Second Thoughts, and Third Thoughts

My spring trip to California worried me.

I flew out there for my little brother’s graduation in late May.  Desperately in need of a vacation, I was sleep deprived, hungry for personal relaxation, and looking forward to seeing familiar faces.  I sleep in the room I lived in during high school – before I went away to college, and before my familial and physical expansion shuffled my siblings around the blueprints of the beautiful Gerrity ranch-style floor plans.

Like most other trips to California, I stepped off of my usual Thursday night flight, into the airport I know so well, and then into the comfortable and amazingly not-humid Los Angeles ocean breeze.  I came home, had a glass of red wine with my parents, and went to bed in the bed that’s no longer mine.  When I woke up the next morning, I had an email from a creative job recruiter in Los Angeles, looking for a designer.

I’m not going to lie – for the next three days, I messaged back and forth with the recruiter, and I toyed with the idea of moving back to Los Angeles. It was the first time in over a year that the thought ever crossed my mind. I missed the freedom of driving a car and wearing jean shorts whenever I wanted, and more than ever, I wanted to be there to see my six year old brother grow up.  At the end of my four-day trip, though, the e-mails revealed that the position was not for me, and I boarded my plane back to Washington National Airport.

I had always told people on the East Coast that it would take me a lot to move me back to California.  Like meeting the man of my dreams, falling in love, and compromising his desire to move back to the West Coast with my desire to never experience the act of childbirth.  And even then, I used to say that I’d only move to the Bay Area.  So, I spent the months between that initial email and last week amidst conflicting possibilities – could I see myself back at home?  In San Francisco or the Yay area?

Rest assured, East Coasters, I’m probably here to stay.  Last week, my time in Los Angeles was well-spent: hiking, beaching, eating, and salsa dancing.  I couldn’t ask for more.  And San Francisco was similar: walking, exploring, eating, and salsa dancing.

But it’s not for me.  I will forever thrive in a city, surrounded by noise, survived by seasons, and oozing with creativity.  Where that is, I don’t know.  But I know that I felt more than relieved to see Washington’s beautiful (perhaps cracked) monuments as I landed.  And that ended those confusing moments, when I questioned the permanence of my decision to go east.

In a perfect world, I’d live in DC (which would only be a 40 minute drive from New York City), have 6 months of Los Angeles summer, 2 months of autumn, 2 months of winter, and 2 months of spring.  And California would be a cheap, three-hour flight to see the people I love.  I’d also work for myself, and I’d actually make enough money to have a gym membership.  Sigh.  In a perfect world…