L.A. is almost beyond definition - 8/13/2011
It's white collar and blue collar. It's manicured lawns, but also barred-up windows. It's yoga-practicing vegans living next door to barbecue enthusiasts. It's whites and Hispanics, but also blacks, Asians, Europeans and Middle Easterners. It's a college town, but also a financial powerhouse. It's Disneyland, sunshine and miles of sandy beaches, but it's also graffiti, gangs, smog, earthquakes and riots. It's glamorous, but also gritty. It's Hollywood and the entertainment industry for sure, but it's also about every other conceivable industry you can think of as well.
That is L.A. It's beyond definition. It's almost anything and everything you can think of in a city rolled up into one. From Beverly Hills to Compton, Pacific Palisades to Watts, Manhattan Beach to Long Beach, L.A. doesn't just represent a part of our country, it represents a microcosm of our world.
Thousands from everywhere flock to L.A. every year to follow their dreams. For many, that's acting, but for some it's writing, music, a start-up business, a graduate degree, an apprenticeship with a leading law firm or financial firm, etc. Thousands every year leave L.A. Sometimes their dreams are unfulfilled, sometimes they are ready to for a slower pace and sometimes they just can't take being away from home. I always read about the doom of California and let's make it clear: California has a ton of problems, but it still has thousands moving there year after year and the decline of industry in California is heavily exaggerated. There are still tons of jobs out there with new businesses popping up every day. However, you have to be the best and the brightest to get them. When you compete with a huge size of talent, you have to step up your game.
L.A. has everything. The best shopping, the best weather, the best restaurants, the best entertainment, arts and culture galore, hiking, biking, surfing, skiing, pro sports, theme parks, kayaking, boating, you name it, it can be found here. When you are in the right mind set and at the right age, L.A. is fun central. Work hard, but play even harder. If that's how you operate, you'll love it here. I did for many years. I moved here from the Midwest to "follow my dream," which was to be a screenwriter. After working for many years as a script consultant, I finally gave up the dream. I lost interest in playing the networking game and having that ever so slim shot that I would ever make it actually writing movies. Am I sad? No. Do I regret ever moving here? Absolutely not. I have made new friends, I have tried new experiences, and I found my future wife. We moved up to the Portland, Oregon area, which is a much slower pace of life, but has many of the big city advantages we miss about L.A. We are ready to have a family and have a life, so the change was a needed one for us, but we had a great time when we were in L.A.
While many communities are about giving back to the community, L.A. is about taking and making your mark. Some do, some don't. I doubt I did, but I had a blast for four years trying. Oh, and yes, you do need a car. Everyone drives. L.A. tries to act like they are becoming this public transportation mecca, but the automobile is still king. And make sure it looks good. Appearance is key here. Look sharp or get lost. Win or go home. That's how it rolls with the Lakers and Dodgers and that's how it rolls in this city.
L.A. is the ultimate summer camp for adults. It's fun, it's unforgettable and it allows you to try new things. But eventually, it's time to go home and grow up.[read more...]