the L.A. song

In ALL, MUSIC by Stephanie Klein30 Comments

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Man I gotta get out of this town,
Man I gotta get out of this pain.
Man I gotta get out of this town,
Out of this town, and out of LA.
–Beth Hart

I love restless songs. They remind me of my twenties: years spent feeling torn and frustrated, where I knew I was unhappy but didn’t want to have to do what it took not to be. And even when I tried, I didn’t really think I was doing it right anyway. I was under construction.

I like the songs because ultimately they end with our girl getting her act together, telling people to fuck off, and returning to all she initially resisted, back to the place she wanted so much to leave. It’s the ultimate in not realizing what you have until it’s gone. It’s very ruby slippers with a lot of scared crow and ultimately a badge of courage pinned to your tiny heart.

I’m off to LA today. Not searching for a life but writing about the Straight Up, Dirty, and let’s face it, restless one, I once lived.

Comments

  1. Hi Stephanie,

    THANK YOU for this post! I'm 26 and totally lost in life. I just finished reading "Straight Up and Dirty" on the heels of a breakup (and his name is Gabriel, of course). I, too, am looking for things that make me happy, and mostly what make me happy are vodka and blogging. A book deal is my dream, but for now I'm plugging away at life, not wanting "to have to do what it [takes] to not be [unhappy.]" I sincerely hope that these kinds of things change with time, because I feel that all I'm doing right now is FLAILING and FAILING.

    Anyway, you have been a light in the tunnel for me, serving as a role model and reminding me not to give up on what I want to do the most, which is write. Your book was fantastic, cheaper than my therapist, and has been getting me through some pretty shitty times.

    THANK YOU.

  2. Hi Stephanie,

    THANK YOU for this post! I'm 26 and totally lost in life. I just finished reading "Straight Up and Dirty" on the heels of a breakup (and his name is Gabriel, of course). I, too, am looking for things that make me happy, and mostly what make me happy are vodka and blogging. A book deal is my dream, but for now I'm plugging away at life, not wanting "to have to do what it [takes] to not be [unhappy.]" I sincerely hope that these kinds of things change with time, because I feel that all I'm doing right now is FLAILING and FAILING.

    Anyway, you have been a light in the tunnel for me, serving as a role model and reminding me not to give up on what I want to do the most, which is write. Your book was fantastic, cheaper than my therapist, and has been getting me through some pretty shitty times.

    THANK YOU.

  3. I saw Phil's twitter last night about how he was helping you pick out clothes for Hollywood. Good luck! I can't wait to hear what happens!

  4. "…I knew I was unhappy but didn't want to have to do what it took not to be. And even when I tried, I didn't really think I was doing it right anyway. I was under construction."

    That completely sums up my 20's. Really well-said.

  5. I love how some people equate dating and drinking with "living." One day I woke up and decided I wanted to move overseas. And I did. A month later I flew to an obscure little country where no one spoke English. I thrived. I loved it. I threw myself into local culture, learned the language, and stayed for 3 years. All while also trying to survive, then finally getting out of, and abusive relationship. And I'm thinking, it might be time soon to do it again and choose another country.

    Go outside your comfort zones, people. Dating and drinking do not equal living and finding yourself.

  6. MC2, while I agree that dating and drinking don't add up to living, I didn't need to make an impromptu move to a new country to find myself. It might work for some people, but escaping isn't a guaranteed method of self-discovery.

  7. Man. That song. It takes me back to college, listening to it with a racing heart and mind and a restless, romantic notion of leaving anything and everything that was weighing me down. I recently read a blog post where someone was describing this feeling and she was saying that she knew she's finally happy where she is when the song "Boston" by Augustana came out and it didn't make her want to flee.

  8. I am also 26 and lost in life..it must be the thing when you're 26.
    I'm restless and unhappy and have no direction, but 1,000 dreams and plans. I've been dating like a crazy person and getting nowhere! I feel like shit about the world, but I love who I am.
    I lack amazing girlfriends in the city I live in and I think that hurts the cause!
    Is the "work" the wait…waiting for something, a sign? Because waiting is the worst kind of work…well waiting without self destructing with bad men, bad food and lots of shopping.

  9. I have to agree with those who have commented before me. I am 25 and feel just as lost as everyone else! Although I am happily married, I feel like I'm not fulfilling my potential in other areas. I can't find a good job that will hire me with no experience. I can't find a minimum wage job that will accept me because I have an associate's degree and I'm "overqualified." I'm trying to figure life out one day at a time!

  10. I'm 29 and wish I had taken the time to be restless and lost in my 20's, instead I jumped right out of adolescence into motherhood and am trying to figure all this sh*t out while trying to teach a 10 year old girl about life.

    Talk about not knowing what you got until it's gone.

