When I first moved to Los Angeles, I was thrilled at the anonymity and excited by the prospect of being surrounded by seventeen million new people, many of whom, at least in the areas of town I frequent, are “creatives.”
I don’t regret the move, as it got me through what has to be the most difficult period for childless-by-circumstance women, age 37-43. Although I dated quite a bit, especially the first few years, I also had fun exploring and learning about this sprawling metropolis, and I feel proud of myself for doing so and for accomplishing something even while I didn’t accomplish the thing— marriage and children.
The very anonymity I found thrilling when I moved here, however, now leaves me cold. When I consider taking that potential job and staying on, it feels like it would be a long, lonely slog.
In this last year I’ve had to do a reality check in regard to my social life. While I cross paths and am friendly with a few musicians, actors, comics, and writers, I am not actually friends with any of them. My social life consists of a few random co-workers and women from my dance classes, none of whom I see all that often. My dating life, outside of a past liaison that lingers on, has come to a standstill.
I could recreate this same social life anywhere— I don’t need to pay a premium for it like I do here.
And you do have to pay a premium here. If you want to live alone in a one-bedroom apartment, go out to eat and on the town a few times a week, take a vacation or two, and tuck away 5-10k a year in savings, you have to pull in about 80k a year. One thing I’ve realized is that almost everyone I know who stays long-term is either from here, went to college here, or is married. They are either living with extended family, living with a partner, living in inherited property, or, in one case, holding on to a large, rent-controlled apartment for decade after decade.
I am none of those, so I’d be a fool to stay on.