When I first got to Los Angeles in June, I thought this place was a fairy tale land, literally “la la land”. It was surreal; the weather, the food, the people, the nightlife, the access to anything you could ever want to pursue professionally, the access to anything you could ever want to pursue… period. People from LA, Angelinos as I’ve learned they go by, are happy. Angelinos are friendly. Angelinos have smiles on their faces and are approachable, for the most part. Angelinos don’t act too stressed or anxious or worried. Angelinos are just… chill.
See, as an East Coaster, New Jersey born and raised (but a New Yorker at heart), we’re not as chill. This isn’t an attack on the East Coast. I love my home and New York City will always be my favorite place. But we are way more innately aggressive, tense, and worried about things, big or small. There’s less of a trust that things will get done and more of a forceful desire to do those things yourself.
I caught up with a friend who is from LA a little over a week into my experience and she told me something interesting that helped put things in perspective for me. She said that LA is one of the few places where you can go for a hike in the mountains, chill at the beach, and be in the heart of an urban cityscape having drinks on a rooftop bar, which we were at the time, all within a few hours. And if you want, you can go hiking in the desert at Joshua Tree the next day, then go skiing at Big Bear the day after that. I found that eye opening, as it goes on to prove one point… you can do anything you want here. That’s why people in LA seem so happy. That is why people are so chill. You can have THIS lifestyle, in a heavily productive environment where opportunity is limitless.
But that’s what was freaking me out when I first got here, and what has proved to be the most difficult part of this LA experience for me; being productive and living in a chill environment simultaneously. I’ve lived a very East Coast life in a very East Coast family, where chilling is a reward after the hard work is done. In LA, working hard and chilling go hand in hand, and my greatest learning curve has been learning to chill like an Angelino. I know that might sound lazy, and you might think ‘chilling out’ doesn’t require an education, but it most definitely does. I’d even take it a step further than that… chilling is an art form. Chilling out requires dedication, practice, trial and tribulation, and time management skills, with the ultimate goal of doing so in a way that allows you to be just as productive as anyone back on the East Coast, if not more so. I needed to learn how to chill, and to be productive at the same time. I needed to learn ‘The Art of Chilling’.
So that is what I have been doing, honing the craft… I have been sleeping well, exercising, eating great food, going to the beach, hanging out with friends, and saving my Sundays for NFL Football. I have been meditating. I’ve been less worried and anxious when it comes to other people and more focused on myself. I’ve learned to have a greater tolerance for bullshit; lateness, superficiality, an aesthetically driven culture. I’ve been incorporating these things into a 3 day work week, into a 13 credit schedule, and into the ongoing strenuous development and pre-production process for my thesis film, which I am planning on shooting by the end of my time here. I have been setting 6am alarms to get writing in before work and class most days. I have been constantly networking; scheduling appointments and phone calls with people at various stages of their respective careers who are living in LA. I have been trying to do it ALL.
And as a result, I’ve been as productive as I’ve ever been and I’ve worked as hard as I’ve ever worked. But at the same time, I’ve been as relaxed as I’ve ever been, I’ve felt as good as I’ve ever felt, and I’ve had as much fun as I’ve ever had… And that, SU Family and Friends, is “The Art of Chilling”.