10 Lessons I’ve Learned On How to Survive in Los Angeles

1. Uber is a way of life.

Even if you have a car, which most people do, sometimes you don’t want to deal with the hassle of paying to park and dealing with traffic. Uber (or Lyft) is life in L.A.

2. Wear black.

When you don’t know what to wear, wear black. When you are trying to look professional, wear black. When you are trying to look fancy, wear black. When you are trying to look laid-back, wear black. If you wear black in Los Angeles, then you will instantly fit in. Trust me.

3. Parallel parking is mandatory.

I parallel park my car a minimum of once a week, and I would say my experience is a rarity. Most people, parallel park several times a day. So if you don’t know how to parallel park, that is a skill that is essential to survival in this city.

4. Only go to restaurants with a recommendation or a good Yelp review.

This is not New York. The food in L.A. is more like hit or miss, not really in between. Not every mom and pop shop restaurant is good or even decent for that matter. I’ve tried some hole in the wall places on a whim and gone to sleep hungry. Just don’t do it.

5. Get used to the smell of urine.

I know that sounds gross but its a reality. In certain parts of L.A. county, the faint scent of urine is always present. Two common areas that fit this description are downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood.

6. In-N-Out is the McDonald’s of the west.

I’m sure without even living here you could have guessed this one. I don’t even eat meat, but I stop there for a milkshake from time to time.

7. Rent is the biggest reality check of all time.

I don’t understand how people can get a big head living in this city. One word: Rent. It is the biggest piece of humble pie you could ever be served. Even if you are “balling out of control,” my mentality is life can change in a minute. Be grateful and stay humble because rent is a beast.

8. Time is of the essence, but you can get away with being late here. (But don’t push it.)

So in Los Angeles, when you make plans to meet someone at 7:00, what that really means is closer to 7:30(ish). Traffic is no joke here. If you are running late just because you are behind, well good luck. You definitely won’t arrive at your destination on time. Even if you budget your time properly and leave an hour early to be somewhere, you still might not make it on time. Traffic is always a given. (And don’t forget about trying to find parking!)

9. Making friends takes time.

This is probably one of the hardest lessons to learn when you move to any city, let alone one as large and spread out as L.A. Meeting people, solid people, takes time. I have definitely been discouraged at times, but in time, you start to meet people based on your interests and hobbies. It gets easier. It does.

10. Los Angeles is not for everyone, but if it is for you, then you’ll know it.

When I pulled into L.A. that first night and saw the skyline and all the headlights, I knew I was home. It has definitely been hard, but it’s been worth it. I know, for now, that this is where I should be.

Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):

“If you have a dream, something you are passionate about, something you can’t get out of your head, even if you tried, go after it with all you’ve got.”

-Stephkt

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