I have this thing for California.
I lived there, a couple of times. Once as a child where I vaguely remember a small mountain house and earthquakes and quick trips to Oceanside to visit my grandparents. Again as a recent college graduate. I only lived in Los Angeles for just shy of three years, but they are three years I lust after regularly.
I moved to LA in 2008 with a halfway broken heart and a yearning for new life. I packed up my mitsubishi eclipse, a handful of belongings, and a best friend and we headed west in what seemed like record time. I found everything I could have hoped for. I learned to start over with strangers who became friends. I learned to breathe again and enjoy the damp ocean air that always hung early in the mornings and late into the night. I learned to fall in love over and over and over again. I rediscovered my sense of adventure.
I moved to Austin, TX in 2011 to open what is now my day job. I was really happy in LA, but life was begging me to move on and I needed to take a step in a new direction if I was going to develop into any sort of adult at all. I packed up my trusty eclipse and a different best friend and made the trek back to Texas. I always hated the idea that I was moving back. In my mind, both because it felt true and my pride wanted it to be true, I wasn’t moving back anywhere, but moving towards what was next. Austin was, after all, a place I had never lived before so I couldn’t possibly be moving back there.
Austin welcomed me with open arms and even provided me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of opening a coffee shop. That little shop then created a space for my husband to walk through the door and change my life forever. (Full disclosure: I acted like a complete idiot and hid in the backroom when I saw Zach for the first time in I don’t even know how long. We were close friends in college then both ran off to separate coasts, so it was a surprise to say the least.)
Fast forward a few years and here we are, 2016, still in Texas.
My friend once told me that before he got married, he had to mourn his single life. Not because he wasn’t thrilled to be getting married, he was, but because a small part of life as he had known was going away and he needed time to process through that. I think I have finally reached that point with California. I have concluded my mourning process. It wasn’t easy and it has taken me close to five years because I really like the person I was and the lifestyle I had in LA. Even my husband knew that “getting back to LA” was always my end goal. But now, my goal is being here, being fully present, and growing into this new version of myself.