I moved to the big city of Los Angeles a week ago. I came all the way from Seattle for a summer internship for the ultimate film institution you all know of but I shouldn’t name because they are sticklers when it comes to representing them on the Internet, positive or negative. They outlined it in our orientation. If you’ve read anything else by me on Literally, Darling, you’ll see that film is my life, so this move and this internship are everything in terms of earning a film-related career post grad school. However, having this absolutely awesome opportunity does not necessarily mean I’m happy as a clam. Moving is an adjustment, moving to a new state is an adjustment, and moving to a new state you’ve never been, where you know absolutely no one except your coworkers is an even bigger adjustment. I’m a bit of a hermit, which complicates matters. It can be difficult to hermit in a brand new atmosphere where absolutely everything feels foreign. Here are some of the ways I’ve found to make the new city a bit more comfortable.
- Step number one to eliminate this uncomfortable foreignness so that you can attain your hermit-like nature: Decorate your walls! When I’m surrounded by colors that calm me down, I’m able to relax a bit more and can properly resume my Netflix addictions.
- If you have a routine in the morning, as I do, figure out how to make that routine happen in your new environment. I enjoy writing in the mornings—and having something to do ensures that I’m not drowning in my despair of not being at home with my people in my natural habitat.
- I LOVE tourist attractions. And even if you don’t, you should still make a small list of stuff to see in order to familiarize yourself with the layout and culture of the city. The neat thing about LA is a lot of stuff is free like their museums, observatories, hikes, and screenings of films (they generally include appearances by actors or folks behind the camera). If not free, events can start at the low price of $3. It is unheard of.
- My last suggestion for adjusting to a new state/city/living situation would be to maintain contact with the people you love. Tech folks invented Skype/Facetime/phone calls for that particular reasons. My significant other and I make sure to send a photo a day. I check in with my wonderful aunts every day/every other day, and I Snapchat the shit out of my friends. When I forget to keep up with this contact I get into a funk of feeling completely isolated and it becomes incredibly difficult to do anything. Staying connected keeps me grounded, and reminds me that we’re all still moving through the day together, even if we’re states away.
The point of this is to force yourself out of your hermit-like nature to get a feel for the new city, because Los Angeles is huge, and confusing, and not built on a grid like New York or other east coast cities. And there are different cities within Los Angeles. Who knew. But get a map, plan some tourist ventures, and go. So far, it’s helped me.
Let’s get a little into the culture of LA, because there seems to be a lot of assumptions of how folks look and act down here. I know I had them, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. But thus far (and it has only been a week) I’ve only run in to the nicest people, who are not concerned about juice fasting (although I do juice, but only to drink the vegetables I would probably forget to eat during the day with my other foods). Most of them live in this city because they have a passion for film. Maybe if my interests were elsewhere I might run in to the stereotypical LA representation, but what I’m gathering is that once you have an idea of who you are and the community you want to attract and be a part of, you’ll generally steer clear of folks whose interests are formulated around physical appearances. Though I have yet to go to Beverly Hills, they could be there.
So, altogether, life in LA is going fairly well. I miss my people, but I’ve sort of established my routine and made a list of activities to get me outside of my shell, and it’s helping. I think moving away from home is beneficial to everybody because it gives you a sense of the person you are, and forces you to challenge yourself and open up your capabilities. I totally agree that everyone should travel alone sometime, but moving away by yourself is a totally different experience that everyone should try as well.
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