A while back, Drew and I sat at a friends kitchen table, candles glowing, the remnants of the amazing meal we had just shared cleared away, fresh glasses of wine poured; it was dreamy, I can't lie. In this post dinner dream land we sat talking and laughing when, out of the blue, our friend Becky asked us, point blank, if we thought we would be staying in LA much longer. Drew and I looked at each other, gave it a little pause, and said- yeah... I think we are going to stick around for a while. At this news Beckys face burst into a joy filled smile and then she told us a story...
A few years ago Neph and Becky found themselves back on the apartment hung. They had been living in their current home for a year and out of habit, started looking to move. One day, as they were talking about the impending packing up of their life (yet again), they both realized that neither of them actually wanted to move, they just felt like it was what they should do (because they always had moved after being in a place for a year). Instead they realized that they should LIVE there. They should hang pictures, have people over, share their life, invest, plant roots... they looked at each other and said, "let's live here."
I love that. Let's live here. So simple, and yet... I think many of us resist. We live online, we live in the past or the future... but when we actually choose to live HERE, in this moment, in our homes, apartments, communities, friend groups, etc. life becomes better, it becomes more real, more rich. Don't you agree?
The crazy thing is how I have seen this play out in real time in recent months.
You see, Summer is slowly heating things up, drying things out, and making our routine of dining al fresco with friends next to impossible. This has kept us from having people over for dinner for quite some time... confession...we haven't really bought much furniture, not because we didn't want to but because we have the basics and if we were going to move (again) that is enough to deal with, without having to rent a huge U-Haul. But when we made the decision to stay put for a while something cracked in within us- we were saying yes to investing in our own life (and it felt super fucking good, I can't lie). And so, we decided to add to our home. We have had a savings fund for a trip that we decided to repurpose, instead, into home things (don't worry, we will still travel, just not right now and I'm perfectly ok with that). We found a beautiful table and chairs so we could have people for dinner again. A butcher block cart and stools for the kitchen so people can hangout while I cook and a coffee table for us to center around in our living room, which has been severally lacking. We also purchased plants, which has brought such brightness and life into our home.
And do you know what!? These things give me joy EVERY DAY. We had guest in town over the course of the last few weeks and we all sat around that table and shared meals... the best conversations of their trips happened there. We use the butcher block cart as a communing space while the meals are being prepared and it is wonderful! I can't begin to express just how much these things have added to our life...but I will say, it isn't necessarily the 'stuff' that is adding the most value to our lives.
We have also started becoming 'regulars' around town at our favorite shops. We have our coffee spot, our wine guy, meat guy, greens guys, egg guy, and friend groups that we feel closer and more connected with than ever. Intentionally engaging, building relationship, and caring for those around us has taught us a new way of 'being' in our life in Los Angeles. The give and take, the sharing, generosity, grace, gratitude, vulnerability, joy, and struggle, all becoming more real in the best way possible.
Let's live here. Let's choose our lives. Let's engage.
It is no easy task, but time and time again, it proves to be a (truly) worthy cause.
*Images is from my dear friend Alissas birthday dinner. This dinner was a celebration of her, a woman who inspires everyone around her with her grace, strength, integrity, and joy. A reminder of just how powerful engaging your own life can be.