I recently got back from a trip to Nashville, which was awesome!
Anytime I go to a cool city I start imagining what it would be like to live there. If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that I often have a love/hate relationship with living in LA.
I love the beach, ocean, beach volleyball, my neighborhood, friends, and fairly mellow way of life. But I hate how sprawled out LA is. So much so that I’m never really motivated to explore other parts of the city. Plus it’s super expensive to live here, and traffic is…ugh!
Nashville is my perfect-sized town. You have all the ammenties of a big city, but it still retains that smallish town feel. While I was there, we rented city bikes in one part of the city, then had the urge to bike downtown. A bike path separate from the main road easily connected the two locations, and it took no time to get there.
“LA isn’t like this,” I thought. I should move here.
I also loved the cute neighborhood I stayed in in East Nashville. My friend and I walked to restaurants and coffee shops and talked about the adorable craftsman-style homes.
“I’m so over LA,” I thought. Then I started plotting how I could move, and when. “I could be so happy here.”
The thing is, I’ve said this about…let’s see, Austin, Hawaii (any of the islands), Boulder, Denver, Portland, pretty much anywhere in Europe that I’ve ever been, Costa Rica, etc.
“If I lived here in (insert city), I’d TOTALLY sit outside EVERY morning having a cup of delicious coffee on this porch/balcony/deck/lanai.
Here’s the funny part: I have a deck in my backyard, and I hardly ever use it!
Have you ever done this when you’d traveled?
Suddenly your neighborhood, the one you thought at one point was so awesome and cute, isn’t as fabulous anymore.
“Meh, it’s just the Pacific Ocean I see while running. No big deal”
Our wacky brains are trained to crave novelty. Anyone who has woken up next to the same husband/wife/partner for the last 20 years and thought, “man I could kill him/her,” knows what I mean. No longer are they the smokin’ hot person you once saw across a party for the very first time. Don’t worry, I know you don’t REALLY want to kill them. 🙂
The same is true with moving to a new location. You see that stellar kitchen in a home search and imagine all the wonderful home-cooked meals, and all the friends and family you will have over, when in reality you’ll probably still order takeout, and the kitchen table is just a location to put your mail.
You cruise through that fabulous neighborhood and think of all the block parties you’ll take part in with your awesome neighbors, when in reality you probably might live their for a long time without knowing one single neighbor’s name.
In Nashville I ate at really cute and tasty restaurants with a cool vibe. I was jealous, until I realized that we do have restaurants in LA, but being budget-conscious, I really don’t eat out, and when I do, I usually go to the same places!
The problem is not (in most cases) the kitchen, neighborhood, choice in spouse/partner. The problem is your perception. You are the common denominator in every situation. So depending on your attitude about life, a change will only make you feel good temporarily.
Not that a change is not good, nor is getting out of a place, neighborhood, city or state that doesn’t make you happy, but I think there can be something in trying to re-ignite the novelty of what made you fall in love with your significant other, job, apartment, home, etc.
Gratitude can also play a crucial role when novelty wears out. Sometimes we get into a routine and rut, and don’t even notice the things that could bring a little joy each day into our lives.
For me, driving back from San Diego this past weekend and getting stuck in traffic (on a Saturday), I thought to myself, “I’m sooooo glad I only have a 10 minute commute to work.”
I went grocery shopping and bought really healthy food post Fincon and thought, “I’m so lucky to be able to nourish myself with such amazing food, especially with all the fresh produce in California!”
So, my goal is to try and find the novelty in where I live now. Maybe I’ll walk in a different part of my neighborhood to see new houses, or try a different coffee shop, or go see a dance company instead of a movie.
I need to get right with my “internal home” before I think any other city besides LA can make me happier.
What about you? Do you find yourself craving novelty?