You Can’t Go Home Again

I was catching up with my Chicago friend Ashley over the phone this weekend, explaining to her our biggest dilemma of how to decide on where to live in LA, and she brought up that old adage: You can’t go home again.

It’s true, and it’s at the crux of what little strife my life has to offer at this moment. Everything is wonderful, as I’ve mentioned probably 100 times, except this nagging wonderment of where we’re going to live come September. Last week we *this* close to signing a lease on a beautiful place here in Topanga Canyon, but after spending this past weekend with friends in Santa Monica and Venice, we’re back to wanting to live by the beach.

The deeper problem seems to lie in my ever-changing identity. At age 33, married with a toddler, I find myself straddling two different worlds. There is the world I have so recently left behind of singledom, travel writing, late nights and nary a responsibility to anyone who really matters, and then there is the world I am wading knee-deep into of parenthood, spousal commitment and a desire to forge a strong and responsible future. Throw in a writing career that is in the early stages of taking off, and you’ve got one very confused woman trying to be a lot of different things all at once.

My old life in Los Angeles is not my new life. You can never really go home again, can you?

Last week I went from late nights with my single girlfriends at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood to playdates with moms of three at the pool in the valley. I run errands and play with V in the morning while Greg works on his project, then I write furiously during V’s two-hour midday nap, and the evenings keep getting filled up with irresistible social plans.

It’s not a bad life. These are not bad problems to have, and I’m not complaining. Rather, I’m exploring.

Exploring what it means to feel caught between living in a HOUSE in a more isolated part of Los Angeles, to choosing an apartment in a completely fun and exciting part of LA. I’m trying to figure out what is best for me and for my husband and my sweet, baby girl. The truth is that we just want it all. We want to feel inspired and part of the city. And we also want a beautiful home for our daughter for potential other children. We want a place where we can entertain our friends and have space in which to write and play. And we also want to smell the ocean air and walk down the street to a coffee shop and a playground.

Ah, first world problems indeed.

Despite the not-knowing, I’m still ridiculously happy every single day here. But Greg says I can’t keep writing about that or you’ll all get annoyed. Home hunt to be continued…

If you’re interested here’s an album of our 4th of July weekend. We had a backyard party here on the 3rd and then spent yesterday at the beach with friends. It was pretty awesome. I think that even if we end up living in Bakersfield I’ll still be happy to just be in California.

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Twenty Questions: No Really, Ask Me Anything

Okay readers, I’ve got a favor to ask.

As part of an author series for Mahalo I’m going to be shooting a video in a couple of weeks, and I need you guys to ask me some questions. The questions can be about anything writing-related. But they can have a personal slant too. I don’t have any secrets. That’s probably obvious given that I’m a blogger, huh?

Once I’ve got a bunch of good questions I’ll answer them in a fun video like this one.

So yeah, just think about it a bit. Is there anything you want to know about me as a writer? My process? My publishing deal? My book?

Hit me up!

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On Being Back Home in California

We returned home to California last night and it made our recent move feel more real than ever. Several times on our trip I thought about going home and each time I caught myself picturing us going back to Chicago. When I corrected myself and thought of our new digs in Topanga Canyon I felt a little thrill run through me. And driving home last night along the Pacific Coast Highway with palm trees swaying in the breeze and surfers waiting in the water to catch a wave, that thrill turned into pure happiness.

Greg says I have to be careful not to annoy people too much with all my “I heart California” ramblings, but I just can’t help it. I’m not trying to brag in the least, and I know as well as anyone that CA isn’t the place for everyone, but man, does it really make me happy. I’ve been feeling really grateful for all that time in Chicago because it gave me so much perspective. The first time I moved to California I wasn’t nearly this excited, and while I certainly grew to love it, I never quite reveled in it the way I’m doing now.

Anyway, enough about where I am right now, and more about where I just was. We were on Cape Cod for the last 6 days to visit with family and take part in my cousin Ron’s wedding. Ron is my favorite cousin and actually one of the people I’m closest to in the whole world. He was adopted when he was two by my aunt, a fact that just proves to me that certain people are meant to be in each other’s lives, since I feel more connected to him than most people I’m blood-related to.

Ron’s a photographer and until last year, he’d been living in NYC for almost two decades. He moved out here to LA with his fiance last year and all of us are beyond thrilled to be in the same city again. Needless to say, this was one wedding I was unfathomably happy to be attending. And not only did I attend it, but I was the official wedding photographer, a role that caused me quite a bit of strife leading up to it, since I am by no means a professional. But Ron shot my wedding and asked me to do his. What’s that saying about karma? Oh yes…

Anyway, it was really the nicest weekend. By the end of it, and by end I mean Sunday morning doing a beach yoga class led by my cousin Alex who is an instructor, I felt so incredibly grateful to have the family I do. For so many years I held my extended family at arm’s length, feeling like they didn’t know the pain I’d been through losing my parents and how alone I felt, and then one day I was finally able to put down my arms and embrace them all and take time to really appreciate how wonderful each and every one of them is. This weekend amidst lobsters, drunken dancing and lengthy beach walks, all of that was only emphasized.

So here I am, home in California, feeling sated and full and content with all that my life is right now.

If you’re interested, here’s a link to the photos I shot. I actually took 1400 photos over the course of the weekend, but paired this album down to 385. I’m serious. Oh, and I did I mention that Veronica was a flower girl? Here’s a preview of the cuteness.

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