Dan Levy on Living In Los Angeles

Dan Levy embraces life in L.A.--one downward dog at a time

Dan Levy

Photo by Luke Wooden

If you were to have asked me two years ago if I ever saw moving to Los Angeles in my future, my answer would have been no. It also would have probably involved some sarcastic quip about how I’m not quite ready to call what I once thought was a cultureless, vapid wasteland of plastic surgery and D-list celebrities home.

And yet, here I am, very much settled into my new life in Silver Lake—an L.A. hipster borough I once described as the place where the Urban Outfitters catalogue comes to die—and I just might be the happiest I’ve ever been.

Up until about 14 months ago I had always fancied myself an East Coast kind of guy. My goal was to move to New York and continue to experience all the East Coast–type things I’ve grown to appreciate, such as the changing of the seasons or that deep chill that settles over all of our personalities when winter strikes—all the little things you’d miss out on in sunny California. For the longest time Los Angeles was somewhere that I never felt connected to. It was a place where people wore sweatpants to dinner and drank smoothies aimed at aligning their chakras. It was a place where you couldn’t get service at a restaurant because your waiter was schmoozing with a famous film director a few tables down. It was a place where Paris Hilton lived!

So when work beckoned and I was forced to relocate to the City of Angels, it quickly became a place I resented. It’s spread out, you have to drive everywhere, I had no friends and I lived with my parents. Those were the four big problems I held the city accountable for. And I made sure people knew how I felt at every possible opportunity. That was until I met a cab driver one night who asked me to explain why I had such a big chip on my shoulder. “Give me one good reason to hate this town,” he said. I gave him those four. To which he replied, “Explore. Improve your driving. Make friends. And be grateful.” Well that shut me up for the night.

It also forced me to attempt a more positive outlook. Instead of resisting this new chapter, I would try to embrace it, hot yoga classes and all. I started spending my afternoons learning downward dog with the elderly women who lived up the street, I explored parts of town I never knew existed and parts of town I wish didn’t exist, and I began reaching out to acquaintances for company and then desperately harassing them to invite me out again. To my surprise, the friends I’ve made here are all either Canadian or New Yorkers and the fact that we’re all imports has only helped in nurturing the strongest of bonds between us all.

Now don’t get me wrong—this town is still full of the craziest people I’ve ever seen and my opinions haven’t changed on the service industry, but I’ve come to love it for all of its faults. I now hike. I own a dog. And I’m currently finishing this column from a place called Café Gratitude where I’ve just ordered the I Am Whole bowl. I am “that guy” and my East Coast edge still finds it nauseating. But maybe that’s the guy I’m supposed to be right now (minus the presumed pretension and New Agey affectation). I’m undecided on how I feel about destiny—except for the fact that I love her children—but I have to say I now strongly believe that in some cases the most unexpected detours in life may actually turn out to be unforeseen shortcuts. And while I may venture back east at some point, for the time being, I Am Whole.

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