THINGS I AM JUST SO, SO GRATEFUL FOR AFTER MY FIRST YEAR IN CALIFORNIA

A year ago today, I walked down the 82 stairs from the sixth floor of my Williamsburg walk-up for the very last time with five bags on my person, on uneven 100 year old steps, without toppling over. If you can make it THERE, you can make it anywhere. And ever since, California still feels like a reward I have no idea what I did to deserve.
  1. The moment we crossed into Tahoe along Route 80 after a week shredding straight across the country.
    ☝️ My co-pilot Gideon and I upon Tahoe National Forest.
  2. My roommate, or "The Angel I Met On Craigslist"
    An alternate universe Lifetime movie coming to a TV near you soon.
  3. I can get out of either side of my bed if I want to.
    And my home has amenities that help me live like a real human woman. I'm now starting to wonder if Creed wrote "My Own Prison" about tenement-style apartments in New York City.
  4. Sunsets from my porch.
    We have TWO porches and a POOL. This is witchcraft at its finest.
  5. Sunrises on the way to LAX.
    The holy reward for dealing with ungodly hours. A reminder of how lucky I am to flexibly adventure to a healthy extent and contribute to society far beyond sitting at a desk, but also having that desk to return to.
  6. Deserted sidewalks.
    And not having to say "sorry" to strangers with which you collide
  7. Excursions.
    Exchanging brunch and the Brooklyn clown show for beach hunting, hikes, and deserts that feel like foreign planets while still sleeping in your own bed at night has been nothing short of therapeutic. El Matador in particular saves my soul with every visit.
  8. The lack of pressure to do everything all the time.
    There's literally too much to do. The ONLY option is to take everything one piece at a time, whenever you feel like it. I'm sure this is the case in 99% of the country, but there's just something abort being devoid of New York's "scenery" that makes life feel so breathable here.
  9. Drivers seat. Windows down. Volume turned up to the 95th highest percentile on the dial.
    This is my default mode. Hopeful instigator of drive-by Shazam'ings across the city.
  10. Decent... NO - delicious FRESH vegetables
    I can't believe this zucchini I'm eating wasn't put here for human purchase and consumption from a basement.
  11. Dr. Sona Patel of DOC420.COM
    HAVING A WEED CARD IS DOPE AND SURREAL AND I'M NOT TRYING TO ACT LIKE I *DON'T* FEEL LIKE I'M IN THE OPENING SCENE OF "WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY" INSIDE MY HEAD LITERALLY EVERY TIME I GET LET THROUGH A DISPENSARY DOOR https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=78gt7pfjlCU Please enjoy this snapshot of the snack menu from the "waiting room" of the "doctor's office."
  12. Permanent vacation vibes.
    The West Side is what women in the Delaware beach community dream of in the discount bins of Pier 1 Imports along the Chesapeake Bay. The California coast is the realest deal.
  13. IN-N-OUT BURGER
    SAY NO MORE, FAM
  14. Character in everything.
    Every cottage house and mansion in Hollywood and Hancock Park looks different. Every music venue is ornate and comfortable. Most everything everywhere still feels pure and purposeful. I don't know how this place gets such a bad rap for feeling fake and "plastic" when it's the coolest smattering of life I feel like I've ever seen.
  15. Zero fucks given. By ANYONE.
    In New York, it overwhelmingly feels like everyone is trying to BE something. And here, honestly, I have seen such a parade of sheer weirdness that it's helped me cure the vastness of my own self-consciousness. A woman walking her chihuahua in pink pleated pants with her fly down? WHATEVER! A guy in a McDonald's with no shoes on toting a beautiful rare bird on his shoulder? SURE! Cops pulling over hoverboarders. THIS GUY DRIVING IN THE DEAD OF SUMMER. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!
  16. Dreams and reality are somehow one in the same.
    I can see how this city fucks with people in the sense of deja vu: everything feels like somewhere you've seen before - whether in Hollywood movie rendering or your own lofty expectations / visualizations. And LA delivers it tangibly EVERY TIME. A collective rage into the summer night air at Hollywood Bowl or The Greek. The heirs of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. Stoic Griffith Observatory sitting on that hill. Traffic, tacos, and tans. I have no complaints. Only more marveling left to do.