Why do we live where we live? Was it economic circumstances that brought us there? Love, maybe? Or did we choose to stay close to where we grew up? What informs one of the most fundamental decisions with a potential to shape our outlook on life?
I call Los Angeles home, but it wasn’t always so. I arrived by chance, on a job offer I couldn’t pass up but I wasn’t planning to stay. Then, two things happened: I fell in love and got married and, gradually, I also fell in love with this complicated metropolis so much so that, now, the word “home” conjures beaches, canyons and freeways. This decision, though, did cost me. My birth family is six thousand miles away; some of my closest friends are nowhere nearby and I lived in a state of “not belonging” for close to two decades.
My first boy crush was at 8, my first love at 18 but the first time I fell hard for something other than a man was at 15, when I first set my eyes on London. So unlike the warm land where I grew up, it stirred an unexpected Anglo-Saxon bent in me which I honored by choosing to live in London as soon as it was reasonable to do so. I would make that choice over and over again: London has always been the place that stoked my imagination and my ambition. London fulfills me and complements me in ways that no other place on earth has been able to. Yet, I don’t live there. Things happened, career choices took over, love won and here I am, in a city that couldn’t be more polar opposite.
Los Angeles works for me because we share the same rhythm, it feeds the part of me that likes a healthy lifestyle, the outdoors and a bottomless and curious art scene but I wonder in what ways I would be different had circumstances kept me in London.
We are increasingly becoming a society of nomads but how many of us choose to live somewhere solely based on pure love of a place? How many do organize their lives around needing to honor an attraction? Have you? Why do you live where you live?