Over the past couple weeks, I have had the pleasure of visiting Los Angeles. The last time I was in this city of dreams, it was more of a nightmare… plagued with lost phones and wallets. Constant and incessant drinking guised as typical College Spring Break behavior.
This Spring Break trip was back in the days when I was a college student in Boston. For some reason, our spring break week fell on the first week of March, which was also partly in the month of February. February in Boston is wicked cold and dark. The sun begins to set at precise moment when your hangover from the evening before begins to fade. In my case, that would be around 3pm. Coupled with temperatures in the single digits, if you didn’t have a reason to leave your apartment, chances are you didn’t. The invitation to join a couple Boston friends on a boys trip to LA was exactly what I needed at the time. An opportunity to escape the cold and dark environment of the city for sunny California. Just like that I was booked.
I recall that flight too. It was a nonstop flight on Virgin America. An airline which has joined the ranks of Pan Am and other antiquated airlines. That plane was beautiful on the inside with the purple tinted lights in the main cabin. I was obsessed. I felt chic, sophisticated, and expensive. Headed to the city of movie stars and famous individuals, I felt this was the perfect pregame to what was about to be an incredible week in LA. We drank a lot of little bottles on that long flight, and arrived in LA ready to continue the party, especially since thanks to the time change.. it was only early afternoon.
I recall arriving in LA and after checking into our hotel in West Hollywood, we proceeded to head straight to the bars to get the show on the road and really hit the city with a bang. What I didn’t realize, is that if you try and bang a city, it will bang you right back. The intensity that we were hit with was something that I can never forget. Although, what happened over the following few days was is nothing but a blur. But it is a blur I would never forget…
Fast forward a few hours, I am robbed phone-less and wallet-less, lost, ripped clothes from a struggle, and intoxicated. My friend had also injured his arm or shoulder. Upon ejecting ourselves from the cab driver gone mad, my friend had fractured his arm. The proceeding hours included police reports which availed us no help at all and left us still lost, phone less, and money less, and still injured.
What happened that night, I could go on for hours and explain my recollection which is a group of fragmented memories somewhat pieces together and assisted by the other two guys in my group. However, the end conclusion, is not debated since it documented through bills, a new phone purchase, a trip to the bank, and the hospital.
The trip had been tarnished from that night for the rest of the trip and we had visible reminders of the havoc we wrought upon ourselves, bruises and casts.
Needless to say, I didn’t really have any interest or desire to return to Los Angeles for a very, very long time. To be more specific, 13 years.
Returning to this city has been nothing but an amazing experience. I have met individuals who I can identify and relate to on an intimate and personal level. Connected with fellows in real life, who I had only known through virtual zoom meetings. And, I have had the opportunity to bring State of Gratitude to yoga studios, wellness centers, and boutiques who I didn’t even know existed.
So much of this brand is about creating a personal connection with you - the most important part of this initiative. However, in a time of uncertainty, with a lingering pandemic around us, social media has replaced actual physical human connection. With places reopening again around the country, it is important to me to get out and engage with individuals who can relate and identify with our message of gratitude.
Thank you for giving me the motivation, strength, and courage to step out of my comfort zone. This trip to LA has definitely redefined my perception of this City of Dreams, and I am happy to replace negative thoughts and imagery with positive and uplifting ones.
Perception is everything. We can all change our perspective and create new memories out of old ones that suit us today. I’m done living in the past and here to create the future with Gratitude.