So. I moved to Los Angeles.
I know, right? I left my perfect life in paradise…for this. For a self-proclaimed closet-hippie, it’s the last place you’d think I should be. The air is trash, the hiking is meh and the beaches are more crowded on the daily than Ala Moana on the 4th of July. LA is literally the one place you wouldn’t go if you were searching for deeper meaning in life.
Or is it?
On one hand, there’s so much more to do here than on an island in the middle of the Pacific. In three months, I’ve been to Las Vegas, Austin, San Diego, Temecula and the Happiest Place on Earth. I’ve been to a Dodgers game, trivia night, a comedy show, a food festival, a dog café and a rooftop movie; I went biking on the beach and bowling for the first time in over two decades.
There’s no shortage of food options here – conveyor belt sushi with fresh grated wasabi (way better than the soupy, weak, green stuff Genki has), dim sum, AYCE Korean BBQ, weird-flavored gelato and a plethora of kitschy breakfast places. And don’t even get me started on Trader Joe’s.
Do I miss home? Maybe. Mostly, I miss the routine, I guess. You know, frequenting the places you could really call yours. The barre studio. Your favorite grocery store. The quiet spot at the beach with the perfect sun to shade ratio. Ordering your usual at the take-out place across the street from your house. I miss the camaraderie that comes with working in a physical office (I work remotely now). My family. A few close friends.
I spend most weekdays at home alone, with the only human contact being with clients on the phone or through email. It’s been quite the change.
In her Ted Talks, Dr. Brené Brown says that in order to live a more meaningful life, we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. She defines vulnerability as risk, uncertainty and emotional exposure. It means showing up despite it all and really being seen. She posits that only through vulnerability can we experience love, joy, courage, creativity, innovation and change. It is essential for meaningful human experience.
But it’s easier said than done, right? We’re hardwired to suppress fear, insecurity, doubt. We’re worried that being perceived as not (fill in the blank) enough excludes us from being worthy of belonging.
You know that saying? “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Sweaty palms. Thumping heart. Swirling thoughts. Why do you think people are constantly searching for that adrenaline rush? It’s how we come alive.
I’ll leave you with some examples of what vulnerability has looked like for me recently and what it might look like for you.
- Quitting your job
- Asking for a raise
- Coming in last place
- Traveling solo
- Going back to school
- Saying ‘I love you’ first
- Speaking honestly to someone who has upset you
- Calling a support hotline
- Taking a pregnancy test
- Making an appointment to check on a lump in your breast
- Waiting to hear back on the results of your mammogram
- Making an appointment to screen for STDs
- Waiting to hear back on those results
- Initiating a conversation about cosmetic surgery
Brené Brown calls it, “daring greatly.” It’s doing the thing, loving the one, speaking the truth in the face of an uncertain outcome. No one said it’d be easy. They said it’d be worth it.