I love Los Angeles because it’s huge, it’s constantly renewing itself, and there is a regular stream of new-comers. It’s like an etch-a-sketch, the metaphor apt, because you never know when the ground is going to shake from under you.
This has been a year of new beginnings for me. Leaving Europe, coming to this sprawling, enormous city, was a painful and envigorating experience, and I have extended this experimentation to everything. Since I’ve been here, I have acted as if I have a new lease on life, reviewing my choices, re-aligning my priorities, re-inventing my experiences.
I’ve done so many things for the first time. First lease in my name on a house, first full-time job with health coverage, first time in a place with no outbound plane ticket, first baseball game and Dodger dog, first time settling in, and letting my experiences take, sink in, grow roots.
The very first episode of This American Life is called New Beginnings. It first aired on November 17, 1995. My first year in college, my first year in the States, at the University of Delaware, my first real culture shock.
The most significant section of the show was the “Should’ve been dead” Act One, where Kevin Kelly lives his last six months on earth, and talks about the experience, and his transformation. The experience is so significant, and so specific, it transcends into a universal human experience, and I could see my life mirrored in a small way in some of the events in his life.
Radio gives you space for thinking. I like that. It’s a form of entertainment that requires you to meet it half-way so you’re never completely passive. You have to fill in the blanks, complete the visuals in the story that the intimate voice narrates.
I did something for the first time this year, I sat down before the year started, and thought about what I wanted this year to be about. I cut out images and words from magazines, without thinking, then glued them on a sheet of paper, we did this with a group of friends in my community at one person’s initiative.
What emerged to me was Authenticity, reconnecting to what moved me as a child, reconnecting to who I am beyond what I think I am expected to be. This has been a salvation this year. I feel free for the first time in a long time, and I welcome the new beginning.