Most of my life I have dreamed of living in Southern California. While other people romanticized a life in New York City, I fantasized about warm weather Christmases.
My parents were both born and raised in New York. To be quite honest, I doubt they will ever leave. My brother was the first to go when he moved to North Carolina for college. Two years later, I followed suit and moved to Georgia for school at 17. I remember when my mailbox was filled with glossy college brochures which pictured magical lands out west – colleges on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. (Note: not only was I incapable of fathoming exactly what Pepperdine cost for a four-year education, I was also grossly unaware that it was a semi-crazy right-wing conservative campus. Nope, not for me.) Needless to say, at 17, my parents refused to let me go cross-country for school. Upon graduating, I wanted to go out to California, but my finances didn’t allow for it. I moved to Charleston, to Massachusetts, back to Charleston, and then back to New York. But I never made it out to California.
I took a week-long trip to San Diego (Encinitas) and fell in love with La Jolla and Del Mar on my way to the campsite when I was 20 years old. I was sold on the dream. When I moved back to New York, I promised myself that I would give it a fair chance. Although I am far from the “I love New York” poster child that my brother is, I still felt that I owed it to myself to give New York a fighting shot. And so I did.
Last year, I made a pact with myself. I told myself that if nothing changed for better or for worse, I would transfer with my job to LA when my lease was up, in July, 2009. In order to make this happen, I figured that I would have to put my plan in action beginning in the new year. As 2009 creeped closer, I (predictably) felt that nothing was changing and I would be ready to go west. I even started to put the wheels in motion where work was concerned.
I spent a week out there last December and felt like I belonged there – that if I could have never come back to New York, that it would have all been okay. I checked out towns and neighborhoods, started to understand where the freeways went and accepted the fact that you have to valet your car at a $5 wing joint.
Lately, I’ve started to think about the option if something does change. How do you know if you’re ready to leave it behind if there is a possibility of something better where you already are? And if it doesn’t work, do you end up with a world of regret?
I tell myself that 2009 wasn’t a drop dead date. It doesn’t even make it in time to support the “before I’m 30” self-imposed deadline. I just wonder, as 2009 is less than two months away, exactly what I will be ready for.