  11. You never cease to bring me back to reality and that my life is in my hands to control! The quarter life crisis is affecting me big time, and I am slowly starting to see the light. Your post hit home, so thanks!

  12. Thank you for this, Stephanie.

    Like the other comments before me, I am 22, a fresh college graduate and am beginning to navigate the "real world." Yes, I am very much "under construction." Amen. Its a delicate balance really, trying to figure out who I want to be and how I can get there vs. reality checks, financial restrictions, lack of experience, and pure laziness, simultaneously of course feeling like I've lost my footing, missing my friends and family. (I take that back, its not delicate at all.) Very "Oh the Places You'll Go." It's no wonder every graduate gets that book as a graduation gift.

    Although I'm not sure this is entirely related, my recent question has been, will I ever feel like I'm settled but not settling? When is a choice, whether its a boyfriend/husband, career, location, etc. the right choice and not just settling?

  13. This is almost impossible to know when you're in your mid-20s but painfully clear by 40, give or take: all that floundering and worrying and obsessing gets you nowhere, and sets you up for misery, alcoholism, STDs and lots of expensive mistakes. The only major regret I have in life is that I spent my younger years trying to "figure it out," making myself and everyone around me crazy, when the truth is that it all unfolded as it was meant to. I just wish I'd had more fun and had been less goal-obsessed during those years.

    This is not to say that you can't make really great decisions in your 20s — several of my friends married young, had kids young and/or landed great jobs soon after college — but where on earth did most of us get the idea that we HAD to get sort it all out on some arbitrary timeline?

    You have forever to be burdened and miserable, if that's what you choose. If anyone is up for unsolicited advice from a late bloomer, here it is: be gentle to yourself. Lighten up, laugh even when it's hard, meet lots of people, travel, take a breather from that timeline. Your path is your own and so, ultimately, is your happiness.

    One final thing, especially for the heartbroken and confused 25- and 26-year-old commenters: trust me, you'll barely remember a thing about these guys (or even your rotten job/boss) in 20 years, and you'll likely have a million more interesting adventures along the way. Whatever it is you're trying to get through now, it puts you that much closer to where you want to be someday. Unfortunately, you'll only see that in hindsight, but it's true.

  14. Rachel – I didn't meant that everyone should do that (move overseas) to find themselves. (Though, nor was it "escaping" for me so much as simply trying something new.) I was just making a contrast between things that actually change your life vs. "I drank and dated and that means I lived."

  15. I guess I have been out of the loop. Stephanie are you going to LA because of your pilot you are working on? I must've missed a post somewhere. Thanks.

  16. I love restless songs too. They keep my adrenaline going and remind me that I don't have to be stuck in a place that I'm not happy with. Restless songs remind me of my twenties too. Now that I'm past my 30 mark, I have more stability in my life than I did back in my twenties-I have that to be grateful for–but sometimes, I still like to reflect on the things I'm doing, and whether or not they'd serve a larger purpose for me later on.

    Have fun in LA!

  17. I think that you feel like you're living when you're really FEELING….sometimes we do things (like date and drink) to really feel. It's easier than picking up and moving (because some people aren't in a position to do that…or they may not want to). I think about going abroad a lot, so that advice might work well for me (and I am exploring my options). But in the mean time, I'm living to FEEL something and sometimes a quick fix is enough to pass the time. Not that I recommend it or anything ;)

  18. Should I feel bad that I'm 33 and still have no clue?

    Thank goodness for music to remind us we're not the only one. Not the only square peg in a round hole; the only bootie in a sea of strappy sandals; or old broad giggling at the bartender who commented on her cleavage….

    Or is that just me?

  19. Jodi, you hit the nail on the head. I'm assuming you are around my age because that's the place where I am now. I also remember CLEARLY the women who were my age, (that I am now), telling me when I was in my 20-somethings those exact things. I didn't believe them, but they were so sincere and so sure that I hoped they were right. And they were. And so it goes that all those things 'they' said have come to pass and come true and come of age. The boys and heartache are long gone, the confusion, the wasted time by the phone. It's not regret of those things as much as it's not being able to see the forest for the trees at the time. God, I'd LOVE to hear what wisdom those women who told me it would all work out could say to me now. I mean really, there still has to be more to learn and more to feel and more to say, aha!, to… right? Funny, there isn't a thing I miss about my twenties. Well, maybe my flat-as-a-pancake stomach, but that was probably caused by not eating from worrying about everything.

