A Series of Experiments

This is a continuation of the previous post, thoughts on living in Los Angeles after two years.

The other day I was hunting through my closet and I realized: I had nothing to wear. I felt a familiar flash of junior high awkwardness, tearing through dresser drawers looking for something acceptably cool. At the time, I think I settled on a baggy polo and a pair of Dockers.

Aka the epitome of pretty-lame.

On this go-around, it wasn’t my level of awesomeness hindering me (a level which clearly has grown exponentially since high school.) It was my experiment in minimalism two years ago, where I gave away everything I owned save for few choice selections. It was an adjustment, but well-suited for my goals at the time.

Now that I’m living in Los Angeles? Not so much.

Annoyed as I am though, I think if I didn’t put myself through that, I wouldn’t be standing here in my Culver City apartment, the one besotted with Craigslist furniture and a dish set that sort of showed up in our cabinets one day. I couldn’t grow resentful at the thought of sacrifice because I had nothing left to give up. I couldn’t grow jealous over things I didn’t have because I didn’t have anything. If I didn’t make those choices, the thought of moving across the country would have seemed more daunting.

Looking at life through this lens, it feels like all events leading up to now are just a sequence of experiments, one building upon another. Minimalism was an experiment in sacrifice. Summer days spent working in Chinese restaurants as a teenager were lessons in work ethic. Solo traveling was an experiment in being comfortable in my own shoes.

Even writing a blog, is an experiment in making myself responsible for my words. Each post is an experiment in hitting “publish.”

I mentioned how the idea that Los Angeles is feeling less like an experiment, and gradually receding into what feels like life. In its wake I’m left with one idea: experiments sometimes fail. They almost always end. Score isn’t kept by how many tallies you have in one column or the other, but rather, how close are you to the life you imagined for yourself?

That’s the goal of these experiments in our lives: not the individual successes or failures, but whether the sum of their parts brings you where you want to be.

Photos Credit: glencm

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