Where You Should Really Be

USA

I’m slapping away at my keyboard from the corner of Café Bassam in San Diego – a random coffee shop I found on Yelp after searching these (such specific) words: “coffee shop open late wifi plugs laptop” – and not just that, I then zoomed into a neighborhood near a vegan café called Evolution (you should go), and then filtered by the exact hour it’d be open late until…and this place actually came up. I was that needy, and San Diego delivered.
It’s Friday night, and I’m alone in a new city, so clearly what better time than now to ask myself the deepest, darkest thought-provoking questions, am I right? Get ’em while they’re vulnerable! After this great Yelp success of mine – which really was just like any of my other Yelp searches – I sit here wondering…Do you ever feel like you’ve found a place that truly corresponds with who you are, and everything you want in your ideal lifestyle? Now I’m not talking about Café Bassam, or San Diego, but after that extensive Yelp search, it got me thinking about how specific I can be about what I’m really looking for, and how I can still find what I want – and if you know me well, you know that I spend a lot of time in places like “coffee shops open late wifi plugs laptop.” That means I’m pretty lucky to be where I am, geographically.
Sit back and ask yourself:

Is where I’m living now, really the place that makes the most sense for me?

Let me give you an example, so you’re not just over there like, “Yes, my family lives here, it’s cheap, and there are jobs, so this makes the most sense for me.” Understandable, but there’s more to your life, like YOUR LIFE, than cheap rent and a job market.
I’ve lived in NYC, Paris, and LA all for over a year – enough to understand more or less what life is like in each of those places. None of these places is Indiana, where I grew up for 18 years. My family lives there, there are jobs there, and the cost of living could not be cheaper there. But it wasn’t the right fit for me. You live in Indiana if you want a big house, a big car, a big family, and a big ol’ soccer game to go to on Saturday morning. It’s perfect for that, or even for those who are younger and who want a more low-key, calm lifestyle. Those aren’t high on any given priority list of mine. It didn’t make sense for me, so I moved.
New York, Paris, Los Angeles – they all have their specific, respective lifestyles – and certain people thrive in each environment. When you move around and live in different places for a period of time, of course you learn to adapt and weave your current lifestyle in – that’s part of the excitement – but what you learn most of all is what you really want and don’t want when you find a city that corresponds to you.
In LA, for example, I never have to go that deep into an explanation of my job as a YouTuber because people get it and respect it as a job. I never have to go miles to find a cheap, vegetarian meal…and when I mention I’m a vegetarian, I hear a lot more of “Oh, me too!” than “Oh, really? Why?” I don’t need to pay for a car because I can ride my bicycle outside every day, since it’s 75 and sunny literally every day, or I can hop on public transportation, which saves me a lot of money to then travel cheaply from an international hub like LAX. I have my current priority list, and LA nails it. Maybe these things appeal to you as well, but you’re living in the middle of South Dakota. Sure, the rent is cheap, the job market is “less competitive,” and your family lives there, but is your life truly a full life if you aren’t placing yourself in the right city? How different would your day-to-day be if you were to live somewhere else?
A view from Mission Beach in San Diego
I remember sitting on my couch in Indiana when I was prepping to go off to college in NYC. I used to sit there watching the entire series of FRIENDS (…ok, yes, I still do the same thing nowadays) imagining how my life would be so different, just because my surroundings alone would give me so many more options. I imagined waking up early to go running in Central Park, or staying out late, because why not, the subway operates 24 hours. I imagined spending my days at Whole Foods, where I could eat organic, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free or all of those at the same time if I wanted to. I imagined running into international tourists on the subway and helping them out in foreign languages. And all of this happened.
Again, there’s more that happens in your day-to-day than the routine of work and bills. You will find a job and you will figure out finances no matter where you go. Those things will come and go throughout your entire life. But when you put it all together – what you do on a daily basis, or what you want to be doing on a daily basis – does it make sense to be where you are right now?
I guess, how would you know, if you don’t get out and see the world…?
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