We all think or speak about wanting to “Start over” with dreams of what we might do differently if we could. Whenever I declare such a thing, I am clear that I’d like to start over with the knowledge I’ve learned living as long as I have. Sort of an oxymoron, I suppose.
In my teens and young adulthood, I had a great solution for any problem. I simply ran away (figuratively or literally). I couldn’t handle the conflict of a break-up so I simply chose the cowardly exit of just not calling anymore. Trust me, I’m NOT proud of that youthful exit strategy. With colleges, I just transferred when I got dissatisfied or disillusioned – hence I attended three colleges in three years and graduated with a B.A. I attended one college for my MBA, but I rushed through it in less than two years.
As irony would have it, I chose a career that offered little in the way of security and plenty of options to move around – usually not by choice – by going into showbiz, specifically the television business. In my quarter-century career, I had nine different jobs with unemployment periods ranging from a few days to nine months. I left jobs of my own volition, was fired, the company was sold and everyone was let go, and every variation on these themes that you can imagine. Sometimes, I walked away with a buck or two but other times I got zilch and even had to sue for contractual payments still due me.
The ONLY constant in my life was where I lived. I was born in Los Angeles and have lived here my entire life. And, this is where this column is going – away from Los Angeles and California, as I will be moving to Park City, Utah next summer.
Having lived in L.A. my whole life, I’ve seen the city morph from orange groves in the valley, drive-in movie theaters everywhere, to smog-central and finally major international destination. I’ve seen neighborhoods develop and decay as well as many re-gentrify. I’ve seen “Hollywood” go from glamorous to trashy to something between (now). I’ve also seen the traffic problem go from bad to worse and the political environment go from worse to worser.
My wife and I love to ski and spent many winters at Mammoth Mountain, the only major ski area in relative proximity to Los Angeles. Later, we discovered Park City, in Utah, and realized how much more it offered as a place to go, place to ski, and now a place to live. The lifestyle in the summer is even more intoxicating.
The decision to move there was not capricious as we first bought a townhome to get a feel for the place. After two years, it was clear to us that we loved it and, when serendipity gave us the home we’re currently building, we set our future plans in motion.
Leaving Los Angeles permanently was not an option until our youngest son finished high school. He is a senior now, so our timing is working just fine. He plans to go to college back east and when we move next summer, he will begin that phase of his life. His older brother is done with two years of college (also back east) and plans on living in Los Angeles, while he pursues a career in music.
Our (parenting) job is almost done. Living in L.A. is no longer required. So we are going to be starting a new life in Park City. I’m excited but I’d be disingenuous if I didn’t also declare I’m anxious as well.
One part of making this move that is easy is the fact that neither my wife or I have much family in Los Angeles. My wife’s family is all in Vancouver and I have one (much older) cousin left in L.A. Leaving friends is more consequential and leaving our (golf) country club is very consequential to my wife.
The sad reality is that many of my lifelong friends have either left the area themselves or we’ve grown apart. I have many superficial friends and an incredible amount of “virtual” friends from my Social Media life, but our social life is not near as intimate and full as, say, my parent’s social life was. It was a different time, to be sure. And, given my “virtual life” on Social Media, that is a life that is completely portable.
Technology means we can stay in touch with anyone and everyone we know. Our new home will be a destination-visiting vacation place, we hope, for all our friends and family.
I don’t have any problem meeting people and I’m equally happy being alone for periods of time so I hope that this “starting over” will not be as difficult as it might be for this old dude. I sincerely hope it has the same effect that re-inventing myself with my second career did – invigorate my life and mind. We’ll see.