Celebrate the Malleable Reality

I spend a lot of time driving these days. Our friend Casey is staying with us and working with Toby for awhile, and while he's here he drives Toby to and from work, so I actually drive less now than I did a month ago, but I still spend a fair amount of time in my car going from point A to point B. When I first got here, I had my GPS on all the time. Every time I got into the car, I would automatically plug my phone in to the cigarette lighter (why is it still called that?), because the GPS drains my cell phone battery like nobody's business, and because I didn't know my way around, I had no choice but to let Bitchface (don't hate, that's the "temporary" (over a year and still going strong) name Toby and I gave her - she's just so friggin' pushy and insistent all the time) direct me to my destination.

But driving to my apartment from work today, I realized that my phone was in my purse, and I was turning corners and switching lanes like it was second nature instead of nervously checking the screen to see how many blocks were left until my next move. Could it be? Am I becoming an Angeleno?

This place is starting to feel like home. Not home in the same sense as the Midwest, with its sights and sounds and memories snuggled in my mind in their own little worn-in groove, but a new kind of home where I at least know my way around and am aware of my place in this little piece of the world.  Right now everything is so fresh and new, and at the same time comfortable and real. I'm not sure I'll ever get used to seeing mountains in the distance or coming up over a hill and watching the ocean take over the horizon in front of me, but then, I wouldn't want to ever get totally used to those things, because it's completely thrilling to be in awe of where I live, and I never want to lose that sense of aliveness.

As I write these words, I also feel a tugging sense of nostalgia for my past. Is it bad that I love living here so much? Sometimes I feel guilty, like I'm cheating on the Twin Cities and letting them down, giving them a bad name by choosing to leave them behind and forging a new path here instead. So let's get one thing straight: I think Minnesota is fantastic. It has seasons, clean, vibrant, healthy cities, and most importantly, wonderful people that I love and cherish. It is my past. All of me, the awesome and the horrible and everything in between, has existed there. I wouldn't change my upbringing or my experiences for anything. But - yes, the inevitable but - I also know that changing up your circumstances, bringing new experiences into the fold, and creating as many grooves in your brain as possible is an essential part of life, or at least it is for me. Minnesota thus far has been my whole reality, and while this reality has occasionally been interrupted by little blips in the radar in the form of brief adventures into other parts of the world, it has always been what I come back to; what I center myself around.

Up until recently, Los Angeles has felt like just another blip; a fun adventure that is going to end soon with me going back to my safe haven and settling into my past. But with the realization that I can navigate myself around the city with virtually no help from technology came another realization: my reality has shifted. None of my other travels felt quite this real, because they were vacations from real life. But this is real life. I have a job, I have to deal with car insurance and paying bills, and I have a home instead of a hostel. I guess it's safe to say that with a shift in reality comes great responsibility (chuckle chuckle). But it's a responsibility I am willing to bear, because it means that I am making an entirely new life for myself. This new reality doesn't detract from my past, but instead adds to it and expands it. And I think that's pretty exciting. At least a few times a week, Toby used to ask, "Is this starting to feel like home yet? Do you feel like we're going home when we're driving to our apartment?, and even when I vaguely answered in the affirmative, I never quite felt it. It's been awhile since he's asked that question, and I think that's because he stopped having to ask it; it's no longer valid. Without realizing it, this has become our home.

As is often the case in my life, there is a song that goes with my emotions. When I created this blog and was trying to think of a good name for it, a line from this song was up pretty high on my list of options. Towards the end of "Live High", Jason Mraz croons the words, "Oh, just take it easy/And celebrate the malleable reality/You see, nothing is ever as it seems/Yeah, this life is but a dream". Celebrate the malleable reality. How awesome is that? I almost wish I had thought of it, but then this song wouldn't exist, at least not in the wonderful form that it does now, so I'll give Jason credit where credit is due. I'd like to think that celebrating the malleable reality is exactly what I am doing right now. I existed in one reality, now I exist in another one, and more realities will shift into existence as life comes at me. No one reality is better than the other, but when melded together they become an intricate web of who I have been, who I am, and who I can be, and I think that's pretty cool.

As I embrace a new chapter in my life book, I'd like to raise my virtual glass for a virtual toast: here's to celebrating the malleable reality, wherever you are at in the world and in your life. In the words of Jason Mraz, "Live high, live mighty, live righteously. Takin' it easy.".