It’s been a little over a year since I moved from Utah to Los Angeles. I haven’t run into any celebrities besides Mario Lopez and parts of my car have not been stolen, so I am still considered a transplant. However, the header image of this post is not me looking sexy in a Dodger’s hat which pushes me higher on the LA local scale. (Having Jerry Sloan and Jef Holm on the header image pushes me back down to transplant, but lets pretend I have enough authority to write this post.) Since I left the mother ship, I have repeatedly been asked two questions from friends back home. 1) “When are you coming back?” 2) “What is it like to leave?”
To the former, when Utah stops doing this:
To the latter, this post is for you.
This past year has been a game changer. Enough to break my 3-month blogging sabbatical to tell my friends who are standing at the edge of an overcrowded pool in Provo somewhere… to jump ship. Also, to abandon LIME RICKI SWIMWEAR (<-link surprise). Here we go. A beginners guide to leaving Utah.
1. If You Leave, Don’t Look Back.
Not to get OMD. But really. The more you miss Provo, the worse your move will be. You can’t move forward if you are always looking back, so step one is to exhaust every ounce of your Provo being before you leave. Stock up on J Dawgs, hit up the Raintree pool, and date like it’s the 4th of July on University Avenue. When you start getting bored of history repeating itself, dance parties with Cotton Eye Joe, and mini golf, you will know- It’s time. It is time.
2. Don’t Panic When You Realize There Is No One to Date
I loved the things people used to tell me as I was getting in my car to leave the Mormon dating capital of the world. “It only takes one.” or “There are too many guys in Provo to choose from, dating will be so much easier in a smaller pool.” NOOO not true. It’s the worst. Ha ha.
Your options will never be as plentiful as Provo. And dating will never be as easy. Since people in Provo like to talk about dating like ice cream flavors, I made you a visual.
It doesn’t look good. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move.
One year later, I don’t have a husband or kids, but it doesn’t mean I am single, alone, or family-less. I am a committed partner to coworkers, I am a mom to friends who never had anyone to tell them to stop smoking weed, I am a sister to my close girlfriends, and I am a daughter to two bosses, a Bishop, and a Baptist Pastor.
Relationships I have built with strangers in an overwhelming city have been stronger than any relationship I built playing arcade games at Nickelcade with dates in Provo. And surprisingly, I am more happy. Relationships in and of themselves, are about learning to love someone else to the point where you couldn’t live without them. That doesn’t stop when you move. You actually learn how to do it better.
Also, you start to realize quickly that the people you want to date are the ones who have expanded their horizons. They are few and far between, but quality over quantity? That brown ice cream cone could be moose tracks.
3. Stop Acting Like You Are Still in Utah
When I first moved, I hated it. But it’s because I acted like I was living in Utah, when I clearly was not. I only hung out with friends from college, I only went to Provo-extended parties, I tried to plan 4 different events into one night regardless of the fact that LA has an insane problem with traffic, and I chose to eat at chain restaurants because they were cheap and familiar. I should be punished for single-handedly keeping Applebees in business.
One day I realized I was depriving myself of the only real experience I have ever had outside of Utah. I decided to do the opposite of what I normally would do and the tables turned. I fell in love with real Los Angeles food (it’s an art). I started hanging out with coworkers outside of work who became my best friends. I learned my neighbor’s viewpoint on alien abductions and looked up “must see” places around the city. I adapted to the culture and quickly became obsessed with the abnormal quirks of the strangest city I will ever live in.
4. Figure Out Who You Are When All Of Your 1,000 Best Friends Are Not Around
Freak. You don’t have to wear make up or shower when you leave Provo. Nobody will know you. I would rank this as my #1 reason to get out. There is a sense of freedom that comes with being able to do things on your own without worrying what people will think. These things include but are not limited to:
- Going to a movie by yourself
- Eating Taco Bell in bed
- Experimenting with leopard prints and high-wasted jeans
- Talking to strangers at dinner about alligator wrestling techniques
- Figuring out if you love Quinoa or if you think it tastes like rubber
I have learned more about myself this year than any other cumulative year in my entire life. This includes turning 14 and getting the puberty talk (Men reading this just shut their laptops).
5. Adopt Brad Pitt as a Godfather
As Brad Pitt said with his baby blues in World War Z, “Movement is Life.” If you move, you have a better chance at surviving a zombie apocolypse, but more importantly, you have a better chance of surviving a fate that I believe to be much worse…staying the same. A year from now, after you have left, when you think of all the tears, confusion, and the nights you were homesick for Sunday night dessert parties, you will look in the mirror and see someone that accomplished something hard and you will like yourself much better for doing it. Growth is a beautiful thing and as George Zimmer would say: