a list of things i wish i knew before i moved to LA.

here's some tips per your request, @ginaorlando. LA is a tough city but you're tougher. let this help guide you, let me know if you ever need anything else, and always know that you're going to flourish in this crazy place. (authors note: I wrote this list as if I'm in LA right now when I haven't been there in five+ weeks.)
  1. it's hard to make actual friends in LA. you'll meet people that you think you can trust, but you're probably wrong. a lot of people in LA are human garbage. being a good person is rare in this city. people can be so terrible that sometimes it's hard to stay kind. please always make sure you stay kind.
  2. so many people are trying to do exactly what you're trying to do and they will stop at nothing (read: cut you down) to try and get ahead of you.
  3. people you trust are going to stab you in the back. it's not you. it really is them.
  4. however hard you think it's going to be to live so far from your family, it's going to be infinitely harder.
  5. people you love back home are going to die and you're going to wonder if you made the right move or if you should've spent more time with them.
    there's no right answer for this. yes, it's important to chase your dreams, but you can never get back the time you spend away.
  6. going back to your home town gets more and more bizarre with each trip.
    if you're anything like me, you'll eventually stop letting anyone other than family know that you're in town.
  7. never live in an apartment where you're not on the top floor. buildings are old and noisy upstairs neighbors will ruin you. NEVER HAVE UPSTAIRS NEIGHBORS. I cannot stress this enough.
  8. live in a building with parking. like, if you find your dream apartment and parking is not provided, IT IS NOT YOUR DREAM APARTMENT.
    ditto for laundry. but not having parking is a deal breaker.
  9. CHECK THAT YOUR APARTMENT HAS CEILING FANS AND AIR CONDITIONING. it's hard to forget these are necessary things in the colder months but LA is a desert and you will melt in your apartment without AC come summer time.
    I had my landlord install ceiling fans before I moved in (I bought the fixtures). one of the best decisions I've made. I forgot about the AC thing (after not having it in my first apartment because clearly I don't learn from my mistakes) and got window units, but not all windows are window-unit-friendly so just find something with AC and make your life easy.
  10. when you drive in LA, you just need to take a deep breath and be okay with being stuck in whatever mix of traffic you find yourself in. always leave early, but you'll still almost always be late.
  11. people who are undeserving and under-qualified will always be ahead of you or on your level. don't let it get you down. just keep working your ass off and try not to compare yourself to others.
  12. anything you say "no" to, someone else will say "yes" to. that doesn't mean to always say yes, it just means that you need to mean it when you say no.
  13. certain people are going to not give a shit about you and never do a kind thing for you until they see you succeed or need something from you. you'll be amazed by the people who ask you for favors. find a way to embrace it so that it doesn't grate on you.
  14. eat at sugarfish. often.
  15. the Hollywood farmers market every Sunday is the best... fresh produce from local farms at a fraction of the cost of a grocery store. awesome way to save money and simultaneously support the community. bonus: it's great for people watching
  16. don't ever date someone because you're lonely/someone else broke your heart.
    though I suppose that's a rule for any city.
  17. find an outlet. hiking, yoga, the gym... something. and stick to it. you'll need a mental break from this city to stay sane.
  18. LA is super polluted and moving here gave me a ton of allergies. no preventative measures, just more of a precautionary tale to have some Allegra handy.
  19. everyone else in LA is probably just as (if not more) fucked up, broken, depressed, anxious, self doubting, and miserable as you are. remind yourself of that and let that reminder make you feel less alone when it gets really hard. then go do something nice for someone you love who is going through some shit.
  20. despite how hard it can be to live in LA, it's still really magical. find something that reminds you of the magic (for me, it's hiking near the Hollywood sign and seeing that massive sign up close. I somehow feel so small and so big at the same time).
  21. it's okay if you move to LA and decide it's not for you. it's a tough city and its not for everyone.