After six months of adventures in baby sitting I’ve ended up back in Tinseltown feeling both exhausted and renewed. I did it! I moved to New York. I lived and breathed like a New Yorker for a season of my life. I battled panic attacks on the Subway daily and somehow survived the dirty crowded streets. I ate pizza, drank beer and wine every week like it was the end of the world. I begrudgingly added a nice winter layer around my belly…and by layer I mean FAT from all the processed white foods and sugar I consumed while coping with the arctic temperatures. I earned $100 and spent $100 all in the same day on cab fare, food and yet another umbrella because I left the last one on the subway somewhere. I worked a vicious commissions based retail gig and hosted reservations at a trendy West Village restaurant. I pretended to be twenty-one again and took an internship at a fashion magazine assisting a manipulative-bitchy editor AND I successfully toted two young boys around the city like a rookie Dad. At each twist and turn I found myself asking the question - “What in the HELL was I thinking moving here!?” Why would anyone CHOOSE to depart from sun, health and happy people set against an ocean (or desert…or mountain) backdrop called Los Angeles and trade it for a colder, darker, busier, stress inducing environment called the Big Apple? What I soon discovered amidst the angry voices in my head was that I was dead center of yet another life transition. I was taking risks, going against the grain and allowing myself to explore uncharted territory. I was far outside of my comfort zone and that is precisely where I needed to be to face my fears and weaknesses. Although painful I was growing through the challenges and that has been nothing short of a thrilling experience.
Uprooting from Los Angeles was a great decision and forced me to grow up in many ways. Taking care of Ben and Josh was an amazing experience in and of itself. It taught me so much about the impact adults have on children and how much they look up to you. I was blessed to earn their trust and friendship. It softened my already compassionate heart for kids and gave me a little taste of what being a father would feel like. Watching them face kid challenges and learn from their mistakes was a rewarding experience and taught me new things about myself. Just like physical growing pains I was reminded that it’s also painful to experience emotional and psychological change. But I learned to consider it pure joy and embrace each moment knowing that I was only growing stronger, possibly wiser… ;)
At almost 30 years old I would have pictured myself already settling down with a family and a partner, going to work and taking care of a house and a family. But instead I am still adventuring and exploring. Moving to New York was both exciting and scary. I had to start from scratch in a very unforgiving city. A city that tests you and pushes you to your limits. When I faced the familiar inner dialogue of ”Who am I? What is my purpose? What am I doing here?” I found myself answering differently than I would have if I were living in LA because I had new perspective amidst the New York grind of life. Things weren’t easy come easy go in NY so my spirit grew tougher, my mind stronger. A typical day in NY made LA seem like a total cake walk, almost too easy. But after soul searching and countless journal entries I decided it was right for me to head back to California and continue building my life here. It made me more aware of how much I appreciate my lifestyle in Los Angeles and the years of friendships and work networks I have built here. Sometimes you have to remove yourself completely to understand why you wanted to be there in the first place. You suddenly appreciate everything you took for granted!
I have only been back in LA for a few days and I’m on cloud nine. I couldn’t be happier waking up to the sunshine, lacing up my trainers and going for a run around the Silverlake Reservoir. Even the simplest things excite me like stopping at my favorite coffee shop or driving on the 101 freeway. I see everything in a brand new light. I’ve been blessed to get my events planning job handed back to me as well as a super cushy living situation with a friend downtown. I have so much to be thankful for and am excited for the new chapters ahead of me! I have no regrets moving to New York and am so thankful to my cousin and her family for the experience and the opportunity to live rent free for the entire time I was there. Although it was ultimately not home for me I have peace knowing that being the Brooklyn Manny inspired me to be more creative and confident in everything I do and gave birth to a new Levi.
I’ll continue to utilize this blog for various manny-memories and photos that weren’t previously published, and perhaps new reflections not previously journaled.
Signing out for now… XO - Levi