Six Months In

2 Feb

I’ve officially been living in Orange County for 6 months. I thought the transition would feel dramatic. Big. Like I would feel out of place all the time and could easily point to all the terrible things about being here. But it hasn’t been like that at all. Things actually feel somewhat normal. I have a job I enjoy, a partner who loves me, a comfortable apartment, longtime friends. I have routines for commuting, for work, for visiting family, for working out, for grocery shopping. All the mundane details of daily life.

But that doesn’t mean the shifts aren’t there just because they’re more subtle than I expected. It’s in the small ways I let go of some of my values. People compromise all the time and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. What makes me nervous is how easily I’ve slipped into these new habits (even when I know that alternatives exist) and that I don’t know where my boundaries are. Will I wake up one day and realize that my entire life is out of alignment?

In the book “Your Money or Your Life”, they have you take an assessment of how the sacrifices you make for your career could be taking an economic and emotional toll on your happiness. When I did the assessment while I lived in Oakland, everything lined up: almost zero commute cost or time, minimal expenditures on work attire, and a job that was fulfilling in all the ways that mattered. Now that I’m in OC, I’m afraid to take that same assessment.

So, after 6 months, here are the top 10 ways I’ve become a bonafide Orange County-er:

1. Regular consumption of mega-chain unhealthy-in-all-senses-of-the-word food (including getting excited when we get new Jack-in-the-Box coupons and being a regular Starbucks card carrier).

2. Skipping Occupy protests to go to the beach.

3. Being nervous about talking to local friends and co-workers about politics because I suspect that many of them are Republican.

4. Going to the mall on a weekly basis.

5. Making excuses to leave my money in Wells Fargo because I can’t find a suitable credit union in the area.

6. Driving everywhere and biking nowhere.

7. Buying things hella cheap at the 99₵ store, where I am sure I’m contributing to international human rights abuses, unemployment, and false economic development.

8. Not talking to my now-nearby family members about gay rights, Obama, immigration, or racism.

9. Letting our trash can fill with Styrofoam take-out containers (not banned here).

10. Spending hours playing Rock Band on Xbox instead of building community, learning through books or documentaries, practicing yoga, attending local arts events, or just doing something otherwise meaningful.

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2 Responses to “Six Months In”

  1. susette February 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    we should talk about what you think about obama’s healthcare reform at our next family meeting 🙂

    • cil1977 February 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

      oh my god, that would be awesome! i’m super curious to hear what someone in the medical profession thinks. i’m totally serious. thanks, susette!

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