Reflections on Re-Entry: Happiness

I’ve been back in the City of Angels for over two weeks now, and readjusting has been a lot harder than I thought.  Some of it has just been coming down from the glory of life adventure, and some of it has been the reality of LA life hitting me right in the face and knocking me over.

One of the reasons I came back to LA when I did was to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  As we were looking through pictures from my trip, she commented: “You look really happy.”  I tend to think happy is over-rated.  Happy is fleeting.  I scoff at people who say, “I just want to be happy,” or “Well, don’t you want so-and-so to be happy?” In my pursuing-deep-and-authentic-life perspective, happiness is easily trumped by fulfillment and wholeness, which often come at a painful cost.  Happiness seems flimsy compared its sturdier companion joy.  But when my friend said I looked happy, I realized that I did look happy.  Because I was happy on the trip.  And happiness is pretty freakin’ awesome.

And I haven’t been happy in my life in LA for awhile.  The financial struggles of living in an expensive city, purchasing expensive gas to drive everywhere, greeted me with their all-too-unwelcome familiarity.  I’ve often felt isolated and lonely during my 6 years here, and after 8 weeks of socializing with several people a day, I returned to a veritable social silence.  Life is constantly in motion and in flux in Los Angeles, and it’s hard to find someone or something to be rooted in.  And it seems that just when I’ve gotten bearably settled, something changes.  My roommate of a year and a half will be moving out in a week to save money on rent.  I’ve gotten consistently more stable over and settled over the past couple of years, but facing all these things simultaneously upon my return has had me saying, “That’s right. I HATE this.  Why am I living here again?”

And I didn’t anticipate these issues.  In fact, I didn’t think about or plan for my re-entry into life in LA at all.  So now I begin the process of bringing the things that made me happy on the road into my daily routine in Los Angeles and bringing back the things I love about living here.  I’m continuing to visit my Facebook friends locally, and though my capacity to initiate social interaction seemed to have dried up upon my return (I was initiating like crazy for 8 weeks straight), I’ve realized that to pursue happiness, I need to continue asking people to get together, just like I did on the road.  I’m becoming reacquainted with vegetables thanks to the Culver City Farmer’s Market.  I’ve gotten reintegrated into the pieces of consistent community I have.  I’m having some local adventures, like seeing a Shakespeare play outdoors in Griffith Park.

And so, here I go, trying to cultivate these little nuggets of happy.


One Response

  1. i’m here whenever you want to hang out – just a short drive down the 5…. 🙂

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