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Twenty-Nine

I love the arrival of timely articles. Last night I told my roommate, “It’s almost a shame I’m turning 30 in a few months, because I finally feel like I’ve figured out how to live my twenties.” Today, Ann Friedman’s "The Power of 29: An Ode to Being Almost 30" entered my radar. She nails it. 29 has been the best year of my life to this point. And given the discussions I’ve had with my female friends and family members from age 30 and well beyond, it only gets better. Added perk: apparently everyone likes you when you’re 29.

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"When you tell people up north, or really anywhere, that you lived in Los Angeles, they say, “I’m sorry.” And I’m always like, “No, I’m sorry for you that you don’t know magic when you see it.” I think, as with so many things, that Carly Rae Jepsen puts it best: “I like Los Angeles. So many artistic people, and I just love the weather.”"

Sarah Miller’s essay "Relax. You’re in Los Angeles" on The Hairpin. CRJ really does put it best.

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What this piece is not going to do:

1. Fan the flames of the “New York is over” narrative, as advanced variously by David Byrne, Patti Smith, et al.

2. Propose a tidy New York-L.A. binary. (O.K., maybe just one.)

3. Refer to Joan Didion’s “Goodbye to All That.”

4. Make value judgments about which coastal megalopolis is superior.

Amen.

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Articles I wish I’d written: "Comparing NYC and LA: Who is the Winner?"

At night, LA sounds like: Rainforest Café with occasional SWAT helicopters

At night, NYC sounds like: Law and Order SVU

WIN: LA

If you hit rock bottom in NYC: You are silently ejected from the city in a Darwinian weeding-out-of-the-failures kind of way. One cannot financially afford to hit rock bottom in NYC.

If you hit rock bottom in LA: You move into a friend’s tree house in Venice for a bit. Can still date anyone of any status, can still attend prime events. Still have Wifi. Still vegan.

WIN: TIE

A 10AM meeting in NYC: Starts at 9:50AM

A 10AM meeting in LA: Would theoretically start at noon, but will be cancelled by both people and rescheduled 5 times

WIN: NYC

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I myself am a proponent of option two.

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My friend emailed me this link with the note, “I think you will like this because you and I both lean towards the introspective and (maybe you also?) feel nostalgia for the dark times well as the light.” It’s a short musing on the positive side of youthful misery, as reflected upon by a now very life-together mother/wife/business owner. She writes:

Being settled — and a mom and wife with a cool career — was all I wanted for years and years. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the days when I had none of it. There was something really light about those very dark days. 

Ladies, keep on keeping on down the long, long road. Enjoy your single life. The heartbreaks, the pain, the sucky, confusing, horrible-ness of it all. Surf the couches, fuck the guys, feel the pain, pound the shots, wear the heels, cry your eyes out, spend all day in the dark thinking about how hard it is for your plump fragile soul to survive this mean cold mindfuck called LIFE.  Work your heart to it’s core. Then do it all again. You’ll find your way home when it’s time.

As I edge towards 30, I am acutely aware of how this free-spirited, spontaneous era is approaching its inevitable finale. Even if I’m not the one getting married or having babies yet, many of my friends will be starting soon. I imagine it will be near impossible to indulge in epic trips and 6am night outs once this new phase of adult responsibility hits. So for the time being, I’m living in the moment and savoring both the highs and the already-tinged-with-nostalgia lows. 

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An Email from my Roommate

Subject: We need to shop at Whole Foods more 

"This being West Hollywood, she was not approached by anyone." #bestline

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"Psychoanalysts are fond of pointing out that the past is alive in the present. But the future is alive in the present too. The future is not some place we’re going to, but an idea in our mind now. It is something we’re creating, that in turn creates us. The future is a fantasy that shapes our present."

Stephen Grosz in The Examined Life. AKA: the focus of all my attention on a flight from JFK to LAX last night. If you yearn for a book that will keep you thinking long after you turn the last page, this is it.

Chat
  • Me: I've started oil pulling. You swish coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes every day, and it pulls away all the bacteria and makes your skin glow.
  • Friend: Wow. You've really embraced LA, haven't you?
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"Hiking" in Los Angeles

I just read British documentary-maker Louis Theroux’s BBC article about living in Los Angeles. My eyes lit up at the following quote: 

I adopted the LA practice of cycling simply for pleasure - “going biking”. (In the same way as Angelenos don’t walk anywhere but love to “hike”.)

"Hiking", yes! I myself engage in this favored Los Angeles activity every week or so. But as someone who grew up next door to the Rocky Mountains, I’ve had a confusing time wrapping my head around the SoCal version. For me, hiking = climbing a mountain. It usually takes several hours, involves significant elevation gain, and delivers stunning views. Bear spray is optional, but encouraged. In LA, "hiking" =  a long-ish walk in a place surrounded by trees or desert, not urban infrastructure. When hiking here, I often find myself secretly thinking, "I wonder when the real hike will begin?"