Five years ago yesterday I made the big move to Los Angeles. I have now officially lived in L.A. for as many years as I lived in New York. I think a lot about my great migration, and not just on the anniversary. The east coast is where I was raised, where all of my family lives. The west coast is where my career took off, where I met my husband. They both feel like home, in different ways.
But instead of a heavy reflection on time, distance, industry towns and traffic I thought I’d take the focus off of me and put it on you. Should you move to L.A.? Hell if I know. This town is nuts. But I feel like this little quiz I made up might help you decide. Disclaimer: if you do move and it doesn’t work out it’s not my fault.
1. Do you like the idea of sunshine and warm weather approx 345 days per year? This isn’t a joke. Some people can’t live without seasons and really love sweaters. Fools.
2. Do you have a very strong to at-the-very-least mild interest in the entertainment industry? You don’t have to work in the business, but if you hate it you will hate everyone who lives here, and that’s not pleasant…for us.
3. Is your life-long dream to work in some arena of the entertainment industry? Yes, there is production, writing, acting and of course Broadway in New York, and a lot of action in places like Atlanta and Nashville too. Bottom line, there is the highest concentration here, and success in this field is as much a numbers game as anything. If you desperately want to work in politics, you move to D.C. If you desperately want to work in entertainment you need to consider living in L.A.
4. BUT – does the presence of extreme competition drive you to work harder? Because if it makes you want to curl up in a ball while drinking Jim Beam, that is what you will do every day. Though, that really works for some people here.
5. Can you drive a car in the most infuriating traffic of your life and not intentionally hit another vehicle, biker or pedestrian? Is the traffic always that bad?? No. But it will be bad enough to inspire voluntary manslaughter a few times a month.
6. Do you love an outdoor patio space more than you love the ability to bar hop to five locations on one street? In hindsight this should have been question #1.
7. Imagine a scenario where bread is scarcely if ever eaten – are you okay with that? Now add in the fact that of the available bread options only three are an acceptable bagel – still okay? It’s Brooklyn Water Bagel, The Bagel Broker and The Bagel Factory in my not-at-all-humble opinion, but you can’t get a decent piece of lox in this town to save your life. #businessidea
8. Is the ability to drive 1-3 hours out of town in the car you own to such destinations as Palm Springs, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Big Bear & Lake Arrow Head appealing to you? It should be.
Click for Travel + Leisure’s Weekend Getaways from LA
9. New Yorker specific question: is the ability to not carry every supply necessary for your entire day on your person appealing to you? I currently have two changes of clothes inside my car on the off chance I just feel like slipping into a different look, and they both involve awkwardly shaped shoes just because they can.
10. Are you a vegetarian/vegan/gluten free/exercise-lover/cold pressed juice devotee and/or general health nut? If not, can you tolerate the presence of those people without negative implications to your own (obviously poor) health? Look I’m in the best shape of my life and my skin has never been clearer but I annoy myself most days.
11. Is buying a house very important to you? If yes, do you have one to two hundred thousand dollars, cash? I can’t comment more about this issue because it gives me hives.
Red is never a good color when it comes to maps.
12. Do you really know yourself? …Yeah, but if someone wants to “make you a star” if you follow x, y, and z creative decisions that in no way reflect upon the future you envisioned, are you going to do whatever they say for the chance at fame? Answering yes doesn’t mean you will hate L.A. but we don’t need any more of you in this town so please stay home.
And – the only question you really need to ask – is the idea of not ever moving to L.A. something you can live with for the rest of your life? That was my bottom line deciding factor. I realized I would never be able to move on from the idea of moving out here unless I tried. Maybe it would be disaster, I thought, but then at least I would know and I could put the life-long wonder to bed.
So are you going to do it?
Good. That’s probably the right decision.
Five years later I’m 100% certain I made the right move too. But like all the great cities of the world, this place is what you make it.
So Happy Five Year’s Los Angeles; you’re welcome.