This evening, I talked to my dear friend Nikki for more than two hours, which is a huge chunk of time for busy folks like us. I’m juggling multiple gigs and an internship and she’s getting married exactly two months from today, so chatting on the phone for that long might seem crazy given everything on our plate. But it was really nice to catch up, and as Nikki always does when we touch base, she made me realize how good I really have it.
After I explained that I’ve been doing a ton of freelance work and research on upcoming TV writing fellowships, she inquired about my social life.
“I know all about your guy, but you haven’t mentioned much about your friends in LA. Who do you hang out with these days?”
“I’m really close with this girl named Kelly from my internship,” I said, “There’s also my roommate Dawn, fellow HelloGiggles columnist Angie, and our mutual buddy Lidia. I’m not attached at the hip with anyone else but it’s going super well with those ladies.”
“Laura, that’s plenty. Most people would agree that’s a lot of friends!”
“Well, quality is the only thing that matters.”
Having 3-4 trustworthy pals is more than enough, and they’ve all been there for me during trying times here in SoCal. As my parents told me in junior high, a handful of loyal friends is all you really need, I just got so stuck on the idea that I constantly had to be out and about during my 20s. NYC and D.C. made me feel pressured to do something fun, adventurous, and crazy every weekend, even when I was tired, being blown off, miserable, or too intimidated by the volatile weather to leave my overpriced walkup. On top of work and the insanity of surviving in a giant city, I had FOMO and YOLO on my back, and it was all weighing me down.
LA is different for me. I’m much happier having a dependable group of friends and not simply an exciting one, but to be fair, my closest friends in NYC were gems as well. The need to seek chaos and trouble, however, just isn’t what I want anymore. I’ve got a manageable, rich (in quality, not money. I told you this isn’t Gossip Girl!) social circle here, and we’re all finding our own way in this town.
Speaking of which, Nikki added that I’m writing about LA a lot more and NYC significantly less these days. There’s a reason for that: I don’t want to live in the past anymore, even though I thought I knew who I was back then.
When I first moved here, all I could talk about was my former East Coast life, and Ian listened because he cared and recognized it was important for me to vent. I defined myself by previous jobs, an egregious mistake if there ever was one. I wanted to show my LA pals and boyfriend that I’d been successful on paper and respected once upon a time, not simply a 25-year-old intern, part-time babysitter, Chipotle addict, and budding slacker. Nobody in California knew the old, blindly ambitious me, but that wasn’t the real me to begin with. I am more than my place of employment, and for the first time in my life, I believe I’m more than my writing. It has a life of its own, and so do I.
I’m a 25-year-old who cheerfully strolls past Mickey Mouse memorabilia every week, finds children hilarious and cannot wait to be a parent someday, loves residing in protein-heavy and delicious burrito land, and values the work, heart, and soul put into a good TV show. I lack rhythm and grace but love Zumba and yoga class, as I’ve been obsessed with stretching, circulation, and feeling centered since middle school. I’m a picky eater but can destroy an entire Cheez-Its box in a single sitting. Print may be dying, but nothing soothes me like a book, newspaper, or magazine.
Receiving mail has always been a highlight of my life, and I don’t know what I’m going to do when my 14-year-old dog Roxy eventually passes away, as she’s one of the sweetest living beings I’ve ever known, not to mention a direct portal to a charmed upbringing that abruptly ended with the death of my father. Froyo is all right, but thanks to my dad, I’ll forever be an ice cream girl. I’m a natural redhead but blonde at heart, so I get my hair done every two months, much to the chagrin of outsiders who think I should embrace my greasy, clownish locks. Yeah right. Nobody knows me quite like my childhood crew — Crystal, Lauren, and Nikita — and I’d like to keep it that way for reasons only they understand. Inside jokes from decades (yes, decades) ago still make me laugh and chill out when harsh realities kick in, so you can always count on me to giggle out of turn with no comprehensible explanation. As Crystal, Lauren, and Nikita will tell you, you don’t want to know any of the silly memories I’m cracking up about.
Friends are a close second, but family is the most important part of my life. And love, of course. As long as I have those three things, I’ll consider myself a winner, TV writer or not.