I never thought I would just pick up and leave Los Angeles one day, all my belongings in boxes being shipped to the East Coast. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. When you’re 21, aren’t you supposed to be picking up from some small town in the Midwest, boxing up your things and moving to California to pursue your dreams?
That wasn’t in the cards for me.
Four years prior, I had moved to Los Angeles from Baltimore, with no intention of ever leaving. It was the place I had obsessed over for about ten years after periodic trips with my mother to the city she grew up in. I saw my whole future unfolding there, and thought how amazing it was that beautiful sunrises, morning runs on the beach, and hikes in the Hollywood hills were to be part of my life forever.
Then I met my husband, a handsome young Air Force ROTC cadet whom I had “let” myself fall in love with, without any consideration for the fact that his career would take us far away from L.A., potentially never to return. I never even thought about how I had studied screenwriting, a career track pretty unique to Los Angeles and difficult to translate into other professional fields outside of the entertainment capital of the world.
I saw my friends take jobs on t.v. shows and at movie studios while I was desperately scouring job boards for something in entertainment in Northern Virginia. The man I was to marry had just proposed a few months before I graduated, and when I said “Yes” on top of a cold mountain that we had just hiked, I hadn’t even hesitated. It had never occurred to me, even when we just talked casually about marriage, that I should tell him I didn’t want to give up my beautiful apartment, my job in West Hollywood, my sorority sisters turned best friends, or the perpetual sunshine. Because all I wanted was him.
Five years later, we are still happily married and I have not one regret.
Never Looking Back
Sometimes, you just know what you want. When you really know that someone is right for you, nothing else seems to matter but being with them. That doesn’t mean you’re blinded by love, and it doesn’t mean you’re immature. It means you’ve met The One. Don’t laugh, but I think The Bachelor contestant Britt Nilsson said it best when she said to Jimmy Kimmel recently, “If I was in love with someone, I would live anywhere. Honestly.” (I know you don’t believe that Britt would actually move to a farm in Iowa, but I do. If she loved the person). You’d be amazed what love can do.
Two of the most important things in our lives, arguably, are love and career. Many of us define ourselves by our jobs, and create joy and love in our lives through our relationships. Imagine having to choose between those two things. What do you pick?
When you choose love, you choose something that may be more elusive. You can find other jobs, assuming you have multiple passions. I loved film and t.v., but I also loved creative writing, politics and journalism. I knew that those passions could lead me to new opportunities. Love is harder to come by. It just is. You’ll never find another person like that man who saved the little bit of money he made working on campus to buy a ring, who flew you to Europe to propose, and who told you he wanted to be with you forever. You could fall in love again, but each person is too unique, each relationship too distinct, to replicate. I clung to what was most special to me, and I moved without thinking about what could have been in Los Angeles.
Finding New Hopes & Dreams
When we moved to Virginia, it was in the summertime. It was humid and rainy nearly day. Nighttime thunderstorms knocked the power out regularly in our small, run-down townhouse on the outskirts of Washington, DC. The nearest beach was 4 hours away, the only film job I could find was making videos for struggling politicians, and every conversation with friends in L.A. made me think of what I could have had.
But today, as my friends take on jobs writing for t.v. shows and movies, I feel not even a tinge of envy. While I would love to be doing what they do, I also know that I found something else I love. I found a new path by going to graduate school, studying something else entirely, and becoming my own boss with my own business. I never would have imagined I’d spend my days in a home office working with clients, instead of on the Sony lot working with actors. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Flexibility is the key to airpower, my Air Force husband tells me. I now know what that means. It means that the path you think is yours might change in a heartbeat, literally with that first flutter you feel in your chest when you meet someone special. It also means that if you stay on the path you carved out for yourself, you may not ever see that there are other options you might love just as much.
My life may not be filled with glamorous parties in Hollywood mansions, famous friends, t.v. shows and movies that I helped to create, and days so beautiful they cheer you up when you’re down. Instead, I can’t remember the last fancy party I went to, I watch t.v. shows and see my friends’ names in the credits instead of mine, and it rains here most of the time. But I always have someone to go parties with when they do come up, I always have someone to watch those shows with, and my favorite kind of day is a rainy one when I’m stuck inside with my husband watching Netflix with our two dogs.