  20. 22 and lost as well…nothing seems to work out the way I want…
    Since i didn't get into the school I was trying to transfer too I will be taking yet another semester off. I may end up taking some creative writing courses to get me back into writing. I was such a natural in High School but somewhere somehow I've lost my voice and writing style…seriously….read my posts on here….most of it is mumble jumple and has tons of suspension points strewn throughout…

    I hope that with that course though I can begin to tell the tale of my family (believe me it is beyond ordinary). The real goal is to try to find myself and how I fit within the story and at the same time try and figure out why I act the why I do and such.

    I don't like revisiting the past much….but when it is about figuring out my family story I can't help but dive right into history. I think this will really help with a lot of my issues. And who knows maybe I can figure out why I can't ever seem to be able to sustain a relationship past 4-5 months.

  21. Good luck! You're in my neck of the woods and in my old entertainment stomping grounds. I hope everything goes well for you in your meetings. Can't wait to see SU&D as a series! You go, girl! Oh, also, I'm reading MOOSE now, LOVING it. You are such an honest writer. I admire you're willingness to bare it all.

  22. Jodi, thank you so much for that. I'm clinging desperately to the hope that you are entirely correct (I'm 33).

  23. This really hit home with me today. I am 23, own an apartment, and have a great job at a publisher. But I'm not happy. I have everything I "should" have, when based on some timeline of goals and achievement. But I'm bored and not fulfilled. I sit in front of a computer all day, have little personal interaction, and find myself just waiting to get out of the office.

    I have several things I would love to do, and am taking steps to getting there (started a blog, taking a training course in counseling at Planned Parenthood), but I just feel completely aimless. All I can do is trust that one day I'll be so satisfied and settled in my life that I'll look back on this time of malaise with satisfaction.

    FROM SK: Aside from watching tv, do the stuff where you don't notice the time going by–whatever it is. I think if we all do that, find that, the next bit is figuring out how to earn money doing it. And um, no, masturbation doesn't count. You sound like you're on your way… and honestly, sometimes it takes a while. Be patient with yourself. I remember a time, not that long ago at all, where even though I was doing so many new things, it felt like I was simply going through the motions. But then one day, it was no longer faking it to make it. Belief follows behavior… so your brain/emotions will catch up in the joy levels if you keep at it. I know it can feel awkward and unfulfilled, too… like you're really just going through the motions. But if we force ourselves to smile, studies prove that it actually does make us happy, even if we know we're faking it. So keep at it.

  24. Once when I was in my early twenties, working my first job, I asked my mom, "How old were you when you started to feel like a grownup?"

    She replied, "I'll let you know."

    I thought she was kidding. She was so old! 43 or so!

    That's how old I am now, and I now realize she wasn't kidding.

  25. I don't buy into the whole lost and found thing, as if older or wiser or learned people have more answers. There is no "found." There is just caring less about feeling "lost."

  26. I like the songs because ultimately they end with our girl getting her act together, telling people to fuck off, and returning to all she initially resisted, back to the place she wanted so much to leave. It's the ultimate in not realizing what you have until it's gone. It's very ruby slippers with a lot of scared crow and ultimately a badge of courage pinned to your tiny heart.

    I loved this sentence. I read it and needless to say it gave me goosebumps all over. I'm a 28 year old woman who constantly thinks of changing her life everyday. I am homesick, depressed, and yes, very restless. From the time I got married at 24, my life has somewhat revolved around my husband and the fact I was trying to make EVERYONE around me happy; and all the while, I lost of focus of myself and became manic depressive. I fantasize about moving back home everyday, to be in the bright, big, booming city away from the country life, being with my friends again, having the best weekends, doing whatever I want not having to answer to anyone, finding myself without feeling "selfish", and being dependent only on ME again.

    So now at 28, I feel either I am going through my dreaded "Saturn Return" or maybe just reading this entry really put more insight on why it's time for me to really dig deep down and decide who and where I want to be.

  27. I like the songs because ultimately they end with our girl getting her act together, telling people to fuck off, and returning to all she initially resisted, back to the place she wanted so much to leave. It's the ultimate in not realizing what you have until it's gone. It's very ruby slippers with a lot of scared crow and ultimately a badge of courage pinned to your tiny heart.

    I loved this sentence. I read it and needless to say it gave me goosebumps all over. I'm a 28 year old woman who constantly thinks of changing her life everyday. I am homesick, depressed, and yes, very restless. From the time I got married at 24, my life has somewhat revolved around my husband and the fact I was trying to make EVERYONE around me happy; and all the while, I lost of focus of myself and became manic depressive. I fantasize about moving back home everyday, to be in the bright, big, booming city away from the country life, being with my friends again, having the best weekends, doing whatever I want not having to answer to anyone, finding myself without feeling "selfish", and being dependent only on ME again.

    So now at 28, I feel either I am going through my dreaded "Saturn Return" or maybe just reading this entry really put more insight on why it's time for me to really dig deep down and decide who and where I want to be.

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