A decade is everything and nothing

It’s weird being back on the Westside, back in the 310. I am retracing the same streets and paths that I did a decade ago, and it’s strange. It’s a decade since I lived here, ten years since I moved from Vancouver, and it feels like forever and yet not long enough. I’ve had so much happen that it feels like longer than a decade, and yet, I think, how can my life have changed this much in ten years?

Stranger still is how little L.A. has changed. I’m used to the warp-speed gentrification of Brooklyn, and the unrecognizable change of Vancouver. Vancouver has changed twice as much in a decade as Los Angeles has. And that’s what makes it stranger, because when I go home to BC, I have to accept that time has passed. I’m here, and it’s like driving through my own memories, because so much is exactly the same. I drive through Santa Monica, Venice, Marina Del Rey, and it’s like no time has passed at all. Except for the fact that I am no longer twenty-six, that is.

Still, I am amazed how much has changed in my life in the last decade. I came to the States alone from Vancouver in 2004, with literally only what I could cram into a Saturn coupe and a few hundred dollars in savings. Ten years later, I come to California on business trips from Brooklyn, where my husband and son are waiting for me in a co-op we actually own.

Ten years ago, I was a party girl rampaging West L.A., trying to handle my own darkness and my own fear. My blog entries from a decade ago tell how I was using a string of dates and drunken nights out to distract from my own sadness and despair over my father’s first stroke. I was trying to quell my own insecurities and fears, my fear of failure, my fear of loneliness, all of it, in a haze of glitter and parties and cocktails. It would be two years until met my husband at Bar Sinister, and yet, given how many Saturday’s I spent at Miss Kitty’s, it’s surprising I didn’t run into him sooner.

The gap between then and now seems so far, even though my hotel tonight is literally a half-mile away from where I lived in Venice. It is Paul and Ben and our life as a family. It is my career, and the growth from an entry level job I couldn’t handle, to a leadership job I do well. It is the distance from L.A. To Brooklyn, and the realization of how much I love Brooklyn (Which I do. I love Brooklyn like I loved Vancouver.). It is going from throwing crazy house parties to being a community leader throwing camp weekends. It is the difference between twenty-six and thirty-six.

I sit here, and I wish I had had more faith ten years ago that all these amazing things were going to happen to me. I don’t wish I had been able to see the future, just that I had believed that it would be a good future a little more. I believe most people get less naive and more cynical with age. I’m the other way around: I’ve become less cynical.

Still, being back, I do want to think a little more about the girl I was when I lived here. About all the things I ran from, or tried to forget. About all the mistakes I knew I was making. And then I need to credit myself with more accomplishments made in the last decade.

I go home in the morning, back to my men. It’s time to return to being thirty-six in the 718.

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