California isn’t California without you, love.

Daria James
It has been almost five years since I moved to the East Coast. At first, I was afraid, I was petrified, kept thinking I could never live without you by my side… and by now you probably realized I was surviving my way here. However, I too, grew strong and learnt how to get along.

California is a place I consider dear to my heart. San Diego was the first place in America I called home. The stars aligned just right and I began my American transformation, for I had a dream, and I dreamed it for me. I adopted the California state-of-mind, much like the New York State of mind, but better. I thought America was California all over the west, then Texas and some random states in the middle nobody cares about and New York City on the east coast.

I did everything within my power to remain, but in the end accepted our fate. After all, changes are for food good. If you live in California, you are probably thinking I am crazy right now. How could I abandon the burritos of my life? Why would I trade the weather and the ocean for anything that is not the weather and the ocean? Oh, the humanity!

Well, sure, the first year was rough (like your mother liked it last night. Classics never go out of style). I too, thought that I would crumble; nonetheless, I did not lay down and die. Au contraire, standing and thriving I remain. Truth is, there is life after California. California was a fun first boyfriend or girlfriend (because why limit ourselves) who makes you feel crazy in love with their spontaneity but then one day you wake up sober and no longer see them through the eyes of adoration.

You realize they drink too much, and have no goals or interest in growing up. They are content with their current life, yet bask in their own ignorance with a holier than thou attitude.

The other day I was feeling a bit nostalgic and through the wonderful world wide web I tuned in a Southern California radio station and could not stand the conversation the DJs were having. They were complaining about how “bad” the weather had been lately and how no amount of money would make them move to another state. Then a metaphorical cold bucket of water hit me. Was I like that before? It was like Neo waking up in that slime tub in the Matrix. I had an apologetic feeling and wanted to call my friends living in other states. I had been a jerk. Then the feeling passed and I waved it goodbye. I am not entirely sorry. I had my fun all those winters. I made fun of them while they were being hit with snowstorms and I was wearing shorts in January.

Because I am me. I googled California DJ salary and I would not move back to California for that pay. Booyah! Reverse Californiaed you! (That is a word)

I have gone back to visit since my departure. Last time I was there I felt like a stranger. I walked the streets I used to walk and ate at the places I used to frequent, yet, I felt like a guest, a stranger in paradise even. I no longer felt at home. Home is where the heart is and my heart has moved on, perhaps I am only saying this because the winter is over and I will go back to missing California in December (we all have moments of weakness), but you will not read me cry.

For the longest time, California was my utopia. Today is a collection of fun filled memories and lessons learned. I miss some people there, but we have social media. Today, I know there is more to life than perfect weather, the beaches, sun-kissed tan, Zarape Taco Shop, In-N-Out, the boardwalks, Taco Tuesdays, Wings-N-Things, Santa Monica, Coronado Beach, Venice Beach, Carmel, Pacific Beach … what was is I talking about? Oh, yeah. The strong adapt and overcome, either that, or remain mediocre, but hey, at least you got the weather going. I believe in taking opportunities to better ourselves, take different paths, and broaden our horizons. When I look back, it is not in anger. Stepping out of my comfort zone was a challenge, but I am glad I did. I feel great. I continue to learn and welcome change. Excitement does not come when we do not take risks.

Shout out to CSA in Pacific Beach.

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