Sitting here writing this on the plane, homeward bound, in the dark, not having the luxury of being able to sleep at 38,000 feet, I’m reflecting on my week in LA, which was pretty amazing. Lots to see and certainly lots to do, and with the sun hitting 103F at its highest, it was more than a little different to the normal working week at home in wet Wales.
Morning meetings pool side, photo shoots on the beach with a sneaky dip of the toe in the Pacific amid the very talented surfers, plus dinner one night in a friend / colleagues million-pound marine front house on Newport Beach did not suck, although it doesn’t mean a lot when you’re on your own, and man was it lonely in that hotel room.
The days were fine, but getting back to my room after dinner each night, generally around the 8pm mark, I’d put the Pj’s on, curl up in bed to watch a couple of episodes of my guilty pleasure (Hawaii Five-0 of course, addicted!), with Miss Bunny and Iggy for company and as much as I was able to switch off from a busy day, and take what I guess you could call compulsory ‘me’ time, I’d give it back in a heartbeat to be drinking tea on the sofa in my dressing gown, feet on hubby with a bar of something chocolaty by my side, the normal routine most nights of the week once the kids are in bed. Having timeout to yourself is key for any busy person, and should of course be spent doing something you enjoy and something that helps you switch off from the day job, the crazy parenting, the chores, all of the above, but being home alone, even if in a very nice hotel room with great views, with no kisses or cuddles for a week, just doesn’t do it for me.
But what being on your tod half a world away does give you is time, time to reflect on yourself as a person, on your work, and I guess on life in general, and where you want to be, all emphasised this week by the cool vibe and general laid back life style of Huntington Beach, California and the locals of Pacific Coast Highway, where we spent most of our evening time. These people have it totally sussed. No care in the world as to what they wear, or what people think of what they wear, 40+ year old men riding beach front on scooters, old guys playing music from the back of a pick up truck and the day spent quietly fishing off the Pier until sunset. It’s just a completely different world to the one we live back home.
One of my biggest pet hates as I’ve gotten older is the imitation of the ‘perfect life’ here in the UK, the need to exhibit to all what we have, how much it costs and ultimately, how good we think it makes us look. Having published a journal article on this very topic, the life of those witnessed this week was the complete polar opposite of that need to create ones’ perfect self to the outside world and just opened my mind as to ways in which I can improve my / our lives by just stripping it all back to basics, LA style. Less stress, more life is my end goal, to get my busy working parental existence to a place where I can feel inner piece. I am ridiculously ambitious and need to find that place where I can still be the crazy creative person coming up with new ideas and plans every 5 minutes, but can also learn to channel those concepts to make life better, and not more stressful.
I think as we get older, the days get longer but life goes faster and making the most of every opportunity at my age is a must. I admit, I do have a very different outlook on life than the majority, if not all of my friends and family, and the want to make the most of this game and leave the ordinary life behind are high up there on my wish list, and this week, LA and the envious life style of Pacific Coast Highway residents gave me the inspiration and the nudge to make the small changes to our lifestyle, if not the bigger ones, to get us to that happier place.
I’ll make a few tweaks for sure. Less screen time for me after working hours, more time enjoying the outdoors, even if it is always raining, and maybe even some morning meditation, which I have read a lot about lately and how it helps calm the storms of life. But more than anything, it’s just relaxing the dramas, living life to the fullest, and now that I’m home with tea and chocolate, making treasured memories in every day life with the family is top of my to do list, something I have truly missed this last week.