i only THOUGHT i left my heart in san francisco

E-mail from recruiter today. San Francisco office is going to pass on me. They liked me, they thought I was a strong candidate…but I’m “too senior”. I don’t have as much long term potential as they’re looking for. I suppose I’m just too far down the media planning path now to take on a junior account role without getting bored and wandering off. And my resume, which hops and skips all over the place, doesn’t exactly scream “stability”. Since they want lifers – not nomads – this is all for the best. And I’m really more flattered than disappointed.

But the whole threat of leaving sort of woke me up. Suddenly, I realized – I can’t go through what I did a year ago. Not again. I can’t leave everyone and everything I love behind a second time. I’m too happy with my life in Los Angeles. I have a fantastic living situation, in a Nerd House, with roomates that are like siblings now. I have a network of friends. I have adopted relatives from my mother’s network of friends. To leave now would be throwing my destiny back off course – and I can’t bear the thought of starting again, from the ground up, in another city.

There’s all that – the human side – and then there’s the geographical side. I hate L.A. sometimes, but I’m so happy in my corner of it. I’m totally in love with my existence in Venice, which is where I spend the majority of my waking hours. I love having the beach here, the craziness of the neighborhood. And there’s a whole city just east of it, that I can go in and out of on adventures whenever I want. I still get a charge every time I get on I-10 and see the signs that say “10 – EAST – Los Angeles”

And L.A. for me is more home than it is for most of the people who move here. Most people just move here and live. I moved here and inhabited Los Angeles. I occupy my space. I learned about it, and I studied the city, and I invested in being a citizen of L.A., instead of one of its millions of transients. I fell in love with it, and it’s definitely changed my perception of the world, and for all the misery and horror, for all the depression and despair, I’m still totally enthralled by a city this diverse, this big, this chaotic.

I suppose I have left part of my heart in San Francisco, but Los Angeles? It, and the people I love here, my friends and adopted family, my roomates and co-workers, the dozens of people I have met since I came down over the Tejon Pass – this is why this city has more of my heart than I realized.

And, finally, in the middle of all the JobSearchQuest2005 craziness, I realized – it would break my heart to leave the Agency. That’s a really irrational reason to stay at a job, but I just love it there, so much. When I’m working well, when I’m focused, everything’s fantastic. I work for the interactive division of a big crazy ad agency, where there’s always something wacky happening. Even though I have to work on a porn project right now, it’s still fun because my team makes it fun, cracking up in meetings, making smartass remarks about the website, snickering at the search terms. It’s a good place to be, it’s a happy place to be, in the giant binoculars down by the sea.

And besides, if I left now, my friends would kill me, because I’d be giving up a Venice Beach parking spot.

So I’m staying here, and I’m going to stay another year, at least, if I can. At some point, I have to learn to call L.A. home. I’m not going back to BC – which is the only place I do call home – and moving to yet another city, even one much like Vancouver, isn’t going to fix that. I will stay at the Agency, and work as much as I can, until something else calls me. Maybe London in 2006 – I have a UK passport too, after all, at home in Victoria.

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