View from the top

Los Angeles mural

I’ll admit it: I’m a wimp in a lot of ways.

I have a low tolerance for pain and temperatures outside the range of 65 and 85 degrees. I’m sensitive to critical comments and fluorescent lighting. I fear making the wrong choice about everything—all the way down to whether I should bring a light sweater or not. But an aversion to anything that’s difficult can be limiting, and in the past, it’s allowed me to be more passive than I’d like. I’d rather think of myself as a Cheryl Strayed-style badass—without the heroin and missing toenails.

But I should give myself more credit. Before I moved across the country, a lot of people told me how brave I was for making the change. At the time, I accepted the flattering remarks without fully realizing the gravity of what I was doing. Yes, it was bold, but the hardest part seemed to be making the decision and sticking to it. The logistics, however tough they would undoubtedly be, would work themselves out.

Oh, how I underestimated the complexity of logistics.

Now that I look back on everything I’ve done in just a few short months, I’m glad I was ever-so-slightly deluded about the challenges ahead. Had I known it would be this hard, I very well might’ve chickened out. But because I didn’t, I’m that much stronger for it.

I don’t think I quite knew what I was capable of before. I’ll go out on a limb and say I still don’t. Literally every assignment I’m given in grad school seems impossible at first, but I always somehow manage to pull it off… usually right before the deadline. Of course, it’s only the beginning of the semester, and shit’s bound to get really real soon enough. But hopefully by then I’ll have built up an even greater tolerance to the pain and suffering that is journalism. (Just kidding, it’s not really like that. Actually, just kidding, it is.) Until then, I’m forcing myself to take a breath every now and then and remember my recent mantra: One day at a time.

And that seems to work for me, at least most of the time. When it doesn’t, though, a good run through the hills does my body good. Hilly runs used to kill me, and they’re still not easy now. But when I reach the reward at the top and take in the view of the hills, the city, and the Hollywood sign in the distance, I’m reminded of why I came here. I can feel the good those runs do for me every day. And I don’t know if it’s the vitamin D from the sun or all those avocados I’ve been eating, but my skin has never looked better. I must be doing something right.

So what’s the point of all this? Well, if you’ve ever felt anything like I have—wimpy, uncertain, scared shitless—let this be a lesson: If I can do it, anyone can. I’m not anywhere close to having my shit figured out, but since I’m guessing that will never happen, I can learn to live with that. Though the future is so uncertain, I hope and believe that it’s bright. And maybe I’ll bring a light sweater—just in case.