The beaches of Solvang offer salty waves, wildflowers, and rocks as smooth as a china cup.
So good that when I mentioned I wanted to dive headfirst in the Pacific before my one-year-in-LA mark, they responded with a spontaneous road trip and a bottle of champagne. Though I had previously gotten my ankles wet, I still still hadn't drenched my hair in the west coast's salty water. This felt very important to me. Dave and Kaitlyn agreed it was a crucial endeavor, and suggested a trip to the beaches of Solvang, followed by wine tasting and dinner with Dave's parents, Molly and Rick. Yes. Yes please.
At 11am on a Wednesday, we filled the trunk with backpacks and bathing suits and waved goodbye to the traffic-hallowed freeways of Los Angeles. (Part-time and freelance jobs are a beautiful thing). Dave drove while Kaitlyn and I drank makeshift mimosas, giggling over memories of our days living in The Brothel. (New readers: The Brothel was the name of our home in college, and not an actual brothel. There were some similarities, but not enough to spur any controversy. Just to clarify.) After brunch in Santa Barbara, we found our beach. A train track separated shore from the road, and tangles of weeds and wildflowers burst from ground. We took a path down to the water, where the waves collided onto a cluster of rocks.
After some snapshots, we dove in and celebrated the surf. I made sure to go headfirst, so that I could say I REALLY did it: that I dove in the Pacific in the most ballsy way possible. I tasted the salt and it was so good, friends. It was cold and rough and exciting and fresh and nowhere near as painful as I thought it would be (It was a cold day for Southern California.)
When I moved across last March, I stuffed Caroline with as much crap as she could comfortably fit. I didn't have an apartment or a job, and I was so nervous that my knuckles turned white as I clutched the steering wheel. I did, however, have a group of friends who let me crash on their couches and brought over cheap wine during the horror of apartment hunting. I also had parents who answered the phone when I called them at 12am while crying over a UTI on the bathroom floor (driving from apartment to apartment made me hold my pee way too much.). I was, and am, a lucky girl.
Despite that, the year mark felt intimidating. And scary. I voiced my concerns to my friend Nikki the other day, told her that I was afraid that I hadn't grown much since moving to Los Angeles.
"I have these succulents in my backyard," She said. "If I look at them everyday, they don't seem to have changed. But when you compare them to how they looked one year ago, you can see a vibrant difference."
A lot of people I know tend to have a similar problem. We write out to-do lists and ponder over all the things we've yet to do, without giving our accomplishments much of a second thought. But noting the steps we have made and the progress that has been accomplished can serve as motivation to keep on truckin'.
So many beautiful things unraveled and there's still (I have faith) plenty more on the way. Much of this stems from a place of gratitude, and faith in the unknown.