal. It may not look like most people my age but it doesn’t have to. Neither does your normal. If you are happy with the way your life is that is the most important thing. Your life is your life and you decide what happiness is and what normal means to you. There is no one size fits all timeline on life. Whether that’s raising a family, or traveling the world alone, those are your decisions to make. Let go of your timeline and live for you. Fulfilling isn’t living by stereotypical or society’s standards, it’s being true to yourself. I challenge you to spend the last week of 2019 visualizing your narrative and making that your best 2020.