Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I am Definitely a Coaster

I know you're wondering, what is a Coaster? It is a term I have coined to describe myself, as well as others like me, who have lived in big cities on both the West Coast and East Coast. For myself it has been Vancouver, Montreal, New York City, Philadelphia (briefly) and Los Angeles. Somehow I don't seem drawn to the middle of North America. I have always been committed to the coasts. I love the laid back attitude and gorgeous nature of the West Coast, and thrive off of the fast pace and dynamic cultural lifestyle of the East Coast. So how's a girl to choose where her heart lies?

I left Vancouver in search of adventure and after eight years on the East Coast I moved back to the West Coast this summer. I expected the stereotypical LA materialism and even laziness. I had heard that no one really works in LA (at least normal hours) and that I would miss the professional ambition and buzz of New York City. I thought my life would become smoothies and superficialism in comparison to the intellectual snobbery of NYC.

I was right and I was wrong. I was correct in assuming that people in LA do not work as long hours and do not value the chase up the corporate ladder as much as New Yorkers do. I was wrong in assuming that LA is merely filled with superficial people pursuing unfocused goals. Unlike New Yorkers, who love to one up each other on subjects such as the size/location of their apartments, their job titles and their designer clothes - the people I have met in Los Angeles, especially the succesful ones - seem very low key and mostly modest. I have been impressed.

However, I do think that those with East Coast upbringings and/or educations have an advantage on the West Coast. We can appreciate the "good life" here of biking on the beach and farmer's markets - however we understand that discipline and a work ethic is also essential in leading a fully balanced life. We've seen the chaos of NYC and are happy to exchange that for a fulfilling career, meaningful pursuits and a plain old good time. Ex-East Coasters in LA still work hard, they just don't take themselves quite as seriously as thy used to. So, I guess I am back to being a West Coaster for now.